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Insights: Facebook's built-in analytics

Created: 27 Nov 2012 • Updated: 18 Jan 2013
Christy Loerzel's picture
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In my post titled, Social Networking Platforms Part 2: Facebook, I mentioned that I’d cover Facebook’s built-in analytics capabilities and external tools you can use to measure how you’re social media efforts are doing. And as promised, that’s what my next two posts will focus on.

Facebook’s built-in analytics, called Insights, are a great way to gauge your progress with this platform, both as you’re first getting started as well as long-term. And it’s free!

Insights on Insights

Insights give page administrators an Overview look at Total Likes, Friends of Fans, People Talking About This (total likes, shares, comments, etc. for your posts), Weekly Total Reach (number of  people who have seen content from your page) and total Followers as both total current numbers and as a percentage increase/decrease over the previous week. A graphical chart also gives you a visual representation of number of posts, People Talking About This and Weekly Total Reach over roughly the past month.

You can also see Reach, Engaged Users, People Talking About This and Virality figures for all recent posts or by individual types of posts (post, photo, link, etc.).

  • Reach shows the number of people who have seen a post.
  • Engaged users shows the number of people who clicked on your post.
  • People Talking About This and Virality show total likes, shares, comments, etc. as a number and percentage of Total Reach (virality).

These “insights” can help you estimate the types of posts and topics your audience is most likely to look at and socialize (share with others) and the best times of day to post.

Insights further let you drill down into demographic specifics about the people who liked your page, your reach and People Talking About This, including age, gender, geographic location and how they found your page (from a recommendation, your timeline, etc.). You can even pick a date-range for your drill down view, which is nice.

Another nice feature of “insights” is that it lets you export the data to a spreadsheet based on a specific date range, which makes comparing data over time and reporting it to your organization very easy.

I haven’t covered every single statistic available, but have tried to give you a sense of the basics available to you if you’re focusing exclusively on Facebook. Even if you’re managing a social media presence on multiple sites, insights can be a great quick way to see progress over time and make some quick judgments on what’s working and what isn’t. We’re still using it ourselves, even though we have other tools also.

Not only are insights insights are useful as well as user-friendly, the Facebook help center offers good information on Insights and there is both an online tour and a downloadable PDF available by clicking the sprocket on the right side of any insights page.

Likable Insights

As you’re using insights, if you’re not already, I’m sure you’ll discover statistics and features that you favor over others and that work best for your needs. As you do, I’d like know what you’re using and why it works best for you.

I think my favorite insight—because my team manages Symantec’s partner social media efforts globally in partnership with the regional teams—is the demographic breakdown by city, country and language. It not only helps us keep track of how we’re doing across the globe, but offers some sometimes surprising insights into where our “fans” and partners live and work.

Do you use Insights today? If not, what tool(s) are you using to measure your own social media efforts?