Since debuting on the Nasdaq on 18 May 2012 – when it was the largest-ever flotation of an internet company – Facebook has experienced a roller coaster 12 months.
Shareholder unrest over its ability (or lack thereof) to monetise its sizeable mobile audience has led investors to pressurise Facebook to introduce mobile revenue streams – and it has duly obliged them.
While Wall Street might be happier YouGov’s BrandIndex the last year of increased pressure and (not always substantiated) public concerns over privacy have negatively impacted user sentiment towards Facebook.
For instance, controversies over Facebook’s monetisation efforts, including a US class action suit forcing it to let users to opt out of its Sponsored Stories for brands service, plus unfounded rumours of a Facebook bug that publicly posted private messages, have all apparently taken their toll.
The social network’s overall Index score – which takes into account how consumers rate the brand in terms of impression, quality, value, reputation, satisfaction and whether they would recommend it – dropped 7.4 points over 12 months to 10.1, according to the latest data (20 May).
However, this did fluctuate during the year with Facebook’s overall Index rating experiencing a high in early March this year, the same week as it unveiled an overhaul of its News Feed feature.
Facebook’s Quality score has also dropped during the period. In the immediate aftermath of Facebook’s flotation – when it was deemed “more valuable than McDonald’s” – its Quality score was 14.5.
However, 12 months later this score has more than halved to 7.0 with Facebook dropping five places to 11th in the overall Quality score rankings, marginally behind Google+, according to the data.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s Buzz ranking – a net balance of the positive and negative things people have heard about the brand – has also continued to dip – despite its increased efforts to improve its mobile experience – both for advertisers and audiences.
The company’s Buzz score dropped from -3.1 to -4.8 in the 12 months to 20 May with Facebook currently the poorest performing internet brand tracked in BrandIndex using this metric.
In the week after its flotation, Facebook’s Buzz score rose above zero for the only time during the period. Although this metric peaked at +2.5 (27 May 2012) before dipping sharply to hit -21.3 (24 June 2012), its lowest ebb during the period.
However, these declines were offset by a boost in Facebook’s BrandIndex Impression score which doubled over the course of 12 months to 20 May to hit 6.8, pulling it ahead of Google+ in overall rankings.
So while Facebook’s financial performances may have improved, based mainly on the back of its strides in improving its mobile services, some of its glean may have rubbed off.
Methodology: Marketing Week looked at YouGov BrandIndex measures from 18 May 2012 to 20 May 2013, using a four week moving average of data.