The Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) IPO might have been a giant bust, with some advisers urging investors not to touch the stock for months — but that doesn’t affect everyday users of the website who want to simply log in and socialize — and those users are as active as ever.
Sure, Facebookers complain every time Mark Zuckerberg and friends unleash a new layout or … well, anything new, but the recent Timeline feature actually is said to have increased user engagement, especially for brand pages.
But one group shouldn’t be complaining at all: marketers. Facebook pages don’t just provide marketing for companies — it provides free marketing. The kind of traffic and branding that social media can provide often gets overlooked, as it can’t really be quantified on a balance sheet. One way for investors to get a feel for the impact, though, is to look at how many times fanatic users feel so strongly about a product that they are compelled to give it a little thumbs-up in the form of a “like” on its Facebook page.
For instance, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), which made the top five last year, and the ever-popular Disney (NYSE:DIS) were high in the rankings, with a respective 42 million and 36 million fans, according to PageData’s top 30 list. But doing even better were these five most “Facebook famous” stocks:
Making YouTube profitable might be difficult, but making it popular sure isn’t. Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube is fifth overall on PageData’s list with nearly 60 million fans that just can’t get enough of the famous “Charlie bit me” video, funny animals caught on camera, or cheesy Justin Bieber songs. By liking the page, you get entertaining videos right in your news feed — everything from yo-yo tricks to viral cat clips.
Google also has 1.8 million users between the different Facebook app versions.
The bottom line is that when it comes to social media, Google and YouTube are right at home — and the proof is in the fan pages.
4. News Corp
If the page was for Rupert Murdoch, it probably wouldn’t be so popular. But when it comes to all the names associated with Murdoch’s media giant News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS, NWSA), Facebook users are big fans.
FOX can take the most credit for the company’s success in this regard, as The Simpsons and Family Guy come in at Nos. 7 and 12, respectively, for the most-liked pages. Together, they have more than 98 million likes. It seems adults aren’t just loving cartoons these days, but sharing that love on Facebook.
Who needs a poker night or trip to the casino anymore? The poker fad seems to have died down, but not if you count all the people that are cutting their losses and gambling virtually. Online poker, and online gaming in general, has a following far and wide, especially now that smartphones allow people to bring take the competition virtually anywhere.
Zynga‘s (NASDAQ:ZNGA) Texas HoldEm Poker has 62 million likes, around 500,000 people mentioning it online, and 34 million monthly users — so Zynga isn’t lying when it calls it “the world’s largest poker game.”
Plus, good ol’ FarmVille adds another 38 million likes, helping Zynga edge out News Corp for the third spot with a grand total around 100 million.
ZNGA stock has been up and down, but according to Facebook, the company’s games are as popular as ever.
Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB) might not be as quite as big as rival News Corp, but the masses sure love it. Between the 40 million who love Comedy Central’s crude South Park, the 35 million who are into Nickelodeon’s endearingly annoying SpongeBob SquarePants, and the 35 million young adults who want their MTV, Viacom has an impressive 110 million Facebook likes to its name.
That this loyal and loving audience spans from kids to teens to adults shows Viacom has quite the reach. Not too shabby, considering most viewers probably couldn’t even name the media conglomerate that is behind their beloved TV shows.
Surprise, surprise –- the Facebook page with the most loyal following and the most likes of all is (drumroll, please) none other than Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) itself.
Yes, one has to wonder how many of those likes are just Facebook employees boosting their own egos, but Facebook takes the cake by a landslide. The Facebook for Every Phone page shows that people not only like the idea of having Facebook at their fingertips at all times, but had to literally “like” it to express their excitement. That page takes the top spot with more than 100 million likes, while the plain ol’ Facebook page comes in second with 68 million likes.
That’s a boatload of people — and it doesn’t even include all those that don’t “like” (and might even claim to hate) Facebook but still use it religiously.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.