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Facebook Insights – Are You Measuring Your Success Efficiently?

Analytics are essential to measuring the success of your marketing efforts, especially on social media.  Several social media channels have now offer measurements and analytics to see exactly what your efforts are generating.  The first to jump on this bandwagon was Facebook, with its Insights feature on business pages. The Insights feature of your company’s Facebook page can be an invaluable tool to help you measure the effectiveness of your social media campaign.  If you don’t have an accurate understanding of what the Insights data represents, however, you could report extremely inaccurate statistics on your quarterly or monthly reports.  The “Reach” and “People Talking About This” sections of Facebook Insights can be especially deceiving, since the statistics shown in these sections use unique metrics.  This means that the weekly and monthly statistical totals displayed are not simply sums of the daily totals.
To put this into perspective, let’s say that there were 100 people talking about your page for each day of February.  Chances are that the number of people talking about your page for the entire month of February will not add up to 2,800 – the actual number will be much lower.  The reason for this is that the 2,800 stories about your page in February most likely did not come 2,800 unique people.  The same metrics apply to Reach, the number of people who have seen content from your page on their Facebook feeds.
One unfortunate aspect of Facebook Insights is that data can only be displayed in daily, 7-day, or 28-day time periods.  This could make creating a quarterly or monthly report based on these statistics particularly difficult.  Nathan Linnel, a writer for Search Engine Watchsuggests four options for dealing with this limitation of the Insights feature, though he admits none of them are completely ideal.
  • Option 1:  Assuming you are reporting over a monthly period, use the 28-day value working forward from the last day of the month.  While this method omits data from the first two to three days of the month, it can be advantageous in that it provides consistent, accurate data.
  • Option 2:  Again, in the case of a monthly reporting period, use data from the last 28 days of the month and make an attempt to estimate data for the first two or three days.  This method will allow you to calculate values that represent a full month better than option 1 but to some degree of inaccuracy, given the estimated data of the first few days.
  • Option 3:  Use only Facebook Insights that use non-unique metrics when reporting at the page level.  This means that you would use Impressions and Stories instead of Reach and People Talking About This, respectively.  You can use unique metrics for any reporting done at the Post level, since Post level metrics are measured using lifetime values.
  • Option 4: Add up all the daily values for the months while providing a disclaimer that the monthly Reach and People Talking About This values are highly inaccurate (however, Linnel advises against using this option).
None of these solutions are perfect, but they should at least give you some starting points for using Facebook Insights data to adequately meet your reporting needs.
While we understand that no analytics system is perfect, we always advocate the use of metrics and realistic goal-setting to determine the worth of all of your marketing campaigns, even those on social media.  inSegment’s Social Media Marketing services are fully measurable, so that our clients know exactly what their ROI is.  And yes, we use Facebook Insights to measure our own page’s success!
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This entry was posted on March 28, 2013 by in Internet Marketing and tagged , .
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