How to Measure Engagement using Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights for Brands provides a TON of information about what is happening on the brand’s page; to avoid wasting time looking at everything that’s available, a marketer  must pick and choose what matters. Many marketers use Facebook as a tool for generating consumer engagement with their brand, with the objective of building an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer. When the brand creates something that is meaningful to the brand’s fans, the fans are likely to share that content with others, which will expand the brand’s reach and deepen the impact of each interaction.

If your Facebook strategy focuses on consumer engagement, I recommend two levels of reporting: one is at the “page” level, and the second is at the “post” level.

For Page Level reporting, I suggest the following metrics. The report  should include columns for the current month and the prior month; the current version of Facebook Insights only goes back to July of 2011, so we are not yet able to add a third column for the same month in the previous year. Although daily and weekly numbers are available in the Insights reports, I focus on the “28 days” metrics to smooth out the daily fluctuations.

  • Lifetime total likes
  • New likes in the month (number and % growth)
  • New unlikes in the month (number and % change)
  • 28 day page engagement, which is the number of unique users who engaged with your page in any way during the past 28 days. This includes page “likes”, along with any clicks on content, any stories created through likes, comments, shares, and posts or recommendations created by users. I show this both as a number, and as a percentage of total lifetime likes.
  • 28 day total reach, with separate lines for organic, paid and viral. This is the number of unique users.
  • 28 day total impressions, with separate lines for organic, paid and viral. This is the total count, so may include multiple impressions for a given user.
    • I include a percentage for the viral reach and impressions number, so we can see if we are getting better at creating content that our fans want to share.

For Post Level reporting, the percentages are more important than the actual numbers, because we are trying to create posts that generate engagement. The Insights reports provided by Facebook don’t include percentages, so we download the file and add columns to get us to the data we need.  For each post, our spreadsheet includes the columns listed below, allowing us to sort the results in all sorts of ways. I’m not as interested in reach numbers here – the number of impressions and the interaction rates they generate is the focus.

  • Post date and time
  • Targeting used (if any)
  • Post copy
  • Category (we have several topic / content categories that we use in our editorial calendar; this column allows us to identify any variations in interactions by category)
  • Total impressions
  • % of viral impressions (as a percentage of total impressions, how many impressions were in a story generated by a friend)
  • % engaged users (as a percentage of total impressions, the number of people who click anywhere in the post)
  • % likes
  • % comments
  • % shares
  • % other clicks
  • % negative feedback

Analysis of these results over time can guide the development of individual posts. If I want to maximize the reach of a given post, I will focus on the sorts of posts that generate the most post likes or the highest number of engaged users. If my goal is to generate click-through to an app or other content, I will use these results to determine what tactics are best suited to encouraging click-through – and that is usually different from the tactics that will generate the highest number of likes.

Facebook Insights for your Brand

The platform that Facebook has developed for brands includes a standard set of Insights, visible to site administrators. There are four Insights tabs providing an overview of the level of interaction with the page and its content; additional data can be downloaded for deeper analysis. The brand’s objectives for the page will determine which of these metrics will be important. Here’s a rundown of what is available. 

The Insights Home tab provides top line stats: Total Likes, Total Friends of Fans, People Talking about This and Weekly Total Reach.

The insights tab also shows a trend graph for People Talking about This and Weekly Total Reach, along with bubbles that symbolize the number of posts made.  The “people talking about this” number represents the number of unique people that have created a “story” in the previous week; a “story” is any of the many way a person could interact with your page content, including liking the page, posting to the wall, interacting with a wall post, mentioning or tagging the page or responding to an event.

This page also shows a listing of recent posts and their performance: the number of engaged users who interacted with your post, the number of people “talking about” the post, and the “virality” of the post (the percentage of folks who interacted with it compared to the number who saw it). These statistics are accumulated for a 28 day period, and additional detail can be viewed by clicking on a result. You can spend a lot of time looking at all the data here; it is most efficient to download the file on a regularly scheduled time frame, and analyze the results in a way that is consistent with your brand’s objectives on Facebook.

The Likes tab provides additional details about the people who have chosen to like the page – all the data here is based on the data in a consumer’s profile: gender and age, the top countries, cities and languages represented. This tab also includes a chart that shows the “source” of recent likes, which is particularly useful when the brand is running an advertising campaign that is intended to increase the number of likes. When an ad campaign isn’t running, the common sources of new likes are Facebook recommendations, the Facebook page browser, and from the viral spread of fan activity; an example of sources is shown on the left. This tab is also a good place to keep an eye on the number of “unlikes” – if the graph spikes, it’s a sign of trouble!

The Reach tab helps the marketer understand the reach and frequency of the content: who is actually seeing the brand’s posts. As with the “likes” tab, you can see the gender, age and country, city and language of those who actually saw content from your page within their news feed. Facebook delivers content to each user’s news feed based on an algorithm; not every fan will see every post that is made by the brand. Reach can be improved by improving the rate at which consumers interact with the brand’s posts; as they become more valuable to the fan base, they will be delivered more frequently to a wider number of fans. This tab also allows the marketer to see the sources of reach(organic, paid or viral) and the frequency (how many times a unique person viewed the content).

The Reach tab also provides information about the number of page views and unique visitors, so you can judge whether visitors are going deeper into the page once they land there. You can see the number of visits to each tab within the brand page, and the top external referrals to the page.

The final table is the Talking about This tab, which provides the the gender, age and country, city and language of those who interacted with the brand’s page and created a “story” that posted to their own News Feed. By comparing the demographics of the people who were reached by the content with the demographics of the people who interacted with it, a marketer can determine if their content is resonating with the target consumer. By using the drop down menu available, you can see the relative strength of your own posts compared to posts by others in generating “talk” and viral reach among your fan base.

All of the data is just that – data – and it can be very easy to waste a lot of time looking at all the statistics and results. Each brand manager must define what they are seeking to accomplish with their Facebook page, and then determine which data points will provide the insights to determine whether those objectives are being met, and which tactics are most effective in generating the desired behaviors. Narrow down the important statistics and results, and create a monthly report that provides a consistent measure of results, and how they are changing over time.

Marketing to Millenials

I work in the Spirits industry, and our industry takes great pains to limit the marketing of our products to people of legal drinking age. Much of the segment know as Millennials (defined as individuals born between 1981 and 2000) is now part of our target market, so we need to ensure our current marketing strategies are relevant to this new group. This segment  is the largest generation since the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964).

A recent study by ComScore provides powerful insights to brands that want to build relationships with these consumers. Some good news, some bad news, some news that makes me realize the amazing opportunities we have before us. Unfortunately this study has segmented the data with an 18-34 cut rather than providing data specifically for consumers 21 and above, so the younger consumers may slightly skew the results. It is also important to note that only women were included in this study, as they are the primary purchasers of most consumer products.

  • These folks have never know life without the Internet or cell phones. 93% of these folks use the web and it is a normal part of everything they do.
  • Younger consumers are difficult to influence with advertising; this finding is consistent with studies of earlier generations, and implies that this is a result of life-stage rather than anything specific to the Millennial generation.
  • Influence of all advertising channels is lower for Millennials than for other age groups, but digital performs better than television in generating lift among this group.
    • the study doesn’t address it, but perhaps this means that we need to explore new ways of connecting with these consumers, beyond advertising
  • While Millennials have a lower level of immediate recall of advertising exposure, they are more likely than other groups to retain a lasting impression (they have higher rates of delayed recall).
  •  Millennials are highly engaged with the content that they choose to view; the study suggests that digital is a good choice for this audience because of its relatively higher ability to engage.

The study concludes that the creative approach is critical in connecting with these consumers (well, duh!):

  • Millennials are notorious for multitasking and short attention spans, so creative must have stopping power and draw the audience in
  • Millennials respond to a powerful and differentiating reason to buy as much as any other generation; the same core drivers of impactful creative strongly related to high ad effectiveness scores, so the creative for this generation doesn’t necessarily need to be different from for other generations.
  • The placement of advertising – the content in which it is embedded – has a significant impact on effectiveness.

You can download the full report here.