In 2007, Facebook introduced a new feature called “Facebook Pages”, which are user profiles for brands (companies, organizations, and celebrities). Facebook Pages have the look and feel of personal pages but offer additional features such as the ability to quickly send messages to thousands of fans.
Sysomos analyzed nearly 600,000 Facebook Pages to investigate usage patterns. This is the first large-scale study of Facebook Pages, reporting on different aspects of pages including popularity, amount of content posted, number of fans, and categories.
The highlights include:
- Michael Jackson is the most popular page on Facebook, with 10 million fans; he is followed by actor Vin Diesel (7 million) and U.S. president Barack Obama (6.9 million).
- On average, a Facebook Page has 4,596 fans.
- Four percent of pages have more than 10,000 fans, 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans, and 0.05% of pages (or 297 in total) have more than a million fans.
- Pages with more than one million fans have nearly three times as much owner-generated content as the average Facebook page. (Where “owner-generated content” means things like photos, videos, and links posted by the page’s administrators.)
- Pages with more than one million fans have nearly 60 times as much fan-generated content (photos, videos) as the average Facebook page.
- On an average Facebook Page,
the administrators create one wall post every 15.7 days. Among pages with more than one million fans, one wall post is created for every 16.1 days. This suggests that wall post frequency does not correlate with a page’s popularity.
- Overall, the most popular “category” for Facebook pages is “non-profits”, while “celebrities”, “music”, and “products” are the most popular categories among pages with more than one million fans.
The Top 5 Most Popular Facebook Pages
- Michael Jackson is the most popular entity on Facebook, with two pages in the top 10, totalling more than fourteen million fans.
- Barack Obama is by far the most popular politician on Facebook, with nearly ten times as many fans as his nearest peer, Sarah Palin.
- The average Facebook page that Sysomos analyzed has 4,596 fans. The median page has 218 fans (i.e. 50% of the pages have fewer than 218 fans).
Page Popularity Distribution
The following graphs show the cumulative popularity distribution for the nearly 600,000 Facebook Pages we analyzed. The facts:
- 95% of pages have more than 10 fans
- 65% of pages have more than 100 fans
- 23% of pages have more than 1,000 fans
- 4% of pages have more than 10,000 fans
- 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans
- 0.047% of pages have more than one million fans (297 in total).
Facebook Page Categories
About Facebook’s Categorization System
When creating a Facebook Page, there are a variety of categories that can be selected. These include broad categories such as “local”, “brand”, “product”, “organization”, “artist”, “band”, or “public figure”. All of the available categories can be classified as “proper nouns” such as businesses, organizations, entities, and persons.
However, many of the most popular Facebook pages are dedicated to abstract nouns like “The Beach” and “Pizza”, and at least nine of the 297 most popular pages (those having at least one million fans) are dedicated to sleeping. It seems that users do not become fans of these pages to network with other sleep enthusiasts. Instead, they are used to publicly “tag” interests and preferences. It appears that Facebook did not design their category system with this in mind, and as a consequence many pages are mis-categorized.
Facebook pages are evenly distributed amongst the categories. A notable exception is “government officials”, which has only 2,000 pages. Since so many Facebook pages are mis-categorized, these numbers do not necessarily reflect an accurate picture of category distribution.
Category Distribution Among Top Pages (over one million fans)
Given the high number of mis-categorized pages, we wanted to get a better idea of how the most popular pages break down by category. We examined the 297 most popular Facebook pages (those having at least one million fans) and then manually re-categorized them. The pages that did not reflect proper nouns (e.g. “Nights Out With Friends”) were moved into the “OTHER” category.
As you can see, a large swath of the most popular pages (39%) fall into the “Other” classification. Once this noise is removed, it becomes easier to see that most of the popular pages are for musicians/bands, celebrities, products, television shows, and films.
Top Pages per Category
|Big Prize Giveways||2,093,425|
|I Use My Cell Phone To See In The Dark||1,375,290|
|I ♥ SLEEP||4,598,779|
|I don’t sleep enough because I stay up late for no reason||3,556,464|
|Finding Money In Your Pocket||3,200,136|
|R.I.P Michael Jackson (We Miss You)||4,681,105|
|Yelling at inanimate objects||2,051,417|
|I Love Jesus||1,483,408|
|“No profe usted dijo que eso no era para hoy”||1,389,931|
|dormir con el sonido de la lluvia!!!||1,288,698|
|Batman: The Dark Knight||1,609,185|
|Flipping the Pillow Over to Get to the Cold Side||2,925,575|
|Tattoo & Piercing||2,589,807|
Category “TV Shows”
|FRIENDS (TV Show)||2,093,845|
|I need a vacation!!!||4,354,306|
|I Love my Family||1,721,015|
|I’ll do it in a minute||1,457,287|
|SUPPORT OUR TROOPS||1,331,581|
|I Love My Friends||1,230,638|
Category “Government Officials”
Category “Sports Teams”
Category “Bars and Clubs”
|Texas Hold’em Poker||4,669,830|
|Los besos no se piden, se dan…||926,195|
Content on Pages
Content on Facebook Pages falls into two broad categories: creator-generated (written by the page owner or administrator, includes “wall posts”, “videos”, “links”, etc.), and fan-generated (wall posts, fan photos, and fan videos).
- For the average Facebook Page, one wall post is created (by the page’s administrators) every 15.7 days. Among pages with more than one million fans, one wall post is created for every 16.1 days. This suggests that wall post frequency does not relate to a page’s popularity.
- The average page has 26.8 pieces of non-stream owner-generated content (photo albums, videos, links, notes, and favourite pages). Among pages with more than one million fans, the average page had 70.4 pieces of owner-generated content.
- A page has 9.5 pieces of fan-generated content (photos and videos) on average. Among pages with more than one million fans, the average page has 586.9 pieces of fan-generated content.
Creator content by popularity
|# fans||avg. # of creator content items|
Fan content by popularity
|# fans||avg. # of fan content items|
Wall post frequency by popularity
|# fans||avg. days between posts|
While Facebook Pages have emerged as a popular marketing vehicle for many companies, the landscape appears to be dominated by those focused on pop culture — music, celebrities, television shows, and films. Of the nearly 600,000 Facebook Pages examined by Sysomos, only 297 (or 0.05%) have more than one million fans. Facebook Pages with more than one million fans generate significantly more content than the average Facebook page: three times more content created by owners/administrators, and 70 times more content created by fans themselves. While “Wall posts” can attract a lot of attention, there does not appear to be a significant correlation between the number of Wall posts and the popularity of a page — an active wall doesn’t necessarily imply a popular page.