Facebook Analytics: A Guide to Understanding

Gosh, you already know how hard it is to grow Facebook organically, let alone understand the analytics behind the numbers. But look no further, here is a short  handy dandy guide to understanding them.

Facebook Insights is broken into four areas: Summary, Likes, Reach, and Talking About This. It also measures data on a default scale of 28 days unless you specify otherwise when viewing. Since the Summary is just comprised of Likes, Reach and Talking About This, we’ll start with Likes.

  • Likes:  The ‘Likes’ page shows you who your fans are by gender and age, where they are located and the languages they speak based on their profile settings. It also gives you the sources of where ‘Likes’ of your page came from (not individual post likes). This can be useful for targeting specific messages to a male or female population or the timing of posts relative to specific time zones.
  • Reach: Shows you how you reached your audience whether it was organic, paid, viral or total. This is useful because it tells you how people are finding out about your content and gives you insight as to whether or not you should consider doing Facebook Ads if organic and viral is not paying off.
    • Organic is from news feed, news ticker or from your page.
    • Paid is who saw your content from an Ad or Sponsored Story you placed.
    • Viral is the number of people who saw your page from a story that was published by a friend. This can include when a friend likes your page, likes a post, comments on your fan page wall (if you allow this type of action), sharing one of your posts and any other actions you allow on your page so their friends may see.

It also shows you how many times unique people were reached (saw content about your page).

Lastly, it shows Page Views, Total Tab Views and External Referrers. This is useful because you can see if people are linking back to your Facebook page from external websites, such as your website or other blogs. It also gives you an idea of how many pages people viewed while visiting your fan page. In most cases this number will be low because they will hopefully see your content in their feed. Remember 90% of people who ‘like’ your page don’t come back to visit it, but rather get news from you in their news feed or news ticker.

  • Page Views gives you how many unique people viewed your fan page and how many page views those people generated.
  • Tab Views shows you how many people have visited various tabs within your fan page. This is useful if you have custom tabs created for a marketing campaign, contest or promotion, or donation page.
  • External Referrers gives you links to sites outside of which referred people to your Facebook page.
  • Talking About This: is perhaps a useless number on its own. You need to put it into context and compare it to your number of overall fans, but even then it won’t tell you their sentiment about your brand. What it measures are these nine (9) actions: liking a page, posting (a comment, photo, link or video) to a page’s wall, commenting or liking or sharing a page’s status update, photo, video or other content, answering a question posted by a page, RSVP’ing to an event hosted by a 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.

    As a reference, most companies, regardless of how many hundreds of thousands of fans they have, show less than 4% talking about them (Remember this chart from a previous post):

People Talking About Metric on Facebook

So what do you think – helpful? Any other questions, comment below and I’ll try to get to them this week.

p.s. thanks to all who nominated Social Strand Media as one of SMExaminer’s Top 10 Blogs for 2012. Out of 570 nominations we are one of the 20 and could not have done it without our readership support – so thanks! (Finalist list)

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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.


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