Facebook Insights

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Understanding your customers, the subtlety of their demographics and how to speak to them is an art and a practice, as is understanding Facebook Insights.

The more regularly you use the Insights tools, and track your performance, the better your understanding is going to be. And that’s why its called Insights. The Insights button is at the top of business page toolbar in between the activity and settings links.

Facebook Insights are a free analytics tool provided by Facebook to help you understand more about your Facebook page’s activities through engagement with content, and the people doing the engaging. Your Insights page will show you things like which posts are working/not working, which ones are liked, shared and have comments.

It will reveal how your numbers of fans are growing and what parts of your content are getting the most exposure. Let’s get familiar with some of the analytics that Insights use to break down the stats and how you can use them for your business.

Page likes

This tracks the number of Likes your page has had week to week, and where the spikes or drops were. By tracking this metric you can get an understanding of the correlation in activity or time or events to who liked your page – and replicate these actions to continue to grow your followers.

Net likes shows you which likes were organic (or unpaid), and those that were a direct result of your advertising campaign. You will also be able to see when unlikes have occurred and make sure this is in the minority and not a regular slide. You will be able to see where the likes came from and track if they were as a result of a visit to your Facebook page, or from actions like having the Similar Page Suggestions button enabled. The graphs that appear in this part of your Insights page will give you visual updates about all of this, as well as the trends related to likes, comments and shares on posts. Just click on any point in the Insight graphs and you can view the posts related to those trends to see where you are getting it right and where you can tweak your campaigns. Just remember, the likes in and of themselves don't have a tonne of value if they aren't converting to action. These are known as vanity metrics, and a page with 800 likes that are heavily engaged will be a much better performing business than one with 12000 likes without any interactions.

Post reach

This is the number of unique people who have seen your posts over the last week. These could be fans or friends of fans. Reach is one of the more ubiquitous terms of measurement that many business owners struggle with. Facebook defines it this way: “Post reach is the number of people who have seen your post. Your post counts as reaching someone when it’s shown in a news feed. Figures are for the first 365 days after a post was created and include people viewing your post on desktop and mobile.” This factors in Facebook’s news feed algorithms, including likes, comments, and shares. If someone sees your post multiple times, this is only counted as once for the purpose of reach. When you see your reach going up or down, your content will be a clue as to what is changing the dial. When you see Facebook talking about impressions, they count one person seeing a piece of content five times as five impressions. Both statistics are relevant to give you insights into who likes what you post. When it comes to engagement this shows you if people actually like your content. The indicators that you are hitting the right note with your fans are if they are liking, [positively] commenting, sharing or clicking to see more.

Post analytics

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Insights are great to show you more info about your fans and the type of information that will give you direction for things like peak times to schedule your posts. This can be found in the posts tab. When your fans are online is the key indicator of peak times for your tribe. This tab helps you recognise, based on data from a one week period, when the best times for posting specific pieces of content are. This information is calculated according to the times most fans appear most frequently on Facebook. Post types helps you evaluate the success of posts based on what kind of content they are. This shows you the top three performing types of content (such as photos, videos, or links) you shared, and the average reach and engagement associated with each. If you have enabled competitor tracking through top posts from pages you watch you can spy on how the pages you are monitoring are doing. Information about what types of posts get the most engagement and reach on your competitions pages will give you some insight into what you can experiment with.

In summary

All of this data can be exported directly into Excel as .CSV files so you can set up ongoing analysis, graphs and create customised reports to give you a long term view of how your Facebook posting and advertising efforts are going.

There is no point spending endless hours and dollars on social media if you are unable to see the direct benefits to your business, and Insights gives you the tools to justify the ROI of you and/or your staff members time.

In the early days of building your fan base and getting to know the likes and habits of your customers, you will naturally want to experiment with the many advertising options that Facebook now has on offer.

Running multiples of ads, A/B or split testing them, using video, making offers and calls-to-action, these are all activities that you want to try, and Insights is where you are going to be able to get real time evidence of what works and what doesn’t. Over a period of months and years you will be able to watch your audience, your offering and your engagement mature, and Insights is invaluable as a long term chart for the overall health and growth of your social media campaigns.