Exploring The Long Tail Of Facebook Pages

Since the launch of the Facebook Pages product, millions of pages have been created and we’ve been tracking the growth throughout this year. After looking at all the data that we now have available via our Facebook page tracker, I decided to play around with the numbers on a basic level. The results are interesting. I’ve gone ahead and calculated the mean, mode, and a number of other factors related to the number of fans that each Facebook page has. Below is some of the information that I found.

Overally, the average number of fans for any given page is approximately 2,104. This number is thrown off by those pages with millions of fans even though there are only 816 pages with more than half a million fans. Since the number 2,104 completely throws off the average I decided to go ahead and calculate the mode. The most frequent number of fans for Facebook Pages is 7. While our system has tracked over 61,400 pages which now have 0 fans, many of those pages have actually been removed by Facebook and as such we are not including pages with 0 fans.

Additionally, if you can’t even get a single person to join your fan page, then you probably weren’t trying too hard. Essentially, if you create a page, the odds are extremely high that you will get at least 7 people to become a fan. After that, it requires effort and the use of effective Facebook fan page strategies. So what are the odds that you will get more than 7 fans? Pretty good actually. As one of our charts illustrates below, there are more pages with between 11 and 20 fans then 1 to 10 fans.

Based on our numbers you have approximately a 40 percent chance of obtaining more than 100 fans but only a 9.5 percent chance of attracting more than 1,000. Additionally, only 5 percent of users have more than 3,000 fans and half that number have attracted over 10,000. 237 pages have surpassed the 1 million mark, in contrast to Twitter where only 14 users have accomplished such a feat.

What About The Long Tail?

So what about that whole long tail thing I was discussing in the title? Well, what’s interesting is there is indeed a long tail on Facebook Pages and a large number of the fans are distributed in the tail, not in the head. For example, the total number of fans across the 4,612 pages with more than 100,000 fans is 1,618,763,120. The total number of fans in the tail (those pages with under 100,000) is 1,043,410,011. How can there be billions of fans when there are only 225 million or so users on Facebook?

I’m just counting the absolute number of fan occurrences. This is not based on the percentage of users actively becoming a fan of Facebook Pages (although we’ll be sharing that data eventually). Right now the long tail may be shorter have less total fans than the head but the tail is getting longer every day. Each day I’m adding around 24,000 pages to my index which means that the tail is growing at a decent clip.

The head of the curve however (those pages with greater than 100,000 fans) is growing at approximately 5,971,594 fans per day. That would mean those pages in the tail that are being indexed each day would need to have 249 fans on average which the odds of occurring are extremely low. So does this mean there isn’t a long tail? Not at all, it’s just not as big as the head, but the tail is most definitely present.

There’s Definitely A Long Tail

Take a look at the chart below titled “Facebook Fans Distribution” and you’ll see that the long tail definitely emerges just among the top 500 or so pages. While I’d like to extend this chart to include more pages, the software I was using at the time wouldn’t let me. I’ll be sure to post more extensive charts. For now you’ll have to live with the few charts that I’ve included below. Let me know if there’s any other data that you’d like for us to produce!

Top 580 Pages Fan Distribution

Number of Pages With 1 to 100 Fans Table

Number of Pages Based on # of Fans Table

Facebook Fan Frequency Table