How To Get More Out Of Your Facebook Insights

By Patrick Courtney

Still grappling with the latest changes to the Facebook insights dashboard?  Did you rack your brain over the difference between Engaged Users and People Talking About This, Consumptions and Stories, Reach and Impressions?  Did your heart rate increase a little when Facebook announced they were eliminating the old insights dashboard at the end of January?

Good.  That should have happened because analytics are important!  Below, some tips to making more out of your “new” Facebook Insights:

Get Past Total Likes

It’s easy to take metrics like People Talking About This (PTAT), Engaged Users, etc. and divide them into total Page Likes as a barometer for fan engagement levels. PTAT and Total Likes are prominently displayed next to one another on your page.  But this overstates your fan engagement, and Facebook wants you to start seeing the forest for the trees.  When grabbing reach metrics, make sure you’re looking at fans, friends of fans, and in some cases the unique visitor traffic to your page (if measuring stats at the page level.)  Engagements and stories are being created by more than just your fans, and should be measured that way.  Total Likes is important, and is just one of several metrics to use when measuring your Facebook audience.

Measure Engagement And Viral Engagement

The level of engagement with your content is the lynchpin to getting more exposure in the news feed and what better way to see that than understanding how many people interact with your content when they see it?  To get Engagement, divide Engaged Users by your Total Reach.  This will give you a % of all the unique users who potentially SAW your content that also clicked on that content in some way.

People Talking About This, a type of engagement, measures a unique user performing an action that creates a story in the engaged user’s news feed (ex – “Jane Doe just commented on Acme Brand’s post.”) Measure PTAT the same way as Engaged Users, dividing by Total Reach, to get % Viral Engagement (or “Virality” as Facebook displays it on the Insights dashboard.) Viral engagement is the more desired type of engagement in most instances, as it spreads your message through the social graph more quickly.

These metrics are helpful in understanding how well your message is resonating with the people you’re reaching.  Aim to keep engagement levels up as your fan base grows, and continue to increase the virality of your engagements by focusing on those actions that create stories, which in turn increases the distribution of your message.

Use People Talking About This For Competitive Analysis

Since PTAT is a public-facing metric, you can now take this number, divide by total Likes (I know I just advised not doing this above, but we don’t have much choice when doing competitive analysis), and trend this percentage over time for your brand and your competitors.  If you’re between 2-4% you’re on the right track (this may be higher for pages with less fans and lower for pages with more fans).  Keep an eye on this to gauge how well your message is resonating as compared to your competitors and similar brands with comparable fan levels.

Pay Attention To The Post Level

Post level metrics are the purest Insights Facebook offers for accurately measuring post content performance.  Try categorizing your post types by subject in advance, then group your posts’ performance by subject to better understand what content topics and execution tactics boost kpi’s like Engaged Users and Virality at the post level.  For example, you’re a wine brand targeting Millenials.  You may post about the properties of the wine, the brand values of the wine, lifestyle attributes of your target customers like the kind of music or food they may like, etc.  Group these posts into their respective topics, and revise your content strategy by learning how these topics generally perform by comparison.

Ultimately you’ll want to measure whatever metrics align with your objectives.  Maybe you’re looking to drive traffic to a product web site, and you want to measure reach with click through rates on sales or product announcements, or maybe your concern is awareness in which Impressions might hold more weight.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with metrics just like you would with your creative tactics.  Just remember that Facebook can, and will, manipulate and change their data and metrics whenever they want and however they want, so be sure to export and store your data regularly to avoid losing anything important.

How have you adapted to the new Insights from Facebook?