The Ultimate Guide to Cracking Facebook Insights

Andrew Birkitt

Lead Technical Engineer
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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Many of us who use Facebook Pages for either business or personal use have access to a powerful tool that allows us a brilliant understanding of just how the page is performing, but do we truly understand all the information being provided? By the end of this post I am confident that every reader will be much better equipped for cracking Facebook Insights.
Facebook has for a long time provided metrics to assist Page Admins but almost a year ago now it introduced us to a new version of Insights that would replace the PTAT (People Talking about This) with much more detailed information.
There is one small proviso, in order to gain access to this valuable information you need to have a minimum of 30 followers liking your page.
Accessing Facebook Insights
To start viewing all of the available insights simply click the link at the top left of your Facebook Page shown in the image below:
Insights Access
Once you have accessed the insights area you will be viewing a screen similar to the one shown in the image below, you will see that Insights is broken down into six different sections Overview, Likes, Reach, Visits, Posts and People and we will discuss these individual sections in more detail as we work through this post.
Why are Insights so Important
Before we take a look at what the individual sections can teach us let’s just take a little while to discuss why exactly Insights are such a big deal.
As with all forms of marketing the key to understanding the success of what you are doing is measurability, so understanding all the different elements is paramount in ensuring that you can create the perfect content strategy and social media strategy for your business.
Facebook Insights can help you to measure the effectiveness of your content
–          Who likes, shares and comments on the posts you create
–          What themes and angles of what you produce are the most effective
–          What styles of post produce the best results (video, image, link etc.)
Using sections like the ‘Pages to Watch’ section can help you to perform aspects of Competitor Research.
They also allow you to analyse external sources and view how many people click on a call to action, after all you may have a massive audience but as with all audiences there will almost certainly be a section of them that will be more inclined to invest in your product or service. Facebook Insights will help you to cut through the noise and target your potential buyers more accurately.
So without further ado let’s get stuck in…
As the name suggests this first area is designed to give you a quick overview of just how well your page is performing and it discusses and compares various metrics over a seven day period with that of the previous seven days. It will show the total number of page likes and the percentage increase from the previous week and the number of new page likes over the last seven days with a percentage increase from that of the previous week.
Post Reach looks at the total reach with a percentage increase on that of the previous week and the post reach with a percentage increase on that of the previous week.
Engagement looks at the various stats for the number of people engaged with a percentage increase on the previous week and then a breakdown of the types of engagement, likes, comments, shares and post clicks.
Facebook Insights Most Recent Posts
The next section as seen above shows an overview of how the 5 most recent posts have performed showing the date published, the actual post, its type, your targeting, reach and engagement. The Insights overview page now also includes a section called Pages to Watch as shown below.
Facebook Insights Pages to Watch
This section allows you to select 5 other pages that you deem similar to your own and then shows you comparisons on how well these pages are performing compared to your own. These comparisons include the number of Total Page Likes, New Page Likes as a percentage increase from the previous week, the number of posts that each page has made in this week and the amount of engagement of each page. Finally, there is a last section that will make recommendations of other pages to watch if you have not selected 5 pages already. (You will need at least 100 followers to be able to access this feature).
Insights in More Detail
One of the first things that really stands out about the new insights is the ability to look at individual sections of performance, but as well as being broken down into 5 main sections the new insights gives the ability to drill down into each of these sections in even more detail.
‘Likes’ Section
Likes has always been a controversial statistic on Facebook and it has always been the one figure that most people tend to treat as the most important. In a similar way that ‘rankings’ can become too important ‘likes’ have to be taken as part of the overall picture and not as an individual important statistic, having loads of likes is all well and good but without engagement they just paint a false picture.
This section analyses the number of people who have liked your page and any changes that have occurred over the past period (30 days). It also looks at the number of likes that have come from different sources such as paid and organic.
Facebook Insights Likes
The data here can be viewed over specific periods by selecting a start and end date in the top right hand corner in much the same way as you would in many other packages. There are also pre-set periods for one week, one month and a quarter available at the click of a link ‘1W, 1M, 1Q’ in the same area. You can also see information for an individual day by hovering over the graphs.
The first graph (above) shows the number of total page likes and any increases or decreases over the period, clicking the ‘Total Page Likes’ link to the right of this graph will drill down further into the stats and show your average likes for this period compared to the previous period.
The next section is the ‘Net Likes: What Changed’ and looks at the number of likes gained or lost over the period, (likes – unlikes = net likes). This section also shows the number of likes that have been gained from organic and paid methods (ie likes from ad campaigns designed to increase the number of likes to your page). As with the total number of likes you can also drill down into this graph on each element ‘Unlikes, Organic Likes and Paid Likes’ and see the average numbers for both this period and the previous period.
Facebook Insights Net Likes
The final section details where your page likes have actually come from, the number of times your Page was liked broken down by where it happened, ‘On Your Page, Ads and Sponsored Stories, Post by Others, API and Others’ and again this can be drilled into to show the averages from this period and the previous one.
Facebook Insights Where Your Page Likes Come From
This last section of the likes area is the most useful as it enables you to determine which areas are working for you and what you should keep investing your time in.
‘Reach’ Section
Some people still advocate that Reach is probably the most important factor for understanding the popularity of your page and just how well your marketing is working, the figure actually measures the number of individuals that have seen any piece of content delivered by your page.
Jon Loomer a leading Facebook marketer defines Reach in his Facebook Insights Glossary Infographic as ‘The number of unique users who were served at least one impression of your content via News Feed, Ticker, Timeline or an Ad’.
Facebook Insights Post Reach
As with other screens already discussed you can drill down into the post reach to discover both organic and paid reach, once again this will show you the average for the current and last periods.
Further metrics in this section show the number of likes, comments and shares that have been received by the page in the given period and once again this can be broken down to show the averages as with previous charts.
Facebook Insights Likes Comments and Shares
The next chart in the reach section will give you an insight into whether the page is failing in any aspects and covers any content that has been hidden or reported as spam as well as the numbers of people that have unliked your page, all of which can decrease the number of people that your posts can reach.
The final chart in this section shows, in Facebooks own words, ‘The number of people who were served any activity from your Page including posts, posts by other people, Page like ads, mentions and checkins.’
Now, I think I have given you plenty to be getting on with. The tools provided by Facebook are a world away from the weekly insights they used to send that simply showed whether likes were up or down and how much interaction your posts were getting. This is a very valuable and very accessible analytics tool that you need to be drilling into on a weekly basis. See how far you get with what I have gone into above and I will put together a sequel as we are really only half way through what Facebook Insights can do! To be continued…

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