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The Metrics that Matter on Facebook and How you can Use Them

The Metrics that Matter on Facebook and How you can Use Them

One of the best things about Facebook is all the metrics we can access through insights or third-party analytics providers. For brands, it's a veritable data buffet! However, there are so many metrics that it's hard to know which ones to pay attention to. Here are some tips on the metrics that should really matter to brands on Facebook and how you can use them.

Page-level metrics

First, it's important to distinguish between page-level metrics and post-level metrics. The success of your Facebook campaigns depends on both. At the page level, you need to understand the size of your Facebook footprint and make sure it's growing over time. The rate of that growth depends on your specific goals, so first get to know your normal growth rates, then decide if you need to increase those to meet your goals.

Facebook's main page-level metrics are page reach and fans. Page reach measures the total unique audience for all your page and post content. It reflects the maximum audience size for your owned content, and grows through shares and stories spread across your fans' News Feeds. Your fans count is the number of different people who have liked your page - your followers.

Post-level metrics

At the post level, there are several important metrics to measure to discover what content works well and what you can be doing more, including reach and a few types of engagement. Compare these metrics across individual posts, as well as across post types to learn if there are different types of content that work better than others.

First, monitor individual post reach over time. Identify how much reach you can expect from a typical post, and be able to identify posts that perform above or below that figure. Pay attention to your high-reach posts, as well as your low-reach ones. You may learn more from your lower performing content than your top content.

Beyond post reach, you definitely want to understand engagement with your content. Post engagement includes likes, shares and clickthroughs. Likes represent a simple acknowledgement of a post; they're nice, but don't do much to amplify or deepen engagement with your content. But shares are one of the most coveted engagement actions on Facebook. A share means someone liked your content enough to pass on to their friends. Plus, it amplifies your post to a wider audience beyond your own fans. Finally, click-throughs on posts with links in them show you're moving your audience from your Facebook page to your website or blog, furthering their engagement with your brand.

Next, look at where the engagement is coming from. Is it direct engagement from your fans (or those you're advertising to), or is it downstream engagement from amplified content? Knowing how much amplified engagement your content gets can help you measure spread and uncover inflection points.

Finally, keep an eye on negative engagement actions. Hiding posts, unliking a page and marking a post as spam are all indicators - of varying severity - that your audience doesn't like what you're doing. It's totally normal to see a few of these on any post, but if you see an increasing number or notice a post that gets more than normal, dig deeper. What are you doing differently? In general, negative engagement should represent only a tiny percentage of your overall fan engagement. If you receive negative engagement from more than 0.05% of your fans, something could be wrong.

Tracking these metrics on Facebook will help you monitor page growth and optimise your content. They're a great place to start with Facebook analytics for your brand.

Jenn Deering Davis

Jenn Deering Davis

Jenn Deering Davis is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Union Metrics, the company behind TweetReach and several other social media analytics products. She holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication and Technology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her academic research focuses on how people interact with and through communication technologies like mobile phones and social new media, specifically in organizational contexts. She has 15 years of industry and academic experience in communication, spending her career turning data into stories and helping stakeholders better understand new technology. Prior to co-founding Union Metrics, Jenn worked at the University of Texas, North Carolina State University, All Kinds of Minds and UPS.

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