1.8 million Victoria’s Secret fans on Facebook

The folks at my former agency Resource Interactive work with some pretty big clients. It was fun to be among the first to hear about the new Victoria’s Secret facebook presence (one of my former colleagues, Michael Krotscheck can truly claim to be their number one fan!)

VS is a huge brand with a huge following and an already well-established web presence, so it was no surprise when they amassed an incredible amount of fans. Yet even I was amazed when one of the Associate Creative Directors at Resource tweeted:

1.8 million Victoria's Secret fans since we launched 3 weeks ago. Gotta be some kind of record. http://bit.ly/9Si12

Wow, it may well be a record.

So what?

Many organizations are moving away from using pageviews as a success measure. Yes, people are visiting your site. But are they learning / buying / whatever your objective is? If not, do views matter?

Sure, we obsess over numbers as something quantifiable. There are many programs are out there now to “increase your twitter followers”, because we have this idea that a larger audience is important.

We know Victoria’s Secret is a huge brand, and 1.8 mil is a huge number. But what does the fanning really indicate? What I’d love to see is how this number compares to the number of email subscribers they have, or how many catalogs they send out.

Right now, the number is simply saying “1.8 million people who know about VS are on Facebook and willing to click a button to say they like it”. How does that translate into being good for business?

One feature of the page that is really well done is (what appears to be) exclusive content. With so many folks fanning the page, VS knows they have a lot of eyeballs on their content. Could this almost be considered a “Super Bowl” mentality? You know you have great exposure?

victorias secret fashion show adHm, that’s actually an interesting analogy, since Victoria’s Secret promoted their first ever online fashion show via a Super Bowl ad back in 1999 (Incidentally, the fashion show attracted 1.5 million web visitors, which at that time was a higher volume than the site could support.)

So anyway.. just buying ad time during the Super Bowl doesn’t guarantee results: the ad itself still needs to stand out. Super Bowl ads garner a lot of attention because time and effort is put into making them great due to the expected exposure. So really, all that Victoria’s Secret is achieving through amassing an incredible amount of fans is raising the bar to come up with the “Super Bowl ad” equivalent of a Facebook page. The numbers themselves may not be significant, but what they have the potential for.

Yesterday, VS debuted a new scent. Are people excited about this? You decide:

vs engagement

Yes, that’s over 500 comments. About a new product (or rather: an event of a product launch). Some of the comments are completely ridiculous, but there is still some level of engagement going on here. People are taking note of the message Victoria’s Secret is sending out, and responding to it. The relationship between consumer and brand is deepened. It’s questionable if simply having that number of followers with no measurable engagement (be it people commenting and offering feedback, sharing with friends, or otherwise) is useful at all, other than to have a number to mention.

I don’t mean to imply that creating a fan base of 1.8 million in three weeks is anything less than amazing, and I know many brands would love to be able to see that level of growth. But building a base of brand evangelists hasn’t been something VS has had to worry about for awhile. Rather, their greater challenge will be in figuring how best to leverage their network and strong following. And rather than that killer 30 second ad, let’s hope they’re prepared for a long-term online relationship with their followers!

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