Saturday, August 25, 2007

Facebook Social Networking Experiment w/Ted Leonsis

In the previous post, I did a brief 5 question interview with Ted Leonsis on his thoughts on Facebook. I then asked him if he’d help me in a little experiment to determine the value of Facebook from my perspective as we proceed towards the launch of TVbytheNumbers next month.

I asked Ted to post a link to the interview from his Facebook account to see if his Facebook friends would click on the link. He was gracious enough to participate in my data collection, and went even a step further by posting a link on

The experiment generated 175 unique visits, and I have to conclude that Facebook networking certainly works because a full 44% of the visits came from Facebook and at the time of the experiment Ted had about 300 friends on Facebook. That’s about a 25% click thru rate if you assume all of his Facebook friends saw the link, which is not a fair assumption. Ted’s blog has much higher visibility, but I am not surprised by the results because a story about Facebook via Facebook seemingly is more targeted and relevant.

What surprised me though was the bounce rate of ~82%! I definitely buy that this web site has a dumb as hell URL and that the design isn’t so good, but the bounce rate still surprised me (and people coming from Facebook bounced at the same rate as people coming from I changed the web design somewhat mid-stream to add a ton more white space and make it far more basic, and the bounce rate was still the same.

While my head can’t quite get around the notion that the majority of people who are interested in Ted & Facebook wouldn’t stick around even a few seconds to read what Ted had to say about Facebook (which I thought was pretty spot-on), regardless of the dopey naming, there is no denying the data. If I had any sense, I would’ve switched to prior to the experiment.

Regardless of my shortcomings, there’s also no denying that Facebook is a very powerful tool.

Very special thanks to Ted Leonsis for helping me learn.

Update 08/25/07 7:45p PDT: Sorry to my Firefox (and to some degree Netscape) using friends. The change I made to the site to add more white space completely broke the site for Firefox users. I've switched to the most basic blogger template now and it works w/Firefox.

Interestingly even though almost half the users today were from Firefox, my bounce rate didn't change significantly while the site was broken for Firefox. Before changing the site in the middle of the experiment yesterday afternoon, whatever dumb color scheme I had up worked fine on Firefox.

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