LORT Theatres on Facebook<br />Executive Summary<br />All but 3 LORT theatres maintain a presence on Facebook. Numbers of fans range from 129-6,623. Some theatres are posting content more than 15 times per week, and generating up to 100 wall comments per week from their fans. Other than wall posts, photo albums and event pages are the most widely used content by theatres. <br />In this study, I have tried to use as many data points as possible to capture the full range of the field’s use of Facebook, as well as fan’s responses. This quickly complicated any potential measurements of effort, impact, and return on investment. However, based on the (far too) complicated indexing method that follows, compared to the average LORT theatre:<br /><ul><li>11 theatres have achieved significantly higher impact relative to their efforts. Later drafts of this study will include a more in depth look at these theatres.
4 theatres achieved higher impact than their peers, but with above average effort
42 theatres exerted less effort than their average peer, and also found less impact
16 theatres have unfortunately exerted greater effort than their peers, but found less impact</li></ul>Note that as in the previous Twitter study, I’ve used LORT because it’s an easily bounded population, not because it’s necessarily representative of the theatre field at large. <br />Facebook Penetration<br />When theatres maintained multiple group, fan, and/or personal profiles, I used the most generous interpretation of their “primary” page by selecting the type with the highest number of fans/members and most recent activity. Similar to the Twitter findings, many theatre’s websites did not include a link to their Facebook page. It should also be noted that many theatres are currently rebuilding their Fans from their Members (due a change in Facebook architecture), thereby clouding true usage, efforts, and impact. <br /> n=76<br />Data Capture<br />Facebook offers a high degree of flexibility in terms of the type of content a theatre wishes to include on their page, and how a fan might interact with the sight, other than simply viewing it. <br />I found 7 data points that measure a theatre’s activity on Facebook.<br /><ul><li>Upload photo albums; disregarded different sizes of photo albums, and whether albums were integrated Flickr streams.
Events created; disregarded efforts of individual events.
Weekly wall posts; captured for the 7 days prior to measurement date (week of November 11, 2009); primarily used as a proxy for frequency of efforts since most wall posts come from uploading photos, videos, notes, etc.
Uploaded videos; disregarded video length, and whether videos were integrated YouTube streams.
Notes written; disregarded whether notes were integrated RSS feeds.
Links shared; disregarded whether links were integrated RSS feeds. </li></ul>Other interesting efforts I observed (but did not use in the study) included:<br /><ul><li>Guthrie Ford’s Theatre have special “Buy Tickets” sections of their pages
ART highlights theatre merchandise for purchase
ART and Florida Stage both use a “splash page” function for users to land on
Kansas City Rep has a music player on their page
Many theatres have separate pages for alums and/or interns
Several theatres embedded twitter & blog feeds on their Facebook pages</li></ul>I found 10 data points that measure a fan/member’s interaction with a theatre’s page. In all cases, I disregarded that a theatre’s fans/members likely include some small number of paid staff members. <br /><ul><li>Fans or members.
Weekly wall comments; captured for the 7 days prior to measurement (week of November 11, 2009), disregarded difference between like, reply, and comment.
Photo comments; summed comments from theatre and fan uploaded photos.
People discussing; summed number of people that posted to a discussion forum, disregarded that staff and/or theatre could be posting to open forum, disregarded number of comments per person.
The following fan’s interactions were deemed too time consuming to capture accurately: comments on videos, notes, links, all interactions on Events pages. </li></ul>The following chart summarizes the above mentioned data points for all LORT theatres. Note that “Average” is per theatre, and includes those theatres/fans not using the feature. <br />73 LORT Theatres% UsageTotalAverageEFFORTS Photo Albums99% 772 11 Events86% 1,032 14 Weekly wall posts 78% 313 4 Videos74% 568 8 Favorite Pages67% 269 4 Notes51% 1,245 17 Links34% 1,634 22 IMPACT Fans or Members100% 84,183 1,153 Weekly wall comments 78% 847 12 Photo Comments74% 913 13 People Discussing42% 153 2 Fan Photos33% 217 3 Reviews14% 23 0 Causes-#Members7% 706 10 Causes-$ Donated7% 1,932 26 Causes-#Donors7% 44 1 Fan Video5% 8 0 <br />Thus, on average: <br /><ul><li>Theatres are adding page content about once per business day
A wall post by a theatre generates 2.7 fan comments
A photo album uploaded by a theatre generates 1.2 fan comments
Causes donors give $43.90</li></ul>Measuring Effort<br />To begin thinking about possible Return on Investment, I first needed to estimate the “investment” involved in posting content to Facebook. I believe the cleanest measure of this is time. Ideally, I would like to know the average number of minutes that a theatre is posting content to Facebook, and use that information to scale effort to average amount of content posted per week. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t give a clear indication of a page’s time in existence, thus leaving me without a denominator in the “total content/weeks in existence” equation. <br />Therefore, I assumed the following average number of minutes each of the following activities took, based on my own experience. Score can also be interpreted as relative scale of effort (so that on average it takes a theatre 10 times as long to create and manage an event as it does to post something to their wall). Note that all data points capture lifetime activity on Facebook, except for wall posts and fan’s comments that are measured weekly. However, wall posts likely occur far more often than the other types of activities, hopefully nullifying the inconsistency.<br />In general, this ignores the differences in creating original content, and instead focuses on the time spent to transfer the content to Facebook, under the assumption that much of the content is being used across multiple platforms (theatre’s website, blog, Twitter, etc). This also ignores automated feeds (for example, many theatres seem to use the Notes function as an RSS feed for their blog), however it still likely took some amount of time to create and maintain that automated functionality. <br />EffortsScoreTypeEvents10BuildPhoto Albums10UploadVideos5UploadWall posts1WriteNotes1WriteLinks1WriteFavorite Pages0.25Click<br />Measuring Impact<br />Every theatre is using Facebook towards different ends: <br /><ul><li>Marketing productions and maintaining brand awareness
Empowering users to create their own production related content
Raising money</li></ul>Under the assumption that theatres desire and benefit most from user engagement that requires more time, effort, and/or financial resources on the part of the fan/member, I’ve constructed a relative index, as follows. Score can also be interpreted as the number of minutes (or relative impact) a theatre earns (or saves) per unit of impact. So for example, a theatre earns 20 minutes of staff time per dollar raised online, and saves 10 minutes of (PR) staff time per review, etc. <br />ImpactScoreTypeUseCauses-$ Donated20GiveRaise $Causes-Donors10GiveRaise $Reviews10ComposeEmpowerFan Video5UploadEmpowerFan Photos5UploadEmpowerWall comments2WriteEngagePhoto Comments2WriteEngagePeople Discussing2WriteEngageCauses-Members1ClickMarketingFans/Memb10ers1ClickMarketing<br />Measuring ROI/Efficiency<br />Clearly, the idea that “Return” should be measured strictly by user effort and “Investment” should be measured solely in staff time is fraught with issues. In theory, it’s through all of these efforts that fans (at some point down the line) are more satisfied with their theatrical experience, buy more tickets, donate more, and introduce new consumers to the theatre. Additionally, when multiple staff members from across different departments are updating Facebook content, not everyone’s time should be represented as equally “expensive.” Finally, I’m only able to measure publically available data, inside Facebook’s walled garden. <br />Therefore, in absence of all of that data, I’ve created my own measurement of efficient return on effort. <br />First, each of the various types of efforts and impacts have varying degrees of prevalence throughout the LORT + Facebook community. So, I scored each theatre’s efforts and impacts as an order of magnitude index centered to the average case. For example, if a theatre posted to their wall 30 times this week, and the community average was 15, the theatre earns a score of +1 (=(30-15)/15) for that factor. If a different theatre posted only 5 times this week, the theatre earns a score of -.66 (=(5-15)/15) for that factor. This (somewhat falsely) assumes that the field’s average effort is ideal effort. <br />Second, each effort and impact was weighted according to the score listed in the above tables. So for example, a theatre with a Video Effort Factor Index of 2 (meaning they have posted three times as many videos as the average theatre) has a Video Effort Score of 10 (=2*5). Similarly, a theatre with a Fans Impact Factor Index of -1 (meaning they did not engage in the activity at all) has a Fans Impact Score of -1 (=-1*1). <br />Third, a theatre’s 7 Effort Scores are summed (so an above average number of fans may make up for a below average number of videos posted) for a Total Effort Score, and their 10 Impact Scores are summed (so an above average number of fan videos may make up for a below average number of fans) for a Total Impact Score. For example, a Total Effort Score of 10 means that a theatre expends 10 times the amount of effort as the average theatre, while a Total Impact Score of -10 means that a theatre’s fans are 10 times less active than the average theatre’s fans. <br />Fourth, ROI is measured as: (Impact – Effort) / Effort. Because the impact and effort scores can be positive or negative, I’ve adjusted ROI (multiplied it by -1) so that any time Impact > Effort, the ROI score is positive. <br />The table that follows summarizes the 3 key indices, and each theatre’s rank within that index. <br />TheatreTotal Effort ScoreTotal Impact ScoreROIHardest Working RankEngaged Users RankEfficiency RankACT Theatre10.661,578.38147.062011Kansas City Rep29.22604.4219.681122Clarence Brown Theatre Co(21.93)218.6610.976833CenterStage15.16146.218.641654Actors Theatre Louisville12.9986.855.691775American Conservatory2.1311.984.6326116Denver Center PA38.46168.973.39647Berkeley Rep30.37110.702.65968Center Theatre Group12.4820.660.661889Alabama Shakes(13.07)(6.26)0.52511410Shakespeare Theatre Co29.7714.18(0.52)101011Guthrie40.9218.06(0.56)4912Geva Theatre(14.35)(22.84)(0.59)541713American Repertory Theatre48.78(0.39)(1.01)31214Portland Center Stage(20.23)(41.44)(1.05)622215Trinity Rep(26.04)(54.00)(1.07)734616Virginia Stage73.73(10.84)(1.15)11517Signature Theatre19.28(4.66)(1.24)141318Long Wharf(24.11)(56.99)(1.36)716419Roundabout Theatre(23.98)(57.03)(1.38)706520Laguna Playhouse(24.26)(57.72)(1.38)727121Arkansas Rep(18.74)(47.92)(1.56)602622Manhattan Theatre Club(21.41)(55.78)(1.60)675523Northlight(21.99)(57.74)(1.63)697324City Theatre (20.33)(53.65)(1.64)634125Lincoln Center Theatre(21.35)(57.72)(1.70)667226Syracuse Stage(20.40)(56.40)(1.76)646027Asolo Rep(20.52)(57.49)(1.80)656928Round House (19.53)(54.79)(1.81)615029Huntington Theatre38.55(34.40)(1.89)52030Capital Rep NY(16.53)(49.84)(2.01)583231Milwaukee Rep48.97(52.27)(2.07)23932Court Theatre(18.32)(57.29)(2.13)596733Indiana Rep(16.05)(51.38)(2.20)573634Cincinatti Playhouse(15.52)(55.52)(2.58)565335Arena Stage30.64(48.90)(2.60)82936Theatre for a New Audience(15.51)(57.64)(2.72)557037Rep Theatre of St. Louis31.51(56.48)(2.79)76138Florida Stage(13.90)(53.70)(2.86)524239Seattle Repertory(12.67)(49.25)(2.89)493140Arizona Theatre Co(14.29)(55.71)(2.90)535441Maltz Jupiter(12.65)(49.94)(2.95)483342Hartford Stage23.86(48.20)(3.02)122743Barter Theatre(12.95)(52.21)(3.03)503844Intiman Theatre(12.59)(51.28)(3.07)473545Yale Rep/Drama(12.20)(53.86)(3.41)464546South Coast Rep22.31(54.99)(3.47)135147Great Lakes Theatre(11.15)(50.48)(3.53)443448Alley Theatre(11.78)(57.24)(3.86)456649Fords Theatre6.52(22.21)(4.40)221650Marin Theatre(10.11)(54.77)(4.42)434951Old Globe15.61(53.70)(4.44)154352Alliance Theatre(9.53)(54.00)(4.67)424753People's Light(8.52)(55.89)(5.56)415854TheatreWorks(7.32)(48.79)(5.66)372855Pasadena Playhouse(4.47)(29.86)(5.68)341856Florida studio(8.23)(55.82)(5.78)395757Philadelphia Theatre(8.43)(57.41)(5.81)406858Pittsburgh Public(8.00)(55.10)(5.89)385259McCarter Theatre10.97(54.69)(5.99)194860Two Rivers(7.29)(56.54)(6.76)366261Merrimack Rep9.42(56.80)(7.03)216362Delaware Theatre(5.15)(55.79)(9.83)355663LaJolla Playhouse(2.91)(32.29)(10.09)321964Cleveland PlayHouse5.66(53.25)(10.41)234065Wilma Theatre(3.31)(53.75)(15.23)334466George Street(2.02)(35.61)(16.60)302167Play Makers Rep2.98(47.44)(16.93)242468San Jose Rep(2.48)(51.94)(19.91)313769Geffen2.31(49.12)(22.28)253070Georgia Shakespeare1.21(47.81)(40.51)272571Arden Theatre0.97(46.17)(48.55)282372Goodman Theatre0.72(56.08)(79.04)295973<br />Final Note: An Easier Method<br />I realize that this indexing method is likely too complicated to operationalize. Thus, I wanted to give a quick back of the envelope method for potentially calculating ROI: <br />Simple ROI = # fan comments/# theatre wall posts<br />This reduces the noise of Facebook down to a single element. It’s clearly not a complete picture, it doesn’t account for a huge variety of factors, but it’s simple and a short hand for showing whether your fans are engaged with the content you’re posting. Measure this over time, and you can begin to get a sense of how you can get the best “bang for your buck” online. <br />