Facebook Analytics: 3 Killer Metrics To Calculate Using Data From Facebook Insights

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 postTo 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.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Analytics & Marketing Column | Channel: Analytics | Facebook: Insights


About The Author: has over 25 years of communications experience touching almost every aspect of marketing, including conventional advertising, public relations, and digital. Her current company, Social Snap, focuses on social media measurement, providing marketers with a powerful social analytics platform that combines data from social channels, web analytics, and social media monitoring tools.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/steph.allard Stephane Allard

    Great insights. Thanks.
    A minor error though : Facebook defines an engaged user, not as anyone who creates a story, as stated, but as anyone who clicks on a post. Not really the same.

  • http://www.socialdon.com/ Noel Gil

    Facebook insight is a amazing tool as many other tools are also available in market. But its nice and thanks for you help.

  • ndawkins

    Ah, technically correct, Stephane.  In the Social Snap
    interface, we define an engaged user as anyone who creates a story (the
    reason for this is complicated; it has to do with the way we calculate a
    cross-channel engagement number that includes facebook, twitter, and
    other social channels).  But in Facebook, an engaged user is someone who
    clicks on any of your content.  The metric calculation is still good,
    but it
    would be more accurate to call the metric “stories per person talking
    about this”

  • xiaotao22

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  • karina723

    I have a question about the 28 day metrics and how you get the single number you are using in these equations. The last number is not cumulative so which number do you use or do you add them all up? Thank you.

  • ndawkins

     Hi Karina, when you say the “single number” I believe you are referring to the 28 day metric.  Is that correct?  Please clarify and I’ll respond.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6846458 Jessica Gaylord

    Like Karina, I’m confused as to how you’re getting one number for the 28-day metric. When I export the data, each date of the month has a different number in the 28-day column. Are you using the sum of that column?

  • ndawkins

    Hi Jessica, below is my response to another reader who emailed me with the same question.  This should clarify, but if not, please reach out and we’ll talk it through.

    Anathea asked: “Let’s say I downloaded all the data for the month of April. That leaves me with approximately 30 days (rows) of data which means 30 numbers in the 28 Day Organic Reach column. For the ORGANIC REACH PER POST metric you calculated, how did you come up with 4778? Would you add up the 30 rows
    of data in the 28 day organic reach column to get 4778? Or rather is it
    an average? Ie. You would add up all 30 rows of data and then divide it
    by number of rows/days?”

    Answer: No, if you do this, you are adding up the daily values for organic reach over a 30 day period.  You can’t add those values because reach is a unique
    number.  If you add those values, you will get a number that is inaccurate
    because it includes duplication.  For more detail, see my follow up post
    this month about calculating 30 day metrics (http://marketingland.com/more-facebook-insights-how-to-calculate-30-day-metrics-10107). 
    The number used for  “28 day organic reach” in the example you
    refer to is the “28 Day Organic Reach” metric provided by
    Facebook.  It is located under the Key Metrics tab in the Excel sheet
    that is generated when you use the Export Data feature. You do not have to
    sum or average to get this number.  It is already showing the total for
    the previous 28 days (each row shows the number for the prior 28 days). 

    Anathea asked: Same question for the AVERAGE ENGAGEMENT PER POST metric. You came up with 284 28 day page stories. In this case you didn’t say total so did you do an average of the data or was it the total number (adding up all
    30 days of data under 28 days page stories)? 

    Answer: I think what you are trying to do here is create a 30 day metric — in this case,you can calculate a 30 day metric by simply summing “Daily
    Page Stories” over the 30-day period and then dividing that
    number by the number of posts in the 30-day time period.  Again, see my article
    this month.  I think it will help you a lot.  This is one of the
    examples I used (in the article, I list some examples of metrics you can
    and cannot add).

    Thanks in advance for your help. Sorry if this was a bit lengthy and confusing! :) No
    problem!  Also, you might want to download our Facebook Metrics
    Cheat Sheet (located on the Social Snap site).  It connects the dots between the metrics provided by the API, and the ones provided in Insights.  Sometimes they aren’t named the same thing and it can be a little confusing.

  • Aidan Bouchelle

    Two questions

    1.  You are referencing Column T on the key metrics tab?  Then taking the daily organic reach and dividing it by the number of posts over the last 28 days correct?  IE organic reach for 5/10 is 5000 the last 28 days there were 25 posts Avg Organic Reach per post = 200.  Is this correct?

    2.  Is this an error?  In your example it says 4778 / 25 = 177 my calculator says 191 What am i missing here? 

  • ndawkins

     Hi Aidan, yes, it is Column T and you have the calculation correct.  And yes!  4778/25 is 191, not 177!

  • Aidan Bouchelle

     Great Thank You.

  • Brett Cornell

    How’d you get the rolling average chart for organic reach per post in your example?

  • bhuvan thaker

    In point (2) Avg Engagement per post is 11.3; then is there any benchmark to make sense of 11.3 is poor or better or good or best score.

    And similarly for point (3) as well.

    Please advice


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