Vitrue a social media marketing platform determined that the average value of a Facebook ‘fan’ is about $3.60 when it comes to a Media Equivalent Value (MEV) per year. This calculation is based on the brand posting to their Facebook Fan Page twice a day and that they have a million fans which equates to 60 million impressions per month at a $5 CPM (cost per thousand impressions), so 60 million impressions. This would result in $300,000 a month in Media Equivalent Value or what the brand might have to spend elsewhere to get the same eyeballs. So then the math goes $300,000 month, which is $3.6M a year, meaning with 1M fans, the average value is $3.60 per fan.

While I can understand the approach to equating it to media dollars that you would have to spend to get that same reach only .2% of Fans ever return to a Fan page and in some cases it’s more like .02% (hat tip to BrandGlue) So people on Facebook who “like” your Fan page basically never go back to it.

The true value of a Facebook fan is Zero until you can monetize them. And that’s the era I think we have all just entered. For the last 2 years we have been building our network of people that “like” the brand by creating content and engaging with them. I certainly hope you have been doing this – and its not an insignificant feat to create all this content. This is the #1 stumbling block I hear from marketers over and over again.

So the question I hear from many marketers now is “ok I have done that – now how do I monetize them?”

In reality there are only 2 ways to do this and I invite your comments on this approach – you either sell them something (hello f-commerce which is coming to a Facebook fan page near you soon) or you activate them in some other way like an “advocate” network meaning if they cant buy from you directly perhaps they could refer you a new customer which might even be better than buying something from you if you think of the Lifetime Value of a Customer (LTV).

Bottom line is I think we are exiting a phase of experimentation (what I like to call Social Science Experiments) and moving into a phase of monetization. How are you monetizing your fans?