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Is Facebook’s People Talking About Metric Meaningful?

I recently read a post on Beth Kanter’s blog about her opinion on the new Facebook Insight’s “People Talking About” feature. The People Talking About metric adds up the following 9 actions from your fan base:

  • Liking a page
  • Posting (a comment, photo, link, or video) to a page’s wall
  • Commenting, liking, or sharing a page’s status update, photo, video, or other content
  • Answering a question posted by a page
  • RSVPing to an event hosted by the page
  • Mentioning the page (users must formally tag the page);
  • Tagging a page in a photo
  • Liking or sharing a check-in deal
  • Checking in at a place

Even if you have tens of thousands of followers, the overall number of People Talking About seems to usually be in the low thousands, or less than 4%.

I took a look at a dozen or so brands on Facebook (chart below) to see if I agreed with Beth’s opinion and to back up my blog from yesterday about whether or not quantity or quality matters most.

TechCrunch and Mashable which are daily technology news sources churning out a ton of content per day, garnered 4% and 3% of their Facebook fan base talking about them, which makes sense. Target garnered 4% also, however it’s unclear if it is because it’s the holiday season or because they are doing a “spend $50 get a $10” gift card promotion. Pepsi, also garnered 3% and they appear to not have any special promotion going on, however, 3% of 6.7M fans isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things.

But what was really fascinating was Lady Gaga, who has 45M fans and only has 2% of her fan base talking about her. Compared to Kiva.org a nonprofit, who also has 2% of their fan base talking about them but only have a mere 145K fans. Hmm.

People Talking About Metric on Facebook

So the number on it’s own doesn’t really mean much unless you put it into context and compare it to your number of overall fans and even then, it doesn’t tell you if they are saying something good about your brand. It only tells you that people are talking about it. What if they are talking smack about your brand, where can you see that? I know you can use sites like PageLever to get insight to the sentiment but it would be a lot more meaningful if Facebook supplied this with the number.

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.