Facebook launched new page insights two months ago, and will start phasing out the old metrics on December 15.
You’re not alone if you feel any confusion about the new metrics. This post clears up how to read the new data compared to how you read the old data, and if you do the exercise below before Facebook closes old insights, you can find out how often your unique post-viewers are seeing your posts.
The New Metrics
In the old insights, we saw the impressions and feedback rate for each of our last ten posts. What was missing was reach, the unique number of individuals we were reaching (that differs from impressions, which are essentially hits or views).
In the new metrics, we get reach, engaged, talking about this, and virality. What’s missing is the frequency with which we reach each of these unique users.
If you want to get frequency, right now you can compare the same posts in the old and new insights and figure that out. Just divide the impressions by the reach. For the three posts above, I get 2.81, 2.77, 2.57.
That frequency is pretty consistent, and that makes sense if it’s related to EdgeRank.
I expect frequency has a lot to do with the number of engaged users; what we know about EdgeRank is that the higher the feedback rate, or the more likes and comments we get, the more impressions we get. That can mean bigger reach (more unique viewers) and more frequency (staying visible longer and being seen more times).
You can still calculate the old feedback rate by dividing reach by engaged users. Or you can get it directly if you have PageLever (they call it engagement rate, or ER).
If Your Numbers Disappoint You
The first thing you need to understand, and communicate to your organization, is that we never knew the true reach of our posts before. We only knew impressions. We already knew that the ratio of impressions to fans for many pages was lower than we’d like, but many assumed that impressions weren’t much different from reach.
Now we can see exactly how many of our fans we’re really reaching. It might be a stunningly low percentage. A lot of data has come out in the last 6 months reporting that only 2% – 16% of most pages fans see their posts. The new reach metric makes that reality hit home even harder.
There’s a good chance you and any executives involved won’t be happy with the real numbers. So it’s time to follow some of the best practices below:
- Always ask for a like or comment in your post. This is called a “call to action”. It increases engagement which increases visibility (reach and frequency). Even adding “tell us in the comments below” to a question can make a difference.
- Realistically appraise your fan base. If it’s old and unengaged, you might need to acquire new fans with ads, or at least run sponsored stories or a page post ad to try to reactivate fans who can’t see you (but is that more expensive than getting new fans?). You might even consider starting over with a new page. It doesn’t matter how many fans you have. It matters how many you reach. Even if you take this drastic step, don’t trash the old page. You can use the friends of fans in creative ways via Facebook ads.
- Make sure your posts are stimulating. It takes a deep understanding of your audience, creativity, and discipline to post daily in a way that consistently gets responses. If you haven’t really tapped into your audience’s passions, cares, worries, and loves – in other words, their emotions – then you might be having trouble in this area.
Brian Carter is author of the new book The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook, and co-author of Facebook Marketing: Leveraging Facebook’s Features For Your Marketing Campaigns.
AllFacebook.com edited an image from Shutterstock.