Facebook Page Metrics Will Better Measure Virality

Facebook page insights will be updated to more accurately measure the virality of your content beyond friends of fans. Here’s how the social network described this upgrade:

We’re making changes to page insights to better capture the viral, organic, and total impressions generated when you post on your page. The updates are designed to give you more insight into what happens when people engage with your page posts and share them with their friends.

If someone shares a page post, we’ll attribute impressions of those shares to impressions from the original page post. We’ll also be capturing page post impressions on an ongoing basis. Previously, if a post received impressions after 28 days, those numbers weren’t captured. The new data will be reflected in the next few days in page insights for all pages.

Impressions refer to the number of people who saw your post, a tally that is about to increase in two ways.

  1. Before this update, Facebook only reported two degrees of impressions, meaning your fans and their friends. Now key metrics such as reach, engaged users and talking about this will extend to three degrees of separation and beyond.
  2. Facebook stopped tallying the impressions of your posts after 28 days. Now the site will continue counting them into perpetuity.

So, what does this mean? Well, your numbers are about to go way up, particularly for your most viral content. Whether or not Facebook will apply this change retroactively is important. If there’s no retroactivity, it will be impossible to determine growth and improvement of your reach at the point of change. And many will undoubtedly incorrectly connect their growth to timeline.

So we hope that all of these statistics will be recalculated retroactively, or at least go back one to three months.

Regardless, page managers will have more accurate data to work with. Despite the mounds of statistics you can export from your insights, this was a weakness that most of us never realized existed. We could measure virality to a point, but a true measure of how far your post traveled was never calculated.

Was that post shared by a large number of your fans before immediately fizzling out? Or did it pick up steam and grow with time? Now you’ll know.

Here’s hoping that Facebook adds some granularity to those statistics: How many of the shares and impressions were by your fans, and how many were done by their friends? To what degree beyond your fans did that post reach? I’d love to know, although I admit the amount of data Facebook provides is already a bit overwhelming.

Have these changes been rolled out to your pages yet? What do you think?

Guest writer Jon Loomer is a digital marketing consultant.

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