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Facebook Insights: The Lowdown on the 5 Columns You Should Monitor
Posted on March 14th 2013
If you suffer from the dreaded analysis paralysis when you export your Facebook Insights data, then fear not – this post will tell you exactly which elements really matter, and which columns you can find them in.
How to export data into a spreadsheet
- Access Insights from the admin panel of your Page (circled on the last picture in this post);
- Click on Export Data;
- Select Post level data – not page level. We’ll go into why a little later on;
- Set which date range you want to grab your Insights for. Facebook will only allow you to export 89-day periods, so you’ll have to do it in chunks if you want to grab, say, the last year’s worth of data. Here’s a handy tool we found that calculates what date 89-days ago from today (or any other given date) was.
Why Post level, not Page level?
If you don’t post consistently (although you should really be trying to), then Page level metrics are rendered irrelevant.
If, for example, you posted 5 times this week and just once last week, then your weekly reach figures will naturally be lower. Not because your posts weren’t good, but just because the volume of posts was lower.
Similarly, most Pages owners – if they’re having a decent go at social media – will tend to vary their content, so some posts will be more successful than others, and will incite different types of engagement (e.g. Like comment and/or share). So: you want to see the results of your activity on a post-by-post level basis.
The columns you should be reporting on
G - Posted
This is simply the date your posts went live – we don’t need to say any more here.
I - Lifetime Post organic reach
Facebook’s definition: Lifetime The number of people who saw your Page post in News Feed or ticker, or on your Page's Timeline. (Unique Users)
Notes: This figure includes both desktop and mobile. This also applies to total reach, viral reach, paid reach and reach to people who like your page.
K - Lifetime Post viral reach
Facebook’s definition: Lifetime The number of people who saw your Page post in a story from a friend. (Unique Users)
Notes: Viral reach = the story that appeared in the Newsfeed of Joe Bloggs’ friend would say “Joe Bloggs likes Sony’s photo”, but on the other hand, Organic reach = “Sony posted a photo”.
P - Lifetime Engaged users (formerly “Lifetime Post Engaged Users”)
Facebook’s definition: Lifetime The number of people who clicked anywhere in your posts. (Unique Users)
Notes: Engagement constitutes not only Likes, comments and shares, but also clicks such as clicking to see who Liked a status, photo views, video plays etc. These little forms of increase the affinity between a user and your page, which in turn improves EdgeRank.
Q - Lifetime Talking About This
Facebook’s definition: Lifetime The number of unique people who created a story by interacting with your Page post. (Unique Users)
Notes: This figure tells you how popular your content is with your Fans. Evaluate it and see if there’s a trend appearing.
For example, if your Talking About figure is decreasing, then you can compare this against your content plan (you do have one, don’t you?) and see if there’s anything you’ve changed recently (e.g. you might have started posting videos which aren’t getting much engagement compared to, say, the photos you used to post, which would indicate that it’s time to ditch the videos.
X - Lifetime Post reach by people who like your Page
Facebook’s definition: Lifetime The number of people who saw your Page post because they've liked your Page (Unique Users)
Notes: Only a limited percentage of Pages’ Fans will see your posts. Now while this isn’t something that Facebook has explicitly said, it’s a fair assumption given that they charge Page owners to sponsor and promote their posts.
It’s all well and good exporting your Insights data and examining these five columns, but if you’re not following a well-considered content plan against which to compare this data, then it’s a pretty pointless exercise.
Whether you plan your content a week, a fortnight or a month in advance, just make sure you do actually plan it! Consider carefully what kind of content makes your Fans engage (i.e. give them about 80-90% fun stuff, 10-20% brand-focused marketing), and plan what times you post at. Post frequency-wise, two per day is a safe number – but of course you may need to review this as time goes on, based on how your fans react.
And don’t forget, you can schedule your posts so that you’ve got them all set up to go out over the coming week/fortnight/month – just click on the little clock icon below your status once you’ve written it (and attach your photo, if you want to do that):
You can even use your Activity Log (circled below) to review and change your scheduled posts: