Facebook Insights. Do they work? Should we use them?

One of the easiest (give or take) ways to see how your Facebook posts are doing is to monitor your insights.

Over the past couple of days I have been working with Facebook insights to get an idea of how the audience between the 9 library pages within the SCCL district responds to posts. The main way to look at this is to view both interaction & reach of individual posts.

First I started out viewing just  the reach factor for each post, I focused on organic reach and total reach audience. What I found was posts with photos get the most “circulation” or reach factor. I wrote about the top 6 ways to get engagement on your Facebook page here, photos was #1. This was no surprise.

There are different types of “Reach” audiences that Facebook Insight take into count: (Read more about this here)

Organic Impressions:
These come from people seeing your content in their Newsfeed or the Ticker.  When you publish a new photo or status update to your Page’s wall and someone sees it, this number goes up. This is by far the most common way you’ll reach your Fans and their friends.

Viral Impressions
Viral Impressions are impressions on “stories” that get created when someone engages with your Page somehow.  Viral Stories might look like “David Turner liked PageLever’s comment”. There are 4 types of Viral Impressions: Fan, User Post, Page Post and Mention.

Paid Impressions:
Sponsored stories and other ad units are counted in here. Having the ability to see how your paid content is working alongside your owned content is crucial.

I focused primarily on Organic & Viral impressions. 

Then I looked at the engagement of each post by viewing the “engaged users” & the “talking about this” count. Facebook explains these in the following way: (Read more from PageLever here)

Engaged Users: Engaged Users is the number of individual people who have engaged with your Page, regardless if the engagement created a Story or not. 

Talking about this: People Talking About This (or PTAT) is the number of individual people who have engaged with your Page in a way that it created a “Story” that went out into the Newsfeed.

Why both? To get the big picture I needed more than one factor of “viewing”. Many articles have discussed the “error” in the reach count on Facebook. One article (which I cannot find again unfortunately) explained the reach count similar to that our the billboard. 100,000 cars may drive by this billboard but that doesn’t mean all 100,000 people saw it. The reach count tells us the traffic, was it rush hour or was it 2am? Looking at all these factors helps show not only what posts are getting the most traffic, but which ones are catching your readers attention AND which ones are engaging them enough to create a reaction. 

Although Facebook Insights have helped bring data we didn’t before consider, its complex. You cannot just look at a post and say, “Well we reached 6000 people with a photo post so we should post more photos”.  To get an accurate read you must consider where you reaches came from, did the post engage your users & did they “like” it enough to share? Once you have this data you can accurately (as accurate as Facebook insights allow) see which posts your audience feed off of. (Sounds Zombie-ish…)

Its complex. To get a brief definition of 60+ Facebook Insight terms check out this article