NPR’s Facebook Survey – Some Interesting Takeaways IMO

By Amanda Guisbond (@agbond)

Yesterday, NPR shared findings from a survey of more than 40,000 of its Facebook fans about – naturally – their Facebook/NPR preferences and habits. Results of the survey were shared via the media outlet’s Go Figure blog. Go Figure is NPR’s “Audience Insight & Research Group” blog, the goal of which is to provide a forum on how NPR conducts research on its followers – and a pretty cool way to motivate them to respond to surveys!

Beyond some of NPR’s Facebook survey findings that could probably only/mostly be applicable to NPR listeners – i.e. 3 out of every 4 NPR Facebook fans listen to NPR on the radio – following are broader takeaways I found interesting and relevant to the use of Facebook for business and in particular, by media:

  • 3 of every 5 respondents (60.7 percent) said they get most or all of their news online and three-quarters of them (74.6 percent) agree Facebook is a “major” way in which they receive news/information from NPR. Conversely, only 51 percent agree Facebook is a “major” way to receive information from news organizations in general.

My take: A media outlet like NPR, that does a solid job of updating its Facebook page with relevant news information in real-time, is considered a more valuable resource to its target audience than those outlets that do not make their news as readily consumable for their Facebook fans.

  • 84 percent of NPR Facebook fans regularly read the links the outlet posts. Not without coincidence, the majority of NPR’s Facebook fans (96 percent) access Facebook on a daily basis.

My take: If you build it, they will click. People are already on Facebook – it’s a part of their daily routine. So, if they take the time to “like” you, and you post content that’s relevant to their reason for “liking” you (i.e. not a crappy contest that causes them to “like” you once and then hide you), they will visit and re-visit your content.

  • NPR readers/listeners are interested in a wide range of topics – except sports and “rich people.” NPR listed out various story types and asked its Facebook users to select what they wanted to see more of, less of, or about the same amount, from NPR moving forward. For example, respondents wanted more “health, music, media, and Internet/social media” stories from NPR.

My take: Here-in lies the golden ticket for NPR – what type of content to focus on/build-out in an effort to retain its target audience. Clearly those answering the survey are more likely to be NPR brand loyalists and therefore invested in NPR’s success. These are the people any business wants to make happy and keep around.

  • Users don’t think the number of “likes” on a Facebook post will make them more likely to click it. Only 11.8 percent of respondents to the NPR survey said more “likes” on a story would make them want to read it. NPR said it was surprised by this finding.

My take: Can that actually be true? Or do people not want to admit, consciously, that popular opinion inclines them to read online content? What do you think? Do more “likes” draw you to a story? Why/why not?

4 Responses to “NPR’s Facebook Survey – Some Interesting Takeaways IMO”

  1. 1 Bob Hebeisen August 4, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I don’t really consciously look at the number of “likes” to figure out if I should read an item on Facebook. But Facebook does treat content with a lot of “likes” and a lot of comments posted as “top news” and filters those to the top of what you see by default. Personally, I receive the NPR feed and I read the articles with subject lines that catch my attention.

  2. 2 SHIFT Staff August 4, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks for the thoughtful response, Bob. Good point about the indirect influence of a more “liked” post getting bumped up to top news and thus, finding its way to more readers. Curious – did you take part in the survey, given it seems you are a NPR fan and Facebook user?

    Thanks again!

  3. 3 Mark September 3, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Why is everything in this country geared to kiddies? I have lots of money to spend, too. And I’m not dead or gone yet. Are we irrelevant just because we’re old?!

  4. 4 Amanda Lehner October 28, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I don’t think that this research is necessarily geared to “kiddies.” They aren’t the only ones on Facebook and other social media sites. Everybody and their moms are Facebook today, and this is an excellent example of how businesses are incorporating social media to grow and expand their audiences and to build stronger, closer relationships with them. Not only is this helping businesses, but it is also helping consumers by giving them the information they want, when they want it.
    By allowing consumers to select the news they are interested in, NPR is growing its audience. Also, what better way to give consumers the news they want than by taking surveys? I think this is a great way for NPR to reposition itself as a more modern, tech-savvy news source especially since the way people get their news has changed dramatically since NPR was established.

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