How to Use the New Facebook Insights
Do you rely on Facebook Insights to track the performance of your Facebook page?
Are you wondering how the new Insights can help you refine your Facebook activities?
In this article, I’ll give you a tour of the new Facebook Insights and the data you’ll find there, so you’re better equipped to support your marketing goals with Facebook.
What’s New With Facebook Insights?
Facebook Insights has long been valued by successful marketers as a source of data that can help drive strategic marketing decisions. Until recently, the bulk of that valuable data was accessible only through the export of clumsy, difficult-to-navigate spreadsheet files that often buried key metrics.
Thankfully, Facebook has refreshed the web version of Insights to bring you clear data sets that are presented in easier-to-navigate graphs that are highly dynamic and customizable. New features include:
- Easy start and end date slider
- When your fans are online feature
- Best post types feature
- Comparisons vs. general Facebook audience
- Advanced filtering
- Addition of Post Clicks stat
Keep reading to discover more…
Access the New Insights
From your admin panel, the Insights box is located next to the Get More Likes box. If it looks like the example above, you have the new Insights. Click on See All to launch the Overview.
If it looks like it used to a month or more back, you don’t have it yet. Patience! You’ll get it soon. In the meantime, here’s what you can expect…
Explore the New Overview Tab
Immediately upon arriving at the new Insights, you’ll get an updated Overview screen. This is Facebook’s way of showing you as much data as they can at one time.
The new Insights are broken down into the following tabbed sections:
You’ll recall the old Insights had an Overview screen as well. Now, new graphs represent snapshots of your Page Likes growth, Post Reach and Engagement. The most recent posts are still found at the bottom of the screen.
If you aren’t sure what a data set refers to, hover over the title and a definition will pop up.
The definition of an Engaged User has long been confusing to page admins. Many have incorrectly assumed that an engaged user is anyone who likes, comments on or shares a post. In reality, it includes any click at all.
Facebook Insights now clarifies this and breaks the stat into Post Clicks (see below) and Comments, Likes and Shares only (we’ll see this later).
With Post Clicks, Facebook now shows you how many times a post receives “stealth clicks”—clicks that don’t result in a story. Very helpful!
Dig Into the Page Tab
This tab is broken up into three parts:
- Page Likes
- Post Reach
- Page Visits
Before we dig into each of those sections, let’s take a look at two features that will immediately grab your attention.
Start and End Date Slider
Before, choosing a start and end date for graphs and reports was a clumsy process consisting of multiple drop-down menus. Now, you simply grab and drag a slider to change what date range is represented in your graphs.
Another welcome change is the ability to benchmark your data to compare the performance of your page between time periods.
Here’s an example showing the increase in average page likes from last period to this period:
Now, let’s look into each of the three sections within the Page tab.
This section is broken out into three graphs:
- Total Page Likes Over Time
- Net Likes: What Changed (Unlikes, Organic Likes, Paid Likes, Net Likes)
- Where Your Page Likes Came From (On Your Page, Page Suggestions, Mobile, Your Posts, Others)
These graphs help you understand the trending growth of your page and where your growth is coming from.
For example, within the Where Your Page Likes Came From graph, I can see that a spike was the result of an abnormally high number of likes from Page Suggestions.
This addition allows you to easily compare:
- Post Reach
- Likes, Comments and Shares
- Hide, Report as Spam and Unlikes
- Total Reach
Take a look at the following example:
Notice that my Hide Post stat spiked at the beginning of the period measured. Some might see this as a sign I did something wrong that I need to avoid.
But the spike also corresponds with a spike in Likes, Comments and Shares, meaning more people saw my content than normal—and more non-fans than normal.
Additionally, my Paid Reach was not at a high rate during this period of time. This could be another explanation for a rise in negative feedback.
Because of these graphs, I’m able to quickly conclude that a rise in negative feedback can be attributed to positive reaction from my fans, not from anything else that I should avoid.
This is where you can quickly evaluate how users interact with content other than posts on your Facebook page.
- The Page and Tab Visits graph shows how visits to my timeline and most popular tabs have trended during the selected period.
- The Other Page Activity graph highlights Mentions, Posts by Other people, Checkins and Offers purchased.
- The External Referrers graph gives me a better idea of where the traffic to my page is coming from and shows the biggest referrers are my site, my YouTube videos, Google and Social Media Examiner.
Drill Down Into Content Consumption With Posts Tab
Now it’s time for some of my favorite enhancements to the new Insights.
The Posts tab is broken apart into the following sections:
- All Posts
- When Your Fans Are Online
- Best Post Types
This will look largely familiar to you. It’s a similar format as before, but with some new graphics, some color scheme refreshing and new filtering options.
My favorite change here is the ability to select different Reach and Engagement metrics.
You can filter Reach by Total Reach, Organic vs. Paid and Fans vs. Non-Fans.
The last one may be the most important. Until now, Fans-only stats had to be found entirely within the exports. Which is why most admins: 1) didn’t know that stat existed or 2) incorrectly assumed other stats like “Organic” meant “Fans-only.”
You can also adjust which Engagement metrics you view.
- Post Clicks / Likes, Comments & Shares
- Likes / Comments / Shares
- Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, Unlike
- Engagement Rate
As mentioned earlier, most marketers were confused by the definition of Engaged User. It includes likes, comments and shares, but it also includes other clicks. The first Post Clicks filter breaks that down.
And if the types of engagement you care about most result in stories, you can easily view which posts received the most likes, comments and shares.
These are all items that until now were either mysterious or left only to those who braved the exports.
When Your Fans Are Online
WHOA… This is a big one!
This is a completely new data alert here and is not something that was previously made available within the exports in any form.
This incredibly valuable graph allows you to quickly determine:
- How many of your fans were online each day of the past week
- The average number of your fans who saw any posts per hour
Note this isn’t related to your content, but any content. This is important because it isn’t influenced by when you post, the quality of your post, affinity or anything else. You want to know when your fans are online, and this shows it!
This graph covers the most recent week only, so it’s a sliding scale. You shouldn’t necessarily make big changes based on one week, but keep a close eye on this report.
I’ve started posting much more at 10am, which is a time I previously neglected. I also find it interesting that Monday is the day when the fewest of my fans are online, spiking on Wednesday through Saturday. Not at all what I’d expected!
If you select an individual day, you can also see if there’s any variation in the Times curve for that day. Here is Thursday for me:
As you can see, the curve remains constant.
Best Post Types
This is a feature marketers have long asked for.
You can quickly determine which of your post types generate the highest Reach and Average Engagement (split up between Post Clicks and Likes, Comments & Shares).
Be very careful in the way you react to this.
Do status updates generate the highest Reach for me? Yep. But I won’t go on a status updates binge as a result.
Do photos generate the second highest Reach and highest Post Clicks for me? Yep. But that doesn’t mean photos will be my main content choice either.
It all depends on your goals. What’s your desired action? While Reach, Post Clicks, Likes, Comments & Shares are all nice—and all, to varying degrees, help your virality—they aren’t the main focus of my strategy.
My main goal is to get link clicks. I need traffic to my website. And this report does not respond directly to this metric (it’s still buried in the Post Level Export).
Depending on what your goals are, it may tell you everything you need to know. But be careful!
Meet Your Community on the People Tab
This view has actually gone largely unchanged from the old version, but there are some nice little enhancements.
The People tab is broken apart into three different sections:
- Your Fans
- People Reached
- People Engaged
The purpose is to show you the demographics of people (age, gender and location) who like your page, are reached by your content and engage with your content.
This is where you can quickly get insight into who your fans are.
My fans are pretty much split 50/50 between men and women. My most represented group is men ages 25-34, which makes up 18% of my audience.
If you hover over any of those segments, Facebook gives you a little more info.
As you can see, men ages 25-34 are more heavily represented within my audience (17.7%) than across Facebook as a whole (14.8%).
My geographical information:
- Most represented country is the US
- Most represented city is London
- Most represented language is English (US)
This is good to know. But to be honest, I’m even more interested in knowing who I’m reaching and whose engaging.
The setup of this view is exactly like the Your Fans view. It’s broken down by gender, age, geography and language.
Not too surprisingly, the male/female split is still about 50/50. Once again, men ages 25-34 make up the audience I reach most.
Nothing associated with geography and language has changed significantly.
So what about the people who engage?
This is even more heavily slanted toward men (now 53%) and men ages 25-34 (now 21%). So these are the people who not only make up my fan base, but are reached and engaged!
Understand this will not always be the case. You should take a close look at these to see your own results.
If you bought fans, expect extremely different results between the Your Fans view and People Engaged (unless you get a lot of spam comments, I guess).
If you regularly use the Boost Post button to expand the reach of your posts, you should also expect this representation will be different (of course, I’d recommend you use Power Editor to promote your posts in order to avoid this).
How About You?
The new Facebook Insights make it easier for you to find and interpret data that will let you make important decisions about your Facebook marketing. What you learn can help you adjust the content you post to Facebook and when you publish it so you reach your target audience more effectively.
What do you think? What features are you most looking forward to in the new Insights? Have any interesting tidbits of data affected your marketing strategy? Let me know in the comments below!