Does anyone remember how much we used to care about the amount of fans a Facebook page had? How it was supposed to be such a huge indicator of success? Or even more recently, when a decrease in our relative organic reach had us feeling scared and hopeless? Yes, we – the admins of Facebook pages – tend to trust outdated indicators. And let’s be honest – we sometimes put a bit too much faith in them when we don’t know how our competitors are doing. But it’s about time to change that.
In Sotrender we’re working with more than 50TB of social media data, regarding our 300+ clients from several countries. Analyzing it and finding valuable insights is our daily routine. Now we want to share some of our knowledge and show you what the current crucial indicators are and how important it is to look at them in comparison to others.
What Facebook performance indicators should you choose?
Every Facebook admin should focus on the following 3 areas:
This actually includes three indicators, which are:
- Percent of organic reach,
- Percent of viral reach,
- Percent of paid reach.
Their real value, however, reveals itself when we look at them combined. After page likes, it was reach that was the concern of most page admins recently. One of the most widely known metrics is the organic reach rate (number of people who saw your content organically vs. your pages’ fans) which was supposed to show how well your posts match-up with your audience‘s interests. However, measuring reach alone may not be such a good idea. Since it’s so dependent on the whims and inner workings of Facebook, it can be hard to tell if we’re really doing so bad, or Mark Z. just decided to change the EdgeRank because he felt like it.
A better approach is to look at the shares of different kinds of reach. Why? Well firstly, it shows us the overall effectiveness of a communication strategy – a big share of viral reach almost definitely means that we’re doing great, whereas a little share suggests that we should probably be doing things a bit differently. Secondly, it’s the simplest and perhaps most accurate metric to see if we are promoting content efficiently. For example, if 90% of your reach was paid, maybe it’s time to change your target group or switch from CPM to CPC.
Before we start analyzing it, we should remember three things though:
- Facebook Insights panel shows you organic and viral reach combined (labeled as “unpaid”). It can be a wise decision then to use some other tools, like Sotrender. We’re aware that reach structure without this distinction isn’t that much worth.
- Comparing your page’s reach structure with that of so-called “meme” pages (such as 9GAG) is a bad idea. Trust us: you don’t want to become depressed.
- The reach structure varies based on the page size.
Average post clicks
Average post click is the number of clicks on your posts (known as consumptions in Facebook Insights). This doesn’t mean only likes, shares, and comments; it also includes link clicks, photo views, and video plays. They’re valuable just as they are – but when you’re the admin of a media fanpage, sometimes it’s all about link clicks and getting traffic to your website. When you’re a vlogger, the most interesting indicator is whether your audience views your videos or not. It’s really surprising how little importance is often attached to it, given the fact that people interested in your content don’t have to necessarily push the “like” button.
Before you start getting insights from it, remember that there are some things that you have to be aware of:
- Some people may “cheat” a little bit with their number of clicks by publishing a post that contains several photos – where Facebook counts every photo switch as a separated click.
- Although they don’t always generate the stories, there is strong evidence suggesting that clicks take part in the News Feed algorithm. According to our research, they tend to be correlated with viral reach as much as likes and comments.
This is the ratio of a page‘s number of engaged users to the page‘s number of fans – it usually just tells you what percent of your fans are performing any kind of action on your page. And when talking about Facebook actions, we’re referring to any kind of action. Whether it was liking a post or the whole page, creating a story, watching a video, or just expanding a list of comments, we consider it to be an action. Literally, all the actions – we count ’em. Of course it’s a general indicator, but – as said some time ago – it’s the quickest and easiest way to test reactions on communication.
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What do you have to know about it?
- An engaged user doesn’t have to be a person who liked your page. It can easily be some guy lost on the Internet rather than one of your loyal fans. It means you have to be cautious when using this metric, as it can be a tricky one to read.
- Engagement is highly correlated to viral reach. This means that based on the average total engagement, you can predict which fanpages are more likely to grow. Viral reach is the kind of reach that is generated through user likes, shares, or comments. Most new fans (and potential customers!) are gained through it, so you might just want to pay attention to it.
- Media pages tend to have more engagement than brand pages. It’s due to the fact that Facebook “allows” media pages to post more content daily. You can read more about it in the article entitled “Posting frequency on Facebook – a quick guide for Brands and Media”.
Remember that in order to fully evaluate your performance you not only have to measure your results, but you also have to compare them with the average. Only benchmarking will show you whether your results are extraordinary, satisfactory, or insufficient, in which case you need to rethink your strategy. Facebook doesn’t let you compare your results with the average results of pages of a similar size, although it’s extremely helpful.
What are your options then?
- You can use one of the social media analytics tools, such as Sotrender, which gives you the opportunity to compare yourself with competitors on a regular basis.
- You may also get this data alone from the Facebook analytics panel (Facebook Insights), but it will probably cost you some time and you can’t benchmark to your category or page size segment.
- If you want to do this quickly and compare data that is exclusively available with Facebook Insights, you should consider Global Social Facts. It’s a platform enabling you to connect your page with the database and instantly see it‘s results compared to your segmented benchmark. The comparison includes data regarding the number of clicks, engagement, and your page’s reach.