Facebook Insights — My Favorite KPIs (as of Dec-2011)

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This is the last post in an informal 3-part series covering what Mike Amer, a fellow analyst at Resource Interactive, and I have arrived at when it comes to understanding and using the latest release of Facebook Insights. In this post, I’ll cover what metrics we’re generally gravitating towards as effective ways to measure the performance of a Facebook page.

As many, many, many people pointed out before the latest update to Facebook Insights, Page Likes (or “fan count”), while easy to measure, is not a particularly meaningful metric. As John Lovett would say, it is simply a “counting metric.”

Below are the metrics I’m gravitating to these days as KPIs for a page:

  • Reach and Impressions – pick one or the other, but, if one of your goals for Facebook is to gain exposure for your brand, these are much better measures of exposure than Page Likes. If you’re running Facebook media, you may want to use Organic Reach (or Impressions) to measure the exposure you’re generating through non-paid means while the ads or Sponsored Stories are running (this will undercount the overall exposure slightly, as some of your viral reach is from non-paid activity, but there simply is no way to really tease that out)
  • Engaged Users – if one of your goals for Facebook is to foster dialogue with users, then engaged users is a good measure, because it is a measure of how many people took any actual action related to your page (regardless of whether it “generated a story”); again, if you’re running paid media, you may want to adjust this metric by subtracting out New Page Likes from Ads.
  • Average Post Engagement Rate – this is a second potential KPI for the goal of fostering dialogue with users; you have to get this from the post-level data, but it is simply a matter of dividing the number of engaged users by the total reach of the post and then averaging this for all posts in the reporting period.  This metric does not need to be “adjusted” when paid media is running. It is also a metric for which a page owner really can take direct action to affect by analyzing the virality of the individual posts in the reporting period and developing hypotheses as to what made the posts with the highest/lowest engagement rates different from each other (type of post, time of day, day of week, content, etc.). Those  hypotheses can then be tested with subsequent posts to see if they are validated.
  • People Talking About or Stories Generated – if you are aiming for your users to spread the word about your page through their social graph, then these are KPIs to consider. Keep in mind that a person who generates a story by liking your page is producing a much broader reaching “story” than a person who simply comments on a page post. And, as with Engaged Users, subtracting out New Page Likes from Ads when you’re running paid media will give you a better picture of the non-paid results from the page in the same time period (although there will still be some spillover impact that is not currently possible to eliminate).
  • Average Post Virality – Facebook reports the “virality” of any single post as the number of people talking about the post divided by the reach of the post. It’s a good metric, if something of a misnomer, because “Virality” is really “potential virality but minimal real virality due to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithms…unless the post is a Facebook Question.”

It’s pretty easy to engineer much more involved metrics by diving into the organic, viral, and paid breakouts…but then you wind up with metrics that are hard for the typical business user to understand.

That’s our take. What metrics are you finding most useful with the new Facebook Insights? What measures are you least able to get that you wish Facebook would add (for me, it’s the ability to break out “viral” metrics into “triggered by paid media” and “not triggered by paid media”)?


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  2. Hi Tim,
    Your take is always very measured and nice to read. I have one view to suggest in addition to all the views that you suggested. In fact we are presenting these views to our clients since New Insights came into being.
    If the goal of the campaign is to tap particular age group, then showing the age group breakup is a good view. It will show if our content is resonating with the target audience. And also not only we have to see the the absolute number from that age group but compare with total number of people from that age group using Facebook.

  3. That’s a great point. Age and gender, both, now that they’re available breakdowns for both Reach and Talking About. Organically and virally, I’m not sure the extent to which the reach will vary from the fan base. But, certainly, if there is Facebook advertising involved, that can be targeted. Thanks for the tip!

  4. I would like to fb add the demographic insight to an individual status update I make on my fb Page for obvious reasons. If it already there, how do you find it? Thanks.

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