How to Use the New Facebook Insights

social media how toDo 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:

  • Benchmarking
  • 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

view insights in admin panel

Access the new Insights from within your admin panel.

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:

  • Overview
  • Page
  • Posts
  • People
insights overview tab

The Overview tab of Facebook Insights summarizes what's going on with your page.

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.

people engaged

Hover over People Engaged to get a definition of the data segment.

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).

post clicks

Facebook has added the Post Clicks stat to Insights.

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.

start end time slider

The new start and end date slider is a big improvement!

Benchmarking

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:

benchmark data

Benchmark data to compare average stats between periods.

Now, let’s look into each of the three sections within the Page tab.

Page Likes

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)
page tab

The Page tab of the new Insights is broken up into three parts.

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.

Post Reach

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:

page post reach

Post Reach allows you to quickly see how your audience reacts to your content.

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.

Page Visits

This is where you can quickly evaluate how users interact with content other than posts on your Facebook page.

page visits view

The Page Visits view of Insights highlights interaction with your content other than posts.

  • 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

All Posts

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.

post performance

The new Insights allow you to evaluate how your individual posts performed.

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.

filter view

Filter to view different Reach stats within Insights.

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.

filter stats

Easily filter within the new Insights to view different engagement stats.

Options include:

  • 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.

when your fans are online

You can now quickly evaluate what days and times your fans are online most.

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:

compare when fans online by time and day

Compare how often your fans are online by time and day of the week.

As you can see, the curve remains constant.

Best Post Types

This is a feature marketers have long asked for.

best post types

The new Facebook Insights will let you know the best post types based on response.

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.

Your Fans

This is where you can quickly get insight into who your fans are.

your fans

Use this view to better understand 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.

fans by demographic

Compare the percentage of a demographic within your fan base to that across Facebook.

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.

People Reached

The setup of this view is exactly like the Your Fans view. It’s broken down by gender, age, geography and language.

people you reach

View the people you reach by age, gender, location 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?

People Engaged

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!

people engaged with your content

View who engages with your content by gender, age, location and language.

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!

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About the Author, Jon Loomer

Jon Loomer trains and consults advanced Facebook marketers to maximize profits through the use of Facebook marketing. For help with mastering the Facebook metrics that matter, sign up for his Facebook Insights training course. Other posts by »




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  • Market With Mario

    The “when your fans are online feature” is great because each business audience is difference. We no longer have to go by broad stats. We KNOW when to post.

  • http://www.ftlcollective.com/ Miguel Bravo

    Agreed. Surprisingly, most of my clients’ fans are online the most after work 6pm EST and actually closer to 9pm. Quite different than the blanket statement that a lot of people latched on to blindly that lunch time was the “best” time.

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    You bet! It’s changed my strategy a bit. I used to post really early in the morning — between 6-8am. But based on that chart, I now push it out to 9-10 and have no issue posting up until 2pm or so.

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    Exactly! There is no universal “best time.” Hopefully others like you are looking at their charts to realize this.

  • John Seal

    I have really enjoyed the Insights page update. It helps you even more now to customize your message to your target audience.

  • Christina

    Great Article! My only beef is the fact that the “People Tab” no longer has a date range, and I cant analyze the data month over month…

  • James Brant

    Overall the new insights are great, only frustration for me is how Virality (Old School) and Engagment (New School) scores are hugely different. It’s absolutely right that a click counts as an engagement and no surprise that promoted posts seem to top the ranks now – where as promoting posts traditionally damaged virality scores – question now being what’s a good engagment score? And how does this compare to industry averages? I guess it’s a case of delving back through old reports and re-assessing what success looks like for this metric.

  • http://navneetsau.com/ NavNeet Sau

    Thank you Jon for sharing this awesome and deeply explained article. I like two and three features of new Facebook insights. First is “When your fans are online”. It gives very nice information about when your fans come to Facebook. Second is “Best post type” to let me know about most engaged content to share on Facebook fan page and third is geographical data. Thanks once for sharing your invaluable thoughts :)

  • Tonya

    Just to clarify then, if we post a blog article and they follow the link to read the whole article on our website – that would be shown in the Post clicks of engagement – correct? I am trying to get people to visit our website so that is what I am trying to track.

    Thank you so much for this detailed break down of the changes!

  • Sara

    Does the “when your fans are online” stat include both mobile and web-based users?

  • Lydia

    Very helpful!

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    Yes!

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    You need to track Link Clicks.

  • Noline

    Great article, thank you. I have been using the new insights, but missed many of the features that you explained here.

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Jon thank you for these great insights (no pun intended)! Analytics have become increasingly important in today’s online marketing world, so I’m glad to see that platforms like Facebook are constantly enhancing our ability to do so. Thanks for walking through this stuff – very good to know!

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    Thanks, John!

  • dreweastmead

    Awesome, in-depth article. My complaint about the new Insights is that there is no easy way to measure engagement, reach, etc. month to month, or week to week…

  • Bea Vanni

    I like the latest revision for stats and your post is outstanding on this stat tool. Thanks so much for your rendition.

    With that said, I must be missing something because I can’t say that the information under Posts is necessarily helpful because it doesn’t show the actual times of highest engagement unless you look at each post by time and try to extrapolate information from each one. Also, just reviewing one piece of info under Posts, it shows my audience is online from 9am-10pm in approximately the same numbers to include about the same number online on any one day maxing on Fridays. It would be more useful to see these stats over a month period and not one week. My audience maxes out at 9pm!

    I will use this information probably about as much as I have in the past. It’s nice to know some of the information in a better form, but for the info I really want, I still must find a way to take what’s there and extrapolate for more useful purposes.

  • Aline Kaplan

    This looks like a great thing to do. But when I click on the pull-down menu under my picture, the only options are Timeline Settings and Add a Badge. I don’t see anything that says Show or Insights or anything remotely similar. What am i missing?

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    The web Insights give a nice top-level look at things, Drew. But the exports are still where the real stuff is at.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Thanks for this comprehensive overview.

    Last night, I took a survey from Facebook about the *Insights feature. They asked for suggestions. Let’s see if they’ll listen to users.

  • Barb Horne

    I love what I am reading – I wonder why all the client pages we manage don’t have this yet? Do we know how long before it is rolled out to everyone’s pages?

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    Can’t tell you for sure, Barb. Part of a roll-out. More people are getting it every day!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Great questions, James. I find it interesting how we’re all working on a better understanding of engagement right now.

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  • http://nitishdhiman.com/ Nitish Dhiman

    What an Awesome post Jon !! Much appreciated effort you put in It is really helpful.

  • Paweł Piejko

    Thanks for great tips. With your article I finally decided to test out the Facebook insights feature, and indeed it’s much better than previous stats. It’s really cool to know when my fans are online, although it didn’t actually surprise me ;)

  • Jorge Sanchez Conejo

    Great article! It’s just a pity that Facebook doesn’t provide yet a user-friendly export data format i.e. pdf, the way we see in Google Analytics for example.

  • Vivek G Maudgalya

    Thanks Jon. It was informative. I think u have covered everything. :)

  • Helen Holland

    Great informative article Jon, It has really helped my understanding of the new insights Thanks.

  • Cameron Thompson

    Thanks for this, Jon. Useful guide.

    My pages have a drop-down in the ‘best page types’ that I can’t see in your screengrabs above: I can switch between ‘show all posts’ and ‘exclude targeted posts’.

    Any ideas how this works? The numbers it’s return don’t really make sense if it’s referring to, for example, location or language targeting, or even (paid) interest targeting.

  • http://www.hisocial.com/ Hisocial

    Excellent article, and thank you for practical screen shots! I particularly find two features most useful “when your fans are online” and “best post types”. I think those two will really make a difference when it comes to planning your posting and analyzing the results. In general, new insights are a great improvement.

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  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    Hi, Cameron! I didn’t have that feature at the top of this screen grab. But I just looked at mine, and you’re right. The numbers don’t make any sense. When I exclude targeted posts, my reach and engagement are HUGE.

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    Love it!

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    It’s even more a pity that admins refuse to use it, Jorge! So much valuable info in there.

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    Awesome, Pawel!

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  • Cameron Thompson

    Thanks Jon. That’s exactly what I’m seeing too, across the five or six pages I’ve checked. Scratching my head – be very interested to hear if you figure it out!

  • http://optioneerjm.blogspot.ca/ Jeannette Marshall

    Kind of ironic that the most prominent share button beside the article is Twitter and not Facebook since it is relevant to share with others on Facebook – don’t you think? It may be just my way of thinking ….

  • http://www.seomasterexpert.com/ Swapan Kumar

    Very useful post john. Thanks for sharing new and amazing Facebook insights. Really enjoyed your post. Thank you for the overview.

  • Allan Ang

    What is the definition of “POST CLICKS”.. Anyone? Thank you

  • dianne mae Catapang

    Great post! What I really like is the Post tab because it shows the time when people are online. We can greatly leverage the data provided to make sure we are posting the right content at the right time ^_^

  • sigurd

    Is there a possibility to see all the persons who like your page in one list? i realy need this list becouse i need to pick a person who won something our of all my “fans”. thanks in advance

  • PaulKem

    Does anyone know where to find the new “broken out” fields that once comprised the “Daily People Talking About This” field in the new Insights data extract?
    Also, what happened to Daily Page Stories in the new extract? I cannot find any documentation about this field.

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  • Tariq Refaat

    Hi How can I get all the information about my facebook page from the very beginning . It was started in April 2012 . The insight starts in October 2013 .. How can I get the past information?

  • Rasmus Johnsen

    Great post – I’ve read it before, I’ve just read it again, thank you! Now, I’m still puzzled by the “benchmark” feature allowing me to compare a selected period with the last period for almost any chart. How should I interpret “last period”? Dates not shown yet and therefor the feature isn’t fully comprehensible – or? Please enlighten me.

  • Brad

    I agree. I’d like to know this as well. When it says post clicks, is it also including the likes, comments and shares? Or is it minusing those out and including ONLY those clicks that didn’t result in a like, comment or share?

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  • http://anorak.co/ Rik Sellers

    Can you check whether the user is on PC or a Mobile Device?

  • Alexandra

    Hi Rik,
    Were you able to find the answer to your question? V interested in understanding whether it is possible to check whether content is being viewed on PC vs Mobile Device..
    Thanks,
    Alexandra

  • Michelle

    I have a question. I was looking at my data for likes and shares on the graph, but when I exported the data to an Excel spreadsheet, I got totally different numbers. Which one is more accurate – the graph or the spreadsheet, and why are they different? Help!!!

  • http://communityinspire.org/ Mike Hoang

    I have the same question. Did you ever get an answer?

  • Rasmus Johnsen

    Nope, haven’t found an answer yet, let me know if you find one.

  • Dan

    What does post click means? Is it a form of engagement, if post click but no share, likes, or comment? Appreciate your kind reply. Thanks.

  • http://communityinspire.org/ Mike Hoang

    Looking at it again, I think “this period” means the average of that whole time on the graph you’re looking at. For example, if the graph shows the last 30 days, “this period” is the last 30 days. And “the previous period” means that equivalent time, prior to the current period. For example, if the graph shows the last 30 days, the “the previous period” means day the last 60 days up until the last 30 days. That sounds like it makes sense?

  • Rasmus Johnsen

    That might be the case. I do not have a better idea. Thank you for sharing.

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  • Brega

    It seems that Facebook is deciding on its own to hide old post from the timeline of pages after some time has passed.

    Apparently if you look at your page’s activity log most posts are “allowed on page” but facebook may decide through whatever algorithm they use to not actually show a particular post on the page after some time has passed.

    This is very frustrating.

    If I didn’t want one of my past posts showing up on one of my pagse any longer I would hide it myself.

    As your posts get older facebook is deciding on its own to hide some of the post you make to the timeline of pages that you manage, and even if I wanted them to do that, which I don’t, their automated system makes lousy choices about which posts to hide.

    I went into the activity log and chose to “highlight” some of my page’s posts that facebook had hidden and they showed on the page again but as soon as I unhighlighted them they would again disappear.

    I went back and forth with highlighting and unhighlighting them several times and then in the activity log they their setting finally changed to “shown on page”, which is not a setting that you can choose as the user, and they now finally appear on the page again without having to be highlighted.

    What a PITA way to have to ensure that a post does not get hidden from your page!

    This is a horrible change to pages that I do not think most people are aware of yet. I feel it is a huge offense to our freedom of expression for facebook to decide what posts should or should not appear in the past history of our pages. These pages represent our businesses, brands, community associations, schools, etc… and we should decide on what posts appear on their timelines to represent them, not facebook.

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  • Ricky

    When I compare my reach between 2 “periods” What does that mean??? Does it simply split the dtes into 2 periods right down the middle? aka. If I went from Jan 1 to December 31 would the first period be until june and the 2nd period after june??







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