5 Facebook Insights metrics to track–and why

By now, if you work in the digital arena, you’ve most likely taken a glimpse at Facebook Insights. After all, many people have responsibility for managing online communities, like Facebook, and need to track metrics and report back to management on a semi-regular basis.

Admittedly, Facebook doesn’t offer the most comprehensive suite of data out there. In fact, some folks have figured out work-arounds to install Google Analytics on their Facebook page for more in-depth information.

But, Insights actually probably serves most brands just fine. It provides basic data that can tell you a lot about if and how you’re fairing on the platform.

My question is this: Are people just reporting likes and basic interactions? Or, are they really diving into the data, grabbing the right data and translating that into actionable intelligence for the brand?

Some are. Some aren’t.

Today, I thought we’d take a look at five key metrics I’ve found to be useful for most brands and how you can take that basic data and make it work for your organization’s marketing efforts online.

* Tab Views. Just like reviewing Google Analytics on your blog, one of the first things I always want to know is where people are going on my site. On Facebook it’s no different. Which tabs are fans viewing? Here’s where to find out.

What to do with the data: I had a client where after reviewing Insights recently, we discovered a decent amount of folks were visiting their Discussions tab. Only one problem: We didn’t have any content on that tab. This data forced us to rethink that a bit. People were expecting content in that tab–why? After some discussion around that question, we came up with a strategy I believe will help us improve engagement with “fans” and ultimately, help this client achieve its goals online.

* External referrers. What are your biggest referral sources online? For most, this will probably be either your Web site or Twitter. But, invariably, other sites will work there way in the mix, too. Why are those sites popping up? It’s your job to figure that out.

What to do with the data: This one depends on your goals. If you’re trying to drive people to your Facebook page from other channels, this is a great metric to check what’s working and what’s not. If Facebook traffic isn’t necessarily one of your top goals, it’s still worth running down those obscure Web sites that drive people to your page. Maybe it’s a site that picked up a blog post our CEO wrote a while back (maybe there’s a strategy there). Maybe it’s a single tweet a huge influencer in your industry made a week ago. Whatever the case, it pays to investigate–remember, the more informed you are with rich data points, the more effective your decision-making will become.

* Post Feedback. You’ll find this data under “Interactions” in your Page Overview section. It measures the number of “Likes” and comments made on the posts in your News Feed.

What to do with this data:¬†Really, you’re looking for the percent increase month-over-month here. If engagement and two-way feedback are among your goals, this is a key stat to track. What’s more, don’t forget to check out the number of “Likes” and “Comments” throughout the month. Where were your spikes? Did they occur where you wanted them to occur? Did the number of “Likes” and comments on a certain post surprise you? Grab all this information here.

* Monthly Active Users. This metric represents the number of folks who have interacted with (Liked or commented) or viewed (don’t have to be fans) your page or its posts.

What to do with this data: First, look at the percentage growth or decline month-over-month–that should give you a good indication of how many people are visiting and interacting with your page compared to the last couple months. Then, look at the number against the “Lifetime Likes” number directly to the left–how does it stack up? Remember, the Monthly Active Users number doesn’t just reflect fans–it also picks up non-fans. So, again, if one of your goals is engagement, this comparison is a good one to grab–and it should be a pretty high ratio.

* Page Views. This number represents the total hits to your Facebook page–and it includes fans and non-fans (including those who aren’t logged it to Facebook). You can find it in the Users tab under “Activity.”

What to do with this data: Here’s where you can really see what days of the week people are hitting you page–and how the spikes correspond with your content. It might make sense to overlay this chart with the days you post–great way to determine which posts might be encouraging fans to click on your actual page (remember, this isn’t about News Feed views–it’s about actual Facebook page views).

What about you? What Facebook Insights metrics do you look at from month-to-month? And, more importantly, what do you do with that data?

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28 comments on “5 Facebook Insights metrics to track–and why

  1. The good thing for me as an owner of a Facebook brand page is that they get it. The metric and analytics for me are getting better and more relevant. You make some great points now on what to do with that data.

  2. Facebook has seriously improved their metrics. The FB Insights are surprisingly effective, and they’re headed in the right direction. Nice article, Arik.

  3. I love how clearly you laid this out, Arik. I pretty much suck at my own FB Page, so this is really helpful as a learning exercise as well as for clients.

  4. jlbraaten says:

    This is great content, Arik. To be honest, I still wrestle with how to use Facebook effectively. You know I’m a numbers guy, so this info was what I needed for some extra perspective.

    What numbers do you typically try to shoot for in terms of monthly new likes, active users and post feedback percentages?

  5. sorry for interrupting, i cant answer your question. i just wanted to say that i cant get on well with facebook. i thought that everybody knos everything about it and how to use it un a good way and what profit to wait from it and etc… but after your first words i understood that i am not the only one who is fighting with it. and i am happy to know that. thank you very much!!

  6. Katrina says:

    Thanks, Arik. Sometimes we struggle with how to show our clients what is really working beyond just an increase to their number of fans. Your tips are very helpful!

  7. Hi Guys, I read somewhere that a good growth rate is 10-13 percent on fan pages. Not sure where I read that, but it’s one metric I advise people shooting for (if they’re actually using Facebook to drive a larger goal).

  8. Hi Arik,
    Great post. We were just discussing this at the Social Media Breakfast Twin Ports on Friday. Two things:

    1. Use the Insights metrics to diagnose performance, like checking your tire tread and mileage. In and of themselves they aren’t goals, but they are pieces that drive bigger goals.

    2. I recommend creating a second segment in Google Analytics. That allows you to really study your traffic from Facebook, and compare it to the rest of your traffic, to guide you as to what works best on Facebook.

    Here’s a great, free webinar on Facebook analytics if anyone wants to go deeper. http://www.blueskyfactory.com/why-blue-sky-factory/webinars/register-for-the-facebook-analytics-webinar/

  9. jlbraaten says:

    That seems about right, Patrick. I’m also interested in good number for Post Feedback % if you have a goal in mind for that as well.

  10. jlbraaten says:

    That seems about right, Patrick. I’m also interested in good number for Post Feedback % if you have a goal in mind for that as well.

  11. Thanks, Arik. Really appreciate your insights on FB Insights. I don’t get to work as a FB page community manager as much as I would like, so this info is valuable as another way to drill down and keep up with the offerings.

    Definitely think post feedback and referrers are most important. I want to know what drove people to the page and also how they interacted with the conversations I or other fans started. Especially since research shows most interaction with a brand fan page takes place in the news feed. Beyond that, other most important insights would depend on the specific brands goals and objectives.

    Cheers, JG.

  12. davinabrewer says:

    Another thanks for the breakdown Arik. Good to look at the data, more important to understand it and figure out how to use that data to improve per the goals.

  13. dissertation says:

    well… something new about facebook…again… it still surprises me…

  14. tomrobbs says:

    Great article, I do appreciate your insights, this is a good metric to track cause it is great way to determine which posts might be encouraging fans to click on your actual page.