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Though search plays an important role in triggering a Facebook user to "like" a brand, fully three in four Facebook fans say they have joined a brand's Facebook page because of a brand invitation or advertising campaign, according to a study by DDB Worldwide and Opinionway Research.

Recommendations from friends are also a powerful trigger: 59% of surveyed brand fans say they came to "like" a brand after receiving an invite from a friend, and 49% say they joined a brand's fan page after conducting their own research.

Brands are reaching out to Facebook users: 41% of Facebook fans say they have received a direct email invite from a brand to join its Facebook page and 56% have seen advertising for a brand's page.

Meanwhile, 38% of fans have searched for a brand via Facebook's own search engine, and 23% have searched for Facebook a brand via search engine (e.g., Google, Yahoo, Bing).

Below, other findings from Facebook and Brands, a six-country study conducted by DDB Worldwide and Opinionway Research.

Most brands are enjoying a honeymoon on Facebook: 60% of fans rate fan pages extremely favorably (giving them an 8 to 10 grade on a scale of 1 to 10). In addition, 36% say they are more likely to buy the product if they are a fan, and 92% are more likely to recommend a product.

Reasons for Liking a Brand on Facebook

Facebook fans want to be rewarded for joining a fan page: 53% of fans say being treated in a special way is very important to them, and 95% say it's important.

However, nearly one-half want to be brand advocates: 48% say being a brands' spokesperson is very important to them, and 94% say it's important.

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Asked to suggest how a brand might improve a fan page, 83% of Facebook fans suggest more benefits.

Among specific suggestions, Facebook fans cite more advance information and previews of future offerings (39%), followed by more games and contests (33%), access to exclusive information (33%), and special invites to events (33%).

Some 21% of fans say they want e-commerce right from the fan page and 14% want to have online chats with brand representatives.

Unsubscribing: Communications Frequency and Content Quality Matters

Still, as the novelty of Facebook use wears thin, brands should closely monitor their Facebook content and the frequency of their communications—or fans will disengage.

Nearly four in ten brand fans (36%) say they have already unsubscribed from a brand's fan page. Among them, 32% cite a general loss of interest, 27% cite too high a frequency of information, and 22% cite uninteresting content.

Among those who unsubscribe from a fan page, 82% do so by removing the page from their list of friends and 18% hide updates from the brand on their News Feed list.

About the data: Finding are from a survey of 1,642 Facebook fans (those who "like" a brand on Facebook) in the US, Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, from August 27 to Sept. 27, 2010, conducted online by Opinonway  Research for DDB Worldwide.

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