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The Facebook Indicator: What ‘Likes’ Can Reveal About Stock Performance


Whether you love it, hate it, use it, own the stock or think it's just a fad, there's no denying that Facebook (FB) is at the center of a fast developing and largely unproven experiment. Even the company's famous billionaire co-founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg would likely concede that the present state of social media advertising and fan pages has not developed all that much beyond trial and error.

And yet, the stakes could not be higher and the interest more intense about any information that might suggest, one way or the other, that the experiment is either working or failing. This is, of course, precisely why the debut of the Wired Social Index caught our eye. We discuss the budding benchmark in the attached video, and try to discern whether the most "liked" companies are getting any bang for their Facebook buck.

"So the index is an attempt to look at if there is a correlation between popularity on Facebook and how your stock performs in the market," says Michael Copeland, senior editor at Wired magazine. He says the six-month old project is essentially an effort to determine if "Facebook is a platform that can boost your company in sales and ultimately in the stock market."

The index consists of only the top 9 most "liked" companies on Facebook, which include Coca Cola (KO), Walt Disney (DIS), Viacom (VIA), Nike (NKE), Starbucks (SBUX), McDonald's (MCD), Limited (LTD), Monster Beverage (MNST), and Wal-Mart (WMT). While Copeland says they are ''starting to see some correlation between Facebook popularity and market performance", a longer dated back test over the past 12 months, showed the 9-stock index up about 12% and performing almost in-line with the broader market.

In the meantime, as the "Likes" keep mounting, and the clicks keep counting, social media hawks will be paying close attention to see if fans - and their friends - truly do become customers.

"Facebook needs to prove that it has legs as an advertising platform and that it can contribute lots of value to advertisers," says Copeland.

It's the Wired Social Index and the question now is, do you like it? Let us know in the comment section below or visit our Facebook page!