3 Facebook Insights Metrics Critical To Marketing

by Nate Riggs on Mar 14, 2012

Facebook community managers have seen multiple changes to how we measure the success of our brand efforts inside of the world’s largest network.

Just when we get used to one version of metrics, it seems that another iteration is rolled out, sometimes with little advanced warning.

Now consider the rise of 3rd party social media dashboards and 3rd party Facebook measurement applications. Most brand marketers in larger companies are already used to having to schedule yet another software demo of the latest and greatest analytics suite.

Don’t get me wrong — a good majority of these tools are absolutely top notch in terms of the amount of data that they deliver and well worth the investment.

But, Facebook community managers are now faced with a larger challenge.

With the availability of so much data and analytics, coupled with the scarcity of time and resources, what insights matter most when benchmarked against the key performance indicators of the actual business or client account?

In the post below, we’ll spend a few minutes going away from all the glitz and glory of data, and back to fundamental insights that should be used to make your Facebook brand page a more effective channel for marketing your products and services.

1.  Measuring the Accuracy of Your Fan Base Growth

One of the first and foremost aspects of using Facebook Pages as a marketing platform for business, involves building an audience of fans that have all the right ingredients to become potential customers.

Even with the recent loss of Like Gating as a marketing tactic, Facebook Advertising campaigns still stand as the most effective and efficient way to garner fan base growth. However, unless that growth is targeted growth, your efforts will never translate into bottom line revenue.

For example, if your business primarily exists to serve women living in the Midwestern United States, adding male fans from Thailand will probably not help you move the needle, regardless of how well you design your page content, calls to action or offers.

Since the earliest versions of Facebook Insights, page admins and community managers have been able to gage the make up of their Facebook Page fan base in terms of total page Likes.

facebook-insights

Marrying this information with data from the Facebook Ad manager provides Facebook community managers with a nice benchmark for making sure that advertising dollars are doing the job you’ve intended — effectively adding fans who actually have the ability to buy your businesses products and services.

The Facebook Ad Manager provides the following metrics which can be compared with the Facebook Insights on your page:

  • Targeted Audience
    The approximate number of people your ads or Sponsored Stories can reach, based on how you develop your targeting.
  • Reach
    The number of individual people who see your ads during the selected date ranges. Note that this is slightly different than impressions (CPM), which includes people seeing your ad multiple times in their sidebar
  • Social Reach
    The number of people who saw your ad with the names of their friends who liked your Facebook Page, indicating how far your ads are traveling around Facebook’s social graph.
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
    The percentage of people that actually clicked on your ad and converted to the action that you’ve asked them to take.
Community Manager Tips:
  • Spend significant time reviewing your click-through rate (CTR) for various different ads you are testing. Remember, that ad copy and images will have a direct effect on this metric. Create multiple versions of the same ad, with slight changes in the design and copy, and then test each for a determined amount of time. After the initial campaign runs, review to Ad manager insights to see which ads are preforming the highest, and then optimize your campaigns to deliver those ads. This approach is called multi-variate testing.
  • Rather than serving Facebook banner ads broadly, use Facebook Insight data to determine the market areas where your fan presence is the weakest. Then, concentrate your advertising dollars on those specific areas increasing the impressions for a determined period of time. You should be able to generate a measurable increase of new fans in those areas.
  • For Facebook community managers who will not be spending more than $2000 per month on advertising, most of the new advertising features with the Timeline update for pages will not be available. Instead, focus your advertising dollars on standard sidebar banners that include the Like button inside the ad so that you can increase the size of your overall fan base. Most of Facebook’s new in-stream advertising options like Premium and Reach Generator work through paid placement of content delivered to your existing fan base. In a sense, growing your fan base early will make your use of the new ad platform more effective, should you ever have the budget to allocate to those newer tactics.

2.  Measuring Your Content Activity Against Fan Interactions

For every action, there is a reaction — especially on Facebook.

One of the most critical metrics, and one I also believe Facebook community managers tend to neglect, is found directly on the overview, inside of Facebook Insights.

In order to generate fan interactions like comments, comment likes, sharing, and tagging, that result in increased weekly reach of your content objects, community managers must pay attention to the coloration between what content is distributed, when it is distributed, and how frequently they are updating their page with new content.

A recent study by bit.ly cites that the average status update on Facebook has a shelf life of somewhere in the area of 3-4 hours. With that in mind, the old mindset of once-daily updates gives way to a new approach where higher frequency of updating creates higher fan visibility of your content, both on your page as well as in the news feeds of fans.

Facebook’s recent update to insights makes this very visual and easy to read in a quick passing.

Larger purple circles signify when more frequent updates have been made. With that said, it will be interesting to see if these insights are effected by Pinned content and Milestones on the new Facebook Timeline as more community managers become familiar with using these features.

Facebook-page-insights

Community Manager Tips:

  • Schedule multiple content updates each day, following a distribution interval of 3-4 hours, over an 18-hour period, each day. If your page serves fans in different timezones, you may need to consider fulfilling content updates over a 24-hour distribution period.
  • Investigate tools that will allow you to geographically target Facebook status updates to specific fans per city, state, zipcode or country. Tools like Spredfast, Argyle Social, and even Context Optional (now part of Adobe), are social media management applications that have content geo-targeting features neatly built into their suites.
  • Pay special attention to the increases or declines in Weekly Total Reach and People Talking About This, as each of those metrics are related to how your content is spreading, as a result of fan interactions.

3. Measuring Individual Content Object Performance

One of the most significant changes we’ve seen Facebook make leading up to the IPO, has been related to placing a significant emphasis on heightened production content, as opposed to the past focus on application development.

While that may have serious negative implications for smaller businesses who may not have the community management resources to keep up with the needed frequency, it does indeed force all community managers to lean more more heavily on content, and less on development support.

In the last release of the updated Facebook Insights, community managers were given the ability to track (and neatly sort) the performance of individual status updates, pulling in much of the same set of metrics in the Insights overview, but for individual updates.

This view of individual post metrics allows Facebook community managers to determine exactly what posts have scored highly in terms of Facebook EdgeRank, thus increasing the virility and reach of the content object, as it’s distributed into the news feeds of fans.

Facebook Insights -- Individual Post Analytics

 

Community Manager Tips:

  • Use individual post performance metrics to determine what content objects naturally resonate and build reactions from your Facebook fan base, and then determine if any of those updates should be Pinned in your page timeline, or even marked as page Milestones.
  • Focus closely on watching the Virility percentage, and number of Engaged User on Pinned Posts in your timeline, to determine if you are seeing increased attention. If there is little to no difference, remove the star or flag, and let those updates fall farther down your Timeline to make room for fresh content experiments.
  • Begin experimenting with different conversation drivers for Pinned posts and Milestones. Examples of these types of updates might be “this or that” style questions, or even questions that lead your audience to a specific way to engage with the post.

Your Timeline is Your Laboratory

As a Facebook community manager, the most important page activities you can be doing right now, involve your own experimentation.

How are you experimenting with the timeline, and what results are you seeing inside of your own Facebook Insights?

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Post Author

Nate Riggs is a leading content marketing strategist and community manager, who leads the social business division at The Karcher Group. For the past 10 years, he has advised organizations like Bob Evans Farms, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Bayer Animal Health, Imgur.com,...

  • http://twitter.com/olinjoseph Olin Graczyk

    Another thorough overview Nate.  Well done.

  • Amandah

    You hit the ‘nail on the head with the following, “While that may have serious negative implications for smaller businesses who may not have the community management resources to keep up with the needed frequency, it does indeed force all community managers to lean more heavily on content, and less on development support.” I would add the following:

    ● Smaller businesses/owners don’t understand how the game has changed. Some owners believe strategies from four years ago will work today. They can’t and don’t understand why their website statistics have declined over the years. They believe buying links is the answer instead of providing quality, unique content along with effective calls-to-actions. Plus, they may not be using the ‘right’ keywords/phrases.

    ● Some small business owners believe their Facebook fan page ‘likes’ and Twitter followers will ‘magically’ increase overnight. They could if you they purchase them. I think a lot of owners have the ‘Kevin Costner’ mentality of, “If you build it, they will come.” This doesn’t work. 

    ● Finally, small business owners may have employees that don’t see the value in social media. Their negativity and ‘laissez-faire’ attitude can sabotage any efforts being made to increase the company’s web presence through the use of social media.

  • http://twitter.com/beckleecottage Linda Strother

    wow one of the best posts I have read about how to understand the metrics

  • Anonymous

    Very good post, especially the ‘Tips’ section. Interesting note about the shelf life of a comment. We hear users complain about over-active FB pages too, so it’s worth paying attention and not annoy fans. 

  • http://nateriggs.com nateriggs

    Thank you for checking it out, Olin! :)

  • http://nateriggs.com nateriggs

    It will be interesting to see how pinning and milestones play into the life of content. Essentially, Facebook has given brands a way to game the system as a freebie … at least for now, anyway.  Not sure exactly what effect it will have in the insights though.

  • http://nateriggs.com nateriggs

    Glad you stopped by, Linda. :)  If you’ve been to the Social Fresh conferences, this is the type of stuff speakers there cover.  You should see some of the stuff Chris Penn does in terms of web analytics. Super insightful and entertaining…

  • http://nateriggs.com nateriggs

    Thanks for sharing, Amandah,  It sounds like you’ve had some of these experiences in the past at brands you worked for or with?

  • Yelpotig

    I’ve noticed something odd. I’m running 2 campaigns at the same time, with the exact same ad. The ad is a marketplace page post video ad. 1 campaign is pure CPC whilst the other is Optimized CPM. Studying both I see that CPC has a good social reach so far (Reach: 1 million , Social Reach 80k, Actions 12k, Clicks 7k). Btw what’s the difference between clicks and action in this case? Now for Optimized CPM the numbers are as follows: Reach 500k, Social Reach 0, Actions 4.5k, Clicks 3.5k. Any idea why there’s 0 reach on the optimized CPM campaign?