As more and more marketing takes place on Facebook, it’s important to master measuring results on the platform, and one of the most important tools for doing so is on the site itself and available for export — Facebook Insights.
Facebook Insights is a useful analytics tool that can help social media marketers create better experiences on brand pages and improve business results. Many of the metrics provided by Insights are readily available right on your Facebook page (simply click on the “See All” Insights link featured prominently on the Admin panel of the brand timeline page). For example, the “People Talking About” metric tells you how many people have liked, commented on, or shared your posts, or responded to a question or event.
More comprehensive data and metrics are available through the Insights API. Much of the API data can be easily accessed by simply clicking on the “Export” button at the top right of the Overview screen in Insights.
By exporting this data, you can access an additional 50+ metrics that are not visible in the Insights interface. One example: Page StoryTellers by City is the unique number of people who created a story (a like, a comment, a share, etc.) segmented by city.
Once you have exported this very substantial pool of data, you can use it to calculate even more metrics that will help you optimize the performance of your Facebook marketing program. Here are three examples:
1. Average Organic Reach Per Post
If you don’t have a significant Facebook ad budget, organic reach (the number of unique people who have seen your post in their News Feed or on your page) is pretty important. Unfortunately, thanks to Edgerank, every post on your Facebook page will not be visible to 100% of your fans. In fact, organic reach is often very low for brand pages.
Through the Insights interface, you can see the organic reach of each individual post. But to get a sense of how organic reach is trending across all of your posts combined, try calculating Average Organic Reach Per Post. In order to do this, you will need to access the metric “28 Days Organic Reach”. (This metric is located under the Key Metrics tab in the Excel sheet that is generated when you use the Export Data feature). Once you have this number, add up the total number of posts in the time period and complete the following calculation:
The chart below shows the rolling 28 day average for this metric for each day during the 28 day period.
Note: You cannot accurately calculate average reach per post by simply adding up the reach numbers that are visible under each post on your page and then dividing the total by number of posts. The reach number visible on each post represents unique people who saw the post and includes duplication across multiple posts (i.e., some of the same people who saw post #1 also are counted in the reach numbers for post #2).
2. Average Engagement Per Post
Your organic reach numbers will not improve on Facebook unless fans engage with your content. The more fans engage, the more your posts will appear in their News Feeds. Through the Insights interface, you can see the number of engaged users for each individual post. To understand how many engagement actions (comments, likes of posts, likes of the page, shares, mentions, etc.) were generated on average across all of your posts over a given time period, try calculating Average Engagement Per Post. First, locate the metric “28 days page stories”. (This metric is also located under the Key Metrics tab). Next, add up the total number of posts in the time period and complete the following calculation:
3. Engagements Per Engaged User
Another way to look at engagement trends is by calculating how frequently each user engages. To calculate Engagements per Engaged Users (Facebook defines an engaged user as anyone who creates a story), simply divide the metric “28 Days Page Stories” by “28 Days People Talking About” (both are in the Key Metrics tab):
As in the example above, the chart below shows the rolling 28 day average for this metric for each day during the time period.
Ultimately, understanding why reach and engagement fluctuate often comes down to the content you are posting on Facebook. Which posts resonate and which fall flat? I’ll cover how to connect these dots in a subsequent post. In the meantime, metrics like the ones in this post can help you get a better understanding of how your Facebook efforts are trending over time.
One final note about using Facebook Insights data to calculate metrics like these: Matching up the metrics in the Insights interface with the ones available through the API can be frustrating due to inconsistent naming conventions.
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