A guide to advanced Facebook Insights: Analytics and actions
In our recent post, we explained how Facebook’s Page Insights offers free, user-friendly data that can help you pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your Facebook marketing campaign.
Here, we’ll cover directions for accessing some of the more advanced data available through that program and offer suggestions for turning it into valuable actions for your small business.
Start by accessing your business Facebook page and clicking “Insights” at the top. The following descriptions describe some of the sections you can access and the information they include.
What it is: This section should help you understand whether you’re growing, and if so, where that growth is coming from. Use the date selector to check out your likes and unlikes on a given week, month or quarter; hover over the graph to narrow in on a particular date. Underneath is a breakdown of organic versus paid likes, as well as a report on sources of your likes — from your own page or ads, page suggestions, page likes or others’ pages. You can get a more detailed breakdown of likes sources, including the number driven in by mobile, by exporting your Facebook page-level data into Excel.
What to do with it: Determine whether you’re growing traffic and whether it’s coming primarily from organic (free) or from your Facebook ads (paid). Either way, you’ll want to take a look at which of your posts or ads are gleaning the most response. Is your audience responding to emotion? Humor? The chance to save money? Timeliness? Helpful information about your industry? Compelling graphics? Celebrity endorsements? Videos? Identify trends so you can adjust future posts and ads to prompt better reactions and increase conversions.
If your traffic isn’t growing, viewers either dislike your ads and content or they’re simply not aware of them. There’s a whole slew of actions you can take to improve your posts or to drive more traffic to your social media. The Facebook Help Center and industry news site Social Media Examiner both offer useful suggestions for boosting and promoting posts (for a fee) to increase engagement.
The more detailed information about where your likes come from may or may not be useful to you depending on the complexity of your marketing efforts. If you’ve invested in an app that encourages likes by routing to Facebook, for example, this section can inform on whether it’s doing its job.
What it is: This section reflects how many people you’re reaching beyond those who initially see your posts on your Facebook page, and whether and how those people are engaging with your posts.
What to do with it: As with the likes tab, this portion helps you determine whether viewers are responding to and engaged with your posts, and narrows down the factors at play. You can figure out whether paying to boost your posts is driving your organic reach up or down; which posts are receiving positive versus negative engagement; and whether people were exposed to your messages from your posts, other people’s posts, page ads, mentions and check-ins. If you’re getting a lot of attention from nonorganic traffic, your paid ads are probably doing their job; if not, you may wish to apply better strategy. The better you target your audience, the higher likelihood your ads will perform at an affordable cost.
What it is: Arguably the most informative part of Facebook’s Page Insights section, this tab informs you which aspects of your Facebook page, including your timeline, info and photos tabs, are getting the most attention. You can easily observe specific actions taken, including mentions, posts, check-ins and purchases. Learn which other websites or “external referrers” are directing others to your page, and take note of which of your posts are inciting others to talk about them.
What to do with it: Take note of drivers to your page and how you might optimize them in the future. Also be aware that more people talking about your posts may lead to the need for more focused management of your page so you can better respond to questions and comments.
What it is: This section reflects data on your most recent posts, including the beginning of the copy, when they were posted, the type of post, whether they were targeted and promoted, their reach and their engagement.
What to do with it: Drill down to what constitutes your best- and worst-performing content and form strategy as to how to improve its future quality and opportunity to “go viral.” When in doubt about what kinds of content to post, you might check out what your competitors are doing and how their viewers are responding. (The “Pages to watch” section of Page Insights might help with that.) How long are their posts? Which hashtags do they employ? Do their posts seem promotional? Are they using better imagery than you? In some cases, your takeaway may be that you need to spend less time posting and more time creating or finding engaging content. In other cases, you may need to tweak your scheduling, since audience demographics often determine when viewers are most likely to be online.
After you have understood and mastered all these techniques within Facebook’s dashboard — and are able to create actionable items from that data — you may want to start creating exported reports. Do that by clicking “Overview” at the left-hand side of the Insights page, then “Export data” on the top right. Some benefits:
- Increased length of scope: Exported reports allow the analyst to customize date ranges of the data pulled to look at a longer scope of time. Facebook only allows 90-day exports at a time, so more than one export may be necessary.
- Varied comparisons: Longer length of scope also allows you to overlay data to look at month-over-month, quarter-over-quarter or even year-over-year trends.
- Custom reports: Access to the raw data allows you to manipulate the data in new ways, helping create valuable business reports beyond the default reports seen on the dashboard.
- Branded colors and reports: Change the formatting of your graphs to fit into your small business brand for presentations.
The more hard facts you have about your Facebook marketing campaign, the better you can conserve the time and money spent in making it happen. Take the time to understand how optimizing different elements of a campaign can work in your business’s favor.
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Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in April 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and relevance.