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Is Facebook The Only Social Channel That Really Matters?

Facebook’s complete and utter dominance of the social media landscape is hard to put into words. To help quantify Facebook’s relative supremacy and put it in perspective, The Financial Brand has created the following infographics.

Based on number of monthly visits, Facebook is four times bigger than Twitter, five times bigger than YouTube, and 74 times bigger than LinkedIn.

Facebook users hit the site an average of 68.7 times every month. Twitter users average 31.2 visits, while YouTube averages only 12.5. Pinterest, the latest social media sensation, gets about 9.5 visits per person per month.

Facebook and YouTube each reach about 50% of the U.S. population. About one in every eight people are on Twitter, whereas at LinkedIn it’s only around one in 11.

Considering that the vast majority of organizations allocate less than 10% of their annual budget to social media (many allocate $0), the argument could be made that all of it should go to Facebook. If your marketing budget was $1 million, your social media budget would be no more than $100,000. Simply based on each social channel’s relative site traffic, $67,000 would go to Facebook, $18,500 to Twitter, $13,000 to YouTube and only $1,000 to LinkedIn. Pinterest wouldn’t even justify a $200 annual budget.

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Key Takeaways: If your organization is going to be involved in any single social media channel, it had better be Facebook. Forget about a blog — it takes too much work. Exotic platforms like Foursquare, Pinterest and Google+ have such small user bases they are difficult to rationalize — you could skip them without anyone noticing. YouTube is great… if you can make videos that are funny or interesting (same thing applies to photos on Pinterest). Unfortunately, financial institutions aren’t often funny and are seldom interesting. That’s why most of the banks and credit unions The Financial Brand sees on YouTube don’t average more than 250 video views. Twitter can also work, but mostly only as a customer service channel… provided your financial institution is large enough to find more than one or two relevant tweets every month.

Face it: Facebook is where it’s at.

Note: To stay up-to-date on news and events affecting financial marketers on Facebook, check out The Financial Brand’s page. Also, our good friends at Netbanker have also published a 56-page report with 42 advanced Facebook tactics. You can get a 10% discount if you use the promo code “FinancialBrand10.”


Alexa, a traffic-ranking site, puts Facebook as the world’s #2 largest website, behind only Google. YouTube ranks #3, with Twitter trailing at #9. Compete, a similar service to Alexa, ranks Facebook 2nd, YouTube 4th, Twitter 20th and LinkedIn 36th.

Here’s the raw data if you’re interested in taking a look for yourself:

All content © 2017 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

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  1. Mark Arnold says:

    These stats are great and the evidence overwhelmingly supports your argument. However, I would keep some trends in mind as well. As you noted, video is becoming more popular (financial institutions should ignore YouTube at their own risk). Targeting is also a key element: who are you trying to reach and what channels do they use? Facebook is certainly the beast in social media but other mediums could prove effective (if done right).

  2. Tim Bunch says:

    @Kasey, Facebook is not about evangelizing. It’s about taking that 1% and turning them into CU evangelists.

  3. As a marketer, I love Facebook for the reasons you stated above. It doesn’t matter if a bank is focusing on B2B or B2C relationships – everyone and their mother is on Facebook. While LinkedIn is all about B2B, it is rare that most of your customers or prospects are on there every day.

    What I don’t like about Facebook is that brands really cannot reach out to connect with others. That’s where Twitter and LinkedIn come in handy.

  4. Kasey Skala says:

    Average engagement on Facebook is less than 1%. If you had to only choose one, I’d choose none.

  5. Mark, have you seen any examples of banks or credit unions using YouTube successfully?

    There’s a huge issue often overlooked with YouTube: video production. It usually either requires tons of time, tons of talent, tons of money, or all the above. For every 10 seconds in a finished video, there is usually 1-3 hours of writing, filming and editing.

    This isn’t a dismissal of the power of video. It just acknowledges the production challenges. Few people have the video skills necessary. Editing is tough. Also, acting seems to be a problem for many low-budget financial productions.

  6. Strategy matters. Our small test on LinkedIn worked well. Facebook could not produce the same targeted audience. Most social media ads seem to be inexpensive, pervasive billboards. An integrated strategy could actually move the needle.

  7. I’m with Nate King on this subject. I wish there was a good way to connect with other businesses on Facebook, beside favoriting/liking their page. My opinion is that to recognize the power of Facebook as a financial institution is to understand and find ways to make customers feel part of a family. Changing behaviors takes time and coming up with content that customers want to explore and share takes innovative thought.

    I like Twitter for mining data trends and information.

  8. Margie’s right. Twitter makes for a better B2B and intra-industry tool. Facebook’s one company-to-company feature (“Add as Favorite”) simply sucks. There are no way to group/categorized Favorites. You can’t view the status updates of your Favorites. In fact, the Favorites feature really doesn’t do anything.

  9. Thanks Jeffry. What would be wonderful is if the financial industry would use Twitter to exchange information and learn from each other using hash tag tweet ups. It could be a quick and powerful forum.

    For us, Facebook has no value except as another outlet to link our blog and occasional other news. It’s not the place financial institutions are going to learn about the kinds of services we provide.

  10. It’s unfortunate, isn’t it Margie? There are all these financial institutions on Facebook, and yet they can’t see what others are doing unless they use their personal accounts.

    My guess is that Facebook has little/no interest in facilitating B2B dialogue. They probably think companies should have to pay for exposure.

  11. Thanks for the comment Fred. Would you be willing to share what you did on LinkedIn?

  12. I am a very heavy Facebook user for promoting my novels, but I have a page as an individual. It is my understanding that yes, Facebook wants businesses to pay for advertising. You may not use LIKE to help in sales promotions without having a corresponding ad. To me, that is in line with the basic platform of Facebook. How do businesses form a social community there within the confines of the tool? I don’t have an answer. What has been tremendously helpful to me as an individual is to create or be involved in Facebook groups, whether private or secret invitation-only. But again, you must be an individual to be involved. LinkedIn seems the more natural place to go, but it, too, has grown to monstrous proportions. To a large extent I still have the perception it’s networking. I belong to a couple of groups out there that are trade-related and they are insightful at times.

  13. Greg Fine says:

    The argument that Facebook’s popularity somehow equates to growing loan applications for qualified borrowers or promoting the new breed of checking account is sucker’s bet. Popularity and “Likes” do not beget sales. Well-thunk marketing and undeniable advertising put people in the sales funnel.
    Per a recent AdAge article ( about a report from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute,”Researchers found that less than 1% of fans of the 200 biggest brands on Facebook actually engaged…” And those are brands that have put serious muscle – money and time – behind their online push. Even “passion” brands, Nike, Ford, Harley-Davidson, don’t register over 1% in engagement. Let’s face it, financial institutions don’t generate the same kind of adrenaline rush as a Harley.
    In short: there are many, many other more practical channels than FB for building brand awareness and getting a return on your time and money.

  14. Greg Fine says:

    You are right, there is no claim that FB is “a valuable channel.” I took liberties with your observations. But even the fact that Facebook is the Goliath doesn’t necessarily qualify it for automatic inclusion into the media mix. As readers pointed out earlier, there isn’t as yet a practical way to leverage FB, while you can do so with the smaller Davids in the social world, such as LinkedIn or Twitter. I like the odds of smaller but more concentrated audience of potentials on lesser social networks than the amorphous blob that is Facebook. On an entirely different note: I want to thank you for your blog. It is a fantastic, up-to-speed resource that I reference weekly. Talk to you later.

  15. Hi Greg,

    The Financial Brand shares your skepticism about the value of “fans.” Indeed, The Financial Brand asserts a rather pessimistic view on social media in the financial industry altogether.

    This article doesn’t say “Facebook is a valuable channel.” It just says that of all the social channels out there today, it appears Facebook would be the only one worth worrying about (for those who have already decided a social strategy is appropriate). It’s a nuanced distinction, but an important one. If The Financial Brand can’t convince bank/CU marketers that social media is largely an unproductive distraction for many/most financial institutions, then perhaps they can be persuaded to at least focus their efforts vs. the shotgun Facebook-Twitter-LinkedIn-Blog-YouTube-Google+-Foursquare approach. They aren’t all of equal importance, as many articles on social media seem to imply.

    To summarize: Facebook would appear to be the most important channel within a broader marcom category that doesn’t seem very important to all that many financial institutions. If you have to pick one (for whatever reason), choose Facebook.

  16. SEO Direct says:

    I have to say that Twitter and YouTube are much more valuable for most brands than Facebook is. If I was to only choose 1, I would choose YouTube. YouTube is so much more valuable than people realize, and is used lazily to poor end results.

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