Beyond Insights

Anyone who’s ever exported data from Facebook Insights can tell you: There’s a reason why companies hire people specifically to run their social media accounts.

There are so many metrics in Facebook Insights, the social network’s free analytics tool. They paint a detailed portrait of who’s consuming your company’s content and advertising – useful information for scaling your campaigns and growing your Facebook marketing.

Below are terms and definitions that will help you better understand the many data points inside your Facebook Insights report.

Downloading the Facebook Insights Report

How do you get the Facebook Insights report for your company’s Facebook Page?

Click the Insights tab of your page. Above your page summary dashboard in the top right corner, you’ll see a link to “Export Data.” Upon clicking the export link, a modal will pop up and give you several choices for the report it will produce. Below are some definitions to help you decide what kind of report you need.

Page Data // This report will give you an overview of all your page’s metrics over a customizable period.

This report is most valuable for understanding the demographics of those who have liked your page and how your posts are being consumed. It’s a great report for beginners, as you can use this to understand who your audience currently is and how they are using your Facebook content.

Post Data // This report will give you data on each post, so that you can drill into how individual posts and ads are performing. You can focus just on reach or just on engagement, or you can choose the legacy layout, which is defined below.

Video Data // This report will give you metrics for your videos: duration of views, auto-play versus click-to-play views, and cross-posted videos.

What’s Inside a Facebook Insights Report?

Once you’ve downloaded the report of your choice, you might become a little overwhelmed. These reports contain multiple pages, each with a drill-down of data from your Facebook page, posts and campaigns. Below are terms that you’ll see within those pages.

Unique // In Facebook Insights, this generally means “first-time.” This data point is counted once per Facebook user per period. Knowing the “unique” visitors compared to the returning visitors is helpful in analyzing how effective your content is in creating awareness and extending your reach.

Like Sources // This shows you where and when individuals liked your page. You can see if they were invited by an admin to like the page, if they liked the page through an ad, or if they liked your page while on the page itself.

Frequency Distribution // Frequency shows you what percentage of your audience saw your Facebook page’s content during the reporting period. Maybe 50 percent of your audience only viewed your content once, 32 percent viewed twice, 8 percent viewed three times, and so on.

Page Posts Frequency // This metric is like frequency distribution, only instead of all content from your page, it measures by individual posts only.

Talking About This // This measures “stories” or Facebook user interactions that end up in news feeds. When a person mentions your page in a post or when they check in to your page, this creates one “Talking About This.”

Interaction vs. Consumption // An interaction measures the number of unique Facebook users who click on your content. Consumption measures how many times your content was clicked in total.

Reach // The number of people who see your Facebook content. This will be measured by demographic—age, gender, job roles and more. This illustrates who is consuming your Facebook content, and where they’re doing so.

Lifetime // Lifetime indicates that the data is gathered over the entire life of the item being measured—from the time it was created or posted to now.

Paid // When you see this in the title, the data is being gathered from a sponsored post or ad.

Negative Feedback // Anytime a Facebook user reports your posts as spam, “hides” your posts, or unlikes your page, you receive one count of negative feedback. This is not limited to unique users.

How Do I Use Facebook Data, Though?

Now that you understand what your Insights report covers, you can start to see how your content overall is affecting the visibility of your Facebook page and the effectiveness of your content.

When you establish goals for your campaigns, you can measure exactly how and why you’re hitting or missing those goals—and you have real data to use in reports.

Let’s say your strategy is to blast your Facebook viewers with a high-frequency ad to boost short-term conversions, but you want to keep your negative feedback in a sweet spot.

Let’s say, out of every 15 consumptions, there are three negative feedbacks. That’s a 20 percent negative feedback-
consumption rate. You can monitor that rate to keep it in check, adjusting the frequency of your ad as needed.

Or you create an ad and it has incredible reach and interactions, but high negative feedback. You drill down into your Insights data and find that your frequency distribution for the period of the ad run is off—most of those who viewed it saw it more than six times and then finally reported it.

You could use your demographics to see who’s interacting with your content the most. Maybe it’s 60-year-old librarians living in Birmingham, Ala.—but there are only 10 of them, and they’re sick of seeing your ad. You could use Facebook’s controls to change the demographics of
the people receiving your ads, creating a wider audience and a lower frequency (and a lower risk of receiving negative feedback).

When you begin using video in your ads and on your page, you can measure the effectiveness of the video. How long do Facebook users watch it before they click your call-to-action? Are they watching the whole video but still not clicking? Was this video content cross-posted or unique, and how do the two types compare?

The options really are endless. These reports allow you to keep track of your data in Excel, or you can download a CSV file for the business intelligence (BI) tool you might be using. Over time, you’ll be able to see trends within your audience demographics and interactions, and you’ll be able to offer better, more engaging content that can create brand evangelists and real sales leads.