The New Facebook Insights

I spent a few hours yesterday getting to grips with the new and improved Facebook Insights. It’s been rolling out this week to Page admins and it includes a host of new metrics, aiming to give greater insight into how your Page and your content performs beyond your Page fans. The focus very much seems to be on ‘reach’ as well as discovering who is talking about you and what they like to share.

As with the previous incarnation of Facebook Insights, it’s far from a user-friendly experience navigating through their various temperamental graphs and figures, but once you start to get used to the new metrics and what they can offer, the advantages are clear to see. Here are a few initial thoughts:

Extending your reach

Instead of just seeing how many Fans your Page has gained and how those Likes have racked up over the past days, weeks and months, you now get given a number for your total potential reach, i.e. the cumulative number of all your Fan’s friends. This is the potential number of people your content (‘stories’) could reach if you were the greatest content provider ever and very single one of your Fans shared your content. Of course that’s never going to happen, but it’s still a fairly juicy, if mostly cosmetic stat to consider.

What’s much more useful is that Facebook have gone a step further and are now providing us with a number for exactly how many people your stories have reached; from your own Fans and beyond. This is extra handy when taken alongside the previously mentioned total potential reach figure, so you can basically see how well you’re doing at reaching those hundred of thousands of potentials Fans.

What Stories to tell?

Of course the real benefit here for clever marketers is being able to figure out exactly what sort of stories are resonating with your audience. With a detailed breakdown of how everything you post on you Page performs, the opportunity is there to really focus your content strategy and tailor your output to your audience, as after all, that’s what being a ‘social’ networker is all about. Do your fans love your promotional updates? Your fancy Instagram’d photos? Your latest poll/Q&A or you’re status update about the weather? – You can now find out exactly.

To pay or not to pay

One further useful stat is a new breakdown of how people are seeing your stories. Insights now provide you with figures as to how much of your content spread is organic, paid and viral. The ideal goal of course is to share stories that are so incredible and popular as to create a massive viral spread, but as difficult as that is, even a few shares here and there can snowball fairly quickly, and it doesn’t cost a penny.

You could look at this as Facebook dangling an encouraging carrot in front of Page owners to further help us become more ‘social’ marketers; focusing on engagement rather than mere clicks and impressions. This is a further move away from the generic Display-style ads Facebook have been running for years, and even these have become much more ‘social’ and engaging in the last year with interactive ads and sponsored stories.

Facebook, as ever, are encouraging the social; listen to your audience, listen to what they want from you, and duly provide it for them. Win them round with engaging and sharable content based on previous sharing behaviour and watch your stories spread across the social graph; to your Fans, to their friends and beyond. The new Insights make this more achievable and measureable than ever.

Facebook’s full breakdown of the new Insights can be found here.


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