social media how toAre you tracking your Facebook metrics?

Are you wondering what works best on your Facebook page?

In this article, you’ll discover how to find and interpret five valuable Facebook metrics that help measure the results of your Facebook marketing.

Why Facebook Metrics?

The typical Facebook marketer keeps close tabs on two main stats: Post Reach and Page Likes. While you should be conscious of these stats, they should not be central to measuring your marketing goals on Facebook.

It’s more important to understand the number of fans your posts reach, how many of those fans you engage and what types of clicks your posts receive.

While Facebook’s new and improved web Insights does share some great new information with page admins, you need to dig within the export files to find these useful stats.

Accessing the Exports

Before we get to the five metrics you should be checking, let’s cover some basics on how to find them.

From your Admin Panel, click on Insights.

insights in admin panel

Click on Insights within your Admin Panel to view your web Insights.

Now click the Export Data button at the top right.

export data button

Click the Export Data button to view documents of data that aren't shown in web Insights.

You’ll be given a dialog to tell Facebook what you want to export. It’s a tad more confusing right now because Facebook is rolling out the new exports associated with the new web Insights.

export page or post

Export either your page- or post-level data, choosing either the new or old reports.

Go ahead and select the New export. You can keep the date range as the default, or feel free to expand it as needed. Now, download both the page-level and post-level data—you’ll need to do each one separately.

#1: Fans Reached

I’m listing this metric first because so many marketers obsess over it, but they don’t know what it actually is.

By now, you undoubtedly understand that you won’t reach 100% of your fans with a single post. In fact, you may not even reach 15%.

The typical marketer looks at the total post reach or organic post reach numbers and thinks it represents total number of fans reached. Then they divide that number by total number of fans to get their percentage of fans reached.

Totally wrong!

You find the number of fans reached in your post-level export file in column T of the Key Metrics tab: Lifetime post reach by people who like your page.

fans reached

The number of fans reached with a post is found within the post-level export.

You determine the number of fans you reach organically by subtracting the total in column V for Lifetime paid reach of a post by people who like your page from column T.

#2: Engaged Fans

Of course, reaching your fans is only half the battle. The true measure of whether your content resonates with your audience is measured in part by engagement.

While it’s impossible to know how many users actually see your post, which is what reach attempts to measure, Facebook does tell you how many users click on your post.

This is the starting point for reach. You know that anyone who clicked on your post saw it. Beyond that, you can’t be sure of the level of engagement.

Find the number of people who have engaged with your post in column W within the Key Metrics tab: Lifetime people who have liked your page and engaged with your post.

number of fans engaged

View how many of your fans engaged with a post within the post-level export.

Now understand this isn’t the number of people who commented, liked or shared your post (although that is included in this number). An “engaged fan” is anyone who clicks anywhere within your post or generates a story about your post, even if it doesn’t result from a click.

The final five columns of the Key Metrics tab in the post-level export are all related to your fans:

  • Fan impressions
  • Fan reach
  • Paid fan impressions
  • Paid fan reach
  • Engaged fans

#3: Post Consumers/Consumptions

This is one of my favorite Facebook metrics, but it goes virtually unnoticed.

A “post consumer” is a user who clicks anywhere on your post, regardless of whether it results in a story. This would include things like:

  • Comment
  • Like
  • Share
  • Photo click
  • Link click
  • Video play
  • Expand description
  • Expand comments
  • Click profile of commenter

It’s any click at all. A “post consumption” is the click itself.

These totals are found in columns O and P of the Key Metrics tab in the post-level export.

frequency content clicked

Consumers and consumptions tell you how often your content is clicked.

Note that there is very little difference between a consumer and an engaged user. Both include any click. The only difference is that when a story is generated without a click, it’s included under engaged user, not consumer.

I prefer the consumer metric because Facebook breaks this stat down into types of consumptions. This isn’t the case with the engaged users metric.

#4: Link Clicks

This metric is one of the main reasons I like the consumers stat so much. Link clicks is a type of consumption.

The second and third tabs of the post-level export break down types of consumers and consumptions as follows:

  • Link clicks
  • Photo view
  • Video play
  • Other clicks (defined as any post click that isn’t a link click, photo view or video play)
    number of clicks

    View number of link clicks within Consumer and Consumption tabs of the post-level export.

One of your goals as a publisher is to drive traffic to your website. Therefore, the link clicks stat is extremely important to you.

If the goal of your post is to drive traffic and it receives 100 likes without a link click, was it successful? Probably not. If you ignore this stat, you don’t know that.

Consider the link click metric a starting point. You should always cross-reference traffic numbers by using URL parameters or link shorteners to track the traffic from your posts.

#5: Positive Feedback

Facebook has rolled out a new stat that is buried within the page-level export. It’s not really a new stat, but it has been renamed.

The page-level export is an enormous file with dozens of tabs. Six of the final seven tabs are dedicated to positive feedback:

  • Daily positive feedback by type (users)
  • Weekly positive feedback by type (users)
  • 28 days positive feedback by type (users)
  • Daily positive feedback by type (total count)
  • Weekly positive feedback by type (total count)
  • 28 days positive feedback by type (total count)

These tabs used to be called Talking About This and Stories. In other words, positive feedback is measured by the comments, likes or shares (described as “links” in the export) generated by users while interacting with your page.

view positive feedback

View positive feedback within the page-level export.

While you can no longer track which posts, for example, received the most comments, likes or shares, this is still a nice stat to track when you evaluate the overall impact you make with your Facebook page.

And it’s also nice to counter that dreaded “negative feedback” with a little positivity.

Your Turn

It goes without saying that these aren’t the only metrics and stats you should be tracking from within Facebook. Depending on your unique goals, you may use one or all of the metrics I’ve shared and you might track one or two more.

The important thing is that you bypass vanity stats and begin to track relevant metrics that produce meaningful data you can use to fine-tune your Facebook marketing.

What do you think? Do you use the data export feature in Insights? What stats do you think go largely unnoticed but have significant value? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Thank you Jon for sharing such great article about Facebook insights. I did not know before such a deep data metrics which is very important for facebook marketing. Thanks once again.

  • Awesome article once again Jon !! Thanks for sharing.

  • Falk W.

    Same for me, thanks Jon for the article.
    Learned something new today 🙂

  • Thanks for the post Jon, I exported some analytics data recently and while there was a lot of data to trawl through, it was difficult to know what each data type meant. I’ll still have to dig through it to see what insights are useful for ReferralCandy’s page, but the data types you highlighted serves as a good starting point.

    Just a question that I’m hoping you have an answer to – For the Lifetime Post Total Reach metric the explanation is “The number of people who saw your Page post.” By ‘seeing a post’, does it mean that it appeared on a timeline of a fan, or is it the more stringent definition that the fan had to have seen the post ‘above the fold’ / scrolled past it?

  • It merely needs an impression, wherever the user sees it, Zach. But you definitely need to scroll to the area where the post is.

  • Thanks for the answer, it makes sense.

    Sidenote: Was looking through your blog and it’s a treasure trove of information about Facebook. Thanks!

  • Jay

    You could also use Simply Measured… They have a ton of free tools that can totally change the way you look at social media. Check out their full analytics suite here:

  • Thanks, Zach!

  • Thank you for showing the export data feature. Never realized it was there. It gives you a better picture of who is hitting the site. I am still not 100% sold on Facebook for business.

  • Guest

    Awesome article! Just a quick note in #1: “You find the number of fans reached in your post-level export file in column T of the Key Metrics tab: Lifetime post reach by people who like your page.” — this is actually in Page-Level data (at least in my accounts).

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I use the export feature and pay attention to negative feedback. This way you can see which posts receive the most and least negative feedback. Posts that receive negative feedback can be tweaked. Always test and analyze.

  • Melanie

    Great article, Jon! I had never heard of a couple of these metrics before.

    Jon, is there any way to further break down these metrics by country? I’d like to know how many people I’m actually reaching from countries that target, and how those people are interacting with each post.

  • It actually is the Post export (fan-only data isn’t in the Page level export). Column T of the page level export is Organic Reach (this includes non-Fans).

  • Hi, Melanie! There is Reach data by geography and demographics.

  • I’d be careful with this, though, Amanda. You don’t know whether Fans or non-Fans provided that negative feedback. Chances are that your most popular posts will get the most negative feedback because they will reach the most non-Fans.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    True. But I like to see how I can improve posts, or not.

  • When I export the report on my Mac, it only gives me one tab – the engagement data you mention, Jon, isn’t on that first tab. I’ve learned that I have to export as a CSV file (the .xls file, when opened in Numbers, is a single column of a lot of data.) I’d love to hear from someone on a Mac that has figured out how to get ALL of the insights data! (I’ve googled and searched on FB with no luck.)

  • Strange, Terri. I have a Mac and have no issues.

  • Jon – can you walk me through how you do it? (Because I am obviously doing something wrong!)

    Are you downloading the .xls or the .csv? I’ve tried both double-clicking on the file and letting Numbers open it (default), and also tried from within Numbers, opening the file. The .xls file gives me something that looks like an xml file – the first line is: . Even though on my Desktop it recognizes it as a Microsoft Workbook. I’m on 10.7.5, maybe that’s the issue??

  • Agnès BALATRE

    Thanks for this article very interesting. Nevertheless as I loaded the reports, I see something that you didn’t mention.

    I would like to understand what represents exactly the “other clics”. They suppose to produce news but I would like to know where and if it’s necessary to look at them. Or the only metrics to study are like, share and comment ?

  • Jon – great info! Metrics are so important when it comes to figuring out whether or
    not your social media strategy is effective. Thank you for going through
    the top Facebook Insights!

  • Not sure where you’re seeing this. I don’t have any fan-only reach data within the page level export. Column T of the new Page Level export is Organic Reach.

  • isomesh

    We CAN track which post received how many comments/likes etc.

    Check in ‘Post Level’ a sheet named ‘Lifetime Talking About This…’

  • Guest

    I had the same thing. Try re-downloading it with “new export” and see if it matches.

  • This metric is going away in the new Insights. You have the option of exporting the old file now, but it’s going away.

  • I have recently created a business page on Facebook and was looking for ways to measure the result of the effort I have put in. These five Facebook metrics look amazing to me and now I have got the basic understanding to track the metrics and stats. The importance of my post’s reach to fans and what kind of clicks my posts receive are two new things I have learned by going through this article. Thanks for sharing the insights.

  • Great Article! I ponder that almost every Social Media Executives out here are probably not going through all these Facebook Metrics. For sure, those who read this article will get a clear idea about the unknown metrics of Facebook. I request everyone to take all these advantages of Facebook to have a clear idea about the engagement happening on their page. Thanks for sharing such a valuable article with us and hope Facebook and you reveal more things which help us.

  • Graeme Benge

    Great post Jon. Link clicks is a useful stat to report on when qualifying content marketing and getting to know what types of content resonates with an audience.

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  • Kirien Sangha

    Thanks, Jon. This is another great post.

    I’m still confused about one thing, when you say: “A “post consumption” is the click itself.”

    Is that a click on a link? A click on an image? Sorry if this is a stupid question, but it’s something I’m a little unsure about. Hope someone can explain.

    Thanks again.

  • Jo

    Thank you 🙂 very helpful information that has made reporting so much easier!

  • adrianq

    this kind of post is so helpful !.
    I have only 7 sheets in post level in the excel exported file ! I noted you mention some more, did facebook remove them recently?.
    Jon the most important to me, I would like to know what is the difference in negative feedback between the score card of a post and the data exported, the sheet negative comments, column k “xbutton_clicks”, this number doesn´t match, since in the score card there´s the 4 action that I know as negative (unlike, spam, hide post, hide all), what the xbutton number means ?

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  • AK

    Thanks for sharing. I have a question though. In column V, it says the number of people who LIKE your page and who saw your Page post (unique users). How is it that the total lifetime of people who Like Page (assuming it means Fans) and who saw our posts be more than the lifetime Likes (Total Fans) in that particular month (since i am looking at one month)?

  • I *finally* figured this out. I was getting a file in xml format when downloading as .xls. Which is fine for opening in Excel, but Numbers ’09 can’t do that. I needed to convert the .xls/xml to .xlsx – I used to do this. It’s free and fast.

    Hope this helps someone else!

  • luuk

    Jon, as a inter at a large company in the marketing department, I have been able to set up a new weekly FB analysis template. this document helped me a lot.
    Thnx a million!

  • Kathi Miller-Miller

    Jon, awesome article! The tips will be very useful as I work to promote my new book and website! PS-you may want to take a peek at the report again, I think FB may have changed some of the column headings on you ;(

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  • August

    Thank you very much. I was getting so confused, this has really helped.

  • FredL

    Two questions:

    1) What is counted in this metric? Any url you have in the post’s text content? I believe I read that it DOES NOT count clicks of the post image itself but what about clicking on ‘…more’ when the text it too long for the post? For this project success is measured by how many visits we get to our website so a click to the website is much more important than other clicks on a FB post.

    2) Where do you find the ‘Link Clicks’ stats that you show in #4 above. I see the overall/general stats but not the specifics that you show in your article #4 above.

  • Tim

    If given only a month’s worth of data (Apr.1.13 – Apr.30.13), how would I calculate the growth rate for the month of April? Which metric would I use. This is NOT Month over Month, I only have these dates at the page level and the post level. Thank You!

  • Here is what I don’t understand – and this is probably a reflection of my poor grasp of statistics: Why are there daily 28 day statistics? Is the 28 day total reach the total unique users for the 28 days preceding each date?

    If that is the case, could I get a rough estimate of my monthly reach by taking the data from the last day of each month, and charting that? Obviously most months have more than 28 days but if it is always the last 28 days prior to that date, then it should give you a good trend over a course of months (unless you run big promotions at the beginning of the month).

  • Sabelo Khanyile

    How do I graph this information.

  • Thanks Jon for this great article. There have been some changes in Facebook’s reporting since so I wonder if you may consider an update?

  • Catherine


    I’m trying to figure out the same exact answer – did anyone ever explain the “Weekly” and “28 Days” data points to you? So confusing if the data is given on a daily basis. I tried to ad the numbers for the 28th day of that month (working my way up to day 1, but obviously that number did not add up…). Thanks!

  • Kmendia

    Hi Jon! great article. Just a question regarding the usefulness of daily and weekly statistics.

    I have compared them and they don´t make sense to me. Daily numbers do not add up to weekly numbers.

    Should I care only about lifetime statistics? Thanks in advance!

  • Kmendia

    Hi Jon!

    I am really confused. I see 3 total reach metrics in the exports and I´m not sure wich one I should focus on.

    Is Lifetime Post Total Reach (Column H; post level export) included in the 28 eight days Total Reach (Column J; page level export) ?

    What is 28 Days Reach of page posts (Column AF; page level export) compared to those two?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Sadly not 🙁

  • Catherine Mendez

    Ugh! So annoying – I’ve asked this question to EVERYONE who will listen & no one, no one has an answer… why does FB provide data points with no explanation as to what they actually mean?! totally useless – especially now that we all must “pay to play” Why pay if you won’t be able to properly interpret the data results?!??!

  • Catherine Mendez

    Just found this article:

    Thinking that the 28 day metric refers to 28 day rolling performance for that exact day you’re looking at (i.e. A post that was published on day 1, the 28 day data point refers to that post’s performance 28 days later… What doesn’t make sense with this theory is, what about a post published on say (9/28) and you’re viewing analytics on 9/30 – I assume the 28 day data point will only be providing info for those 2 days?!?!