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.

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