Facebook Insights Explained

I have always said using Facebook successfully is not about the size of your community – anyone can pay for Facebook ads and rent a crowd – but it is first and foremost about engaging your community and providing a platform for conversations.

Facebook insights are a really valuable tool, and if you’re ignoring them, you may as well be ignoring your community.

To access insights, you must have a branded page on Facebook – not a profile. You shouldn’t use your brand as a profile for several reasons: It limits you to 5,000 connections, people think it’s naff, it is against Facebook’s terms and conditions, and most importantly, you can’t access the insights unless you have a branded page.

Facebook insights can be broken down into three areas: Those attached to a post, those attached to a page, and those attached to a website.

Post Insights

Insights attached to a post are useful for seeing what kind of post gets the most interaction

You can use this information to gauge which posts work with your audience – although it won’t tell you if they were interacting positively or negatively. Still, it’s useful for noticing trends.

Impressions are how many times your update has been viewed – much like a PI for web. Feedback is a like or comment as a percentage of impressions.

The higher the engagement, the higher you’ll feature on users home feed – both because of the user’s algorithm for interaction, and because you’ve got a highly engaged post. This may also impact a Facebook-based social search in the future, so getting it right now will save you playing catch-up later.

You can also see the 10 most popular updates in your page insights.

Page Insights

You can find page insights from either the insights dashboard on your page (click “edit page” and then “insights”) or from Facebook.com/insights.

There is a lot of information on page insights, and it’s broken down into three parts: A general overview, user demographics, and interaction insights.

General overview: The key here is that you want the graphs trending up. If they are continually tracking down, or never had a heartbeat in the first place, fix whatever is broken.
User demo: Know your users. Who ‘likes’ you? How did they find your page? Why did they ‘unlike’ your page? Adjust your updates accordingly.
Interaction insights: This is where you can see (amongst other things) users hiding your feed – a key place to start for working out if you’re posting too much, too often, or posting information your community doesn’t want to see.

Website Insights

If you haven’t done it already, hook your website up to Facebook via Facebook.com/insights.

Click “Insights for your website”, select the brand page you’re linking the site to, and you get meta tag code to pop into your root webpage to confirm you have the rights. Once you’ve inserted the meta tag, head back to insights to confirm ownership.

This opens up a world of information. From this dashboard you can see who is sharing links to your site – either by clicking like buttons, using social plug-ins, or organically.

You can also find out how many clicks back to your site you’ve gotten. This can be helpful for seeing if the link displayed upon a share is doing you any favours. A low score here can mean you may need to work on how the link feeds through.

You can also pull demographics for impressions against like buttons – something previously difficult for small business to track. This can give you a good picture of who is using your site. Having said that, it’s a skewed snapshot – it only captures logged in Facebook users, and that may not be a large proportion of your website users.

There are so many insights available using this function, and with such an expansive flow-on for how you implement Facebook social plug-ins on your website that I can’t go into it all. But I recommend spending some quality time going through the web insights and seeing how your site is stacking up.

Questions have been raised about how Facebook’s insights work with Google analytics. I haven’t tracked anything back yet but it makes sense that any page containing GA that is iframed into a Facebook tab would be trackable. Having said that, putting a ?ref=fbcode (where fbcode is a bespoke code you’ve created for this) on any links in the iframed page would be trackable on GA so long as the destination URL has the analytics loaded. Has anyone had a play with this yet and can give a definitive answer? May have to take it to Quora.

Phew! That’s a lot of information right there, but hopefully you find it useful. Please leave a comment with your insight tips and tricks – I’m sure we’d all love to hear them.

Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Care About Twitter Follower Numbers

Why do we judge the quality of a tweeter by the amount of people they have following them? And why do we pay so much attention to our follower numbers? It is such crap, and here’s five reasons why.

1. Follower numbers are easily inflated.
Here’s how easy:

The follow/followback principle (you follow me, so I’ll follow you) is nice in theory – after all, it’s polite to follow someone who follows you – but it’s also a really easy way to quickly boost your follower numbers. You’ll recognise these people as the ones who follow you, then unfollow if you don’t reciprocate. They’ll probably follow you again tomorrow.

You can hit certain keywords, hashtags or magic bio words which cause bots to follow you. They’re fake followers, and there’s a lot of them.

You can create an army of accounts, and have them follow you. People do this for business reasons, or potential SEO reasons. It’s not as uncommon as you’d think.

Buying followers is also reasonably common. $100 and a credit card can see you gain 10,000 followers in a matter of minutes.

2. Follower numbers are not engagement numbers.
Are your followers actually hitting your website, buying your products, or using your services (if that’s your goal)? Are you getting retweeted or replies? That’s what counts on social. Measuring tools like Klout might be considered helpful, but really aren’t the be all and end all. Don’t look at a tweeter’s 50,000 followers and think that automatically translates to website UBs and sales – or even intelligent tweets.

One important factor: Lists. Just because someone has a lot of followers, does not mean those followers are ‘subscribed’. You may be on private lists which means you’re being ‘subscribed to’ without actually being followed – and vice versa! Follower numbers do not equal eyeballs to your messages.

Another factor is “speciality” – I don’t know a thing about cars, so if I advised my followers to buy a Mazda, they’d probably laugh at me. Jeremy Clarkson advises you to buy a Mazda, you nod in awe and buy a fricken Mazda. Even if I had more followers than Jeremy Clarkson, which do you think matters to Mazda? It’s not about follower numbers.

3. Investment in
This one is simple: The more time you spend on Twitter, and the longer you’ve been on, the more followers you’re bound to have. Some people can’t spend all day on Twitter, so naturally they’ll have fewer followers – unless they’re Carolyn3News – when is that woman going to tweet?

Sometimes it’s about quality, not quantity!

4. Maybe you’re not mainstream flavour
You’re a round peg and Twitter is a square hole. Who really cares? If you tweet heaps and that loses you followers, it’s not the end of the world. Just have fun and be yourself. You’ll never please everyone, and if you lose followers for it, then so be it.

Unless you’re publishing your foursquare updates to your feed. No one wants to see that shit.

5. Emotional well-being
Obsession with follower numbers is nothing but damaging. Your drive for followers is probably coming from some other unmet need. Want to be famous? Respected? Well-liked? Listened to? Answer that need and you’ll find your obsession with who.unfollowed.me or friendorfollow will die off.

It is not a personal slight if someone you’ve never met thinks your 140 characters shouldn’t appear on a timeline of a social media tool they look at twice a week.

If you only have 100 followers and think that’s somehow a poor reflection on how lovely you are, think again. It’s not. There are some dipshits with thousands of followers out there.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a lot of followers. It’s human nature to want to be popular and liked. Just keep it in context.

And don’t get me started on Facebook friends.

You Never Know The Impact You Have

Today a friend and I went to Mission Bay for a swim – we were in the water at 10am and had enough by about 10.30.

She was content to lay on the beach but I wanted an ice cream, so I left her to search one out.

Ice cream store: Closed.

What? It’s summer, and the shop was closed? I wandered along the road till I reached Starbucks – not exactly an ice cream store but the couple sitting outside slurping up iced coffee sold me.

I order. I wait. And just as I pick up my frosty beverage, an accented voice behind me said a nickname I haven’t heard in about 10 years.

I turn, and there’s a tiny, tanned woman standing there with a gigantic grin on her face. She looks vaguely familiar but I have NO idea who she is.

So I’m there, in a coffeehouse I never go to, at a beach I rarely visit, and there’s this woman…

I guess she worked out that I couldn’t place her and she said, “do you remember, about nine years ago, you were at this music festival, and there was a crying girl who you talked to all night?”

It was her.

I remembered. She was alone, visiting from Canada, come to New Zealand to escape a boyfriend she didn’t know what to do with, unsure about her studies, and life in general. She had felt totally hopeless. I remember her confusion, and sadness. I remember talking to her for a good portion of the night, going over her thoughts, her hopes, her fears. Talking about the future, and just being there as she cried. I never knew what happened to her.

As she dragged me back to the table where she was waiting for a friend who was running late, she explained that she was back in New Zealand for a week, leaving tomorrow. She said that that night was a turning point in her life, and kicked off some changes. The boyfriend got the heave-ho, she finished her studies and got stuck in to the plans we had discussed.

As an 19-year-old, I had no idea what I was doing with the teary stranger who needed a friend. I just listened, and hoped my very basic “don’t give up; follow your heart” advice helped. It’s rare that you ever find those people and get the follow up story, but I was lucky enough to – and it had a happy ending.

Sometimes you never realise the impact your words carry, so choose them wisely.

And you’ll never know how a closed ice cream store might make all the difference.

Facebook Competitions: Don’t Run One Till You’ve Read This!

Facebook-based competitions are a big problem. I touched on this in an earlier blog, but I got a lot of messages from shocked FB users asking for more information… So here it is.

You can only run a competition – which Facebook often calls a promotion – via a third-party app in a competitions tab on the page. It’s all laid out in theirPromotional Guidelines, but in a nutshell there are no wall-based “‘like’ to enter” or “comment to enter” competitions acceptable to Facebook. You can’t have a “like our page to enter” competition, either.

You can run a competition on a tab that’s only visible when someone’s liked a page, which is the best way to run a competition that users can opt into entering. The easiest way to do this is using a FBML tab, and hosting the entry mechanism on your own site.

Here’s a copy of an email warning sent by Facebook to a friend about a ‘comment to win’ competition run recently:


Our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and the related Promotions Guidelines govern how a promotion may be run on Facebook. You are receiving this warning because we have determined that you are violating our guidelines.

Please correct and/or remove any violations within the 24-hour period after this email was sent to you, or we may disable or unpublish your Page. We recommend that you review the following guidelines and remove the promotions violations as soon as possible.

Promotions Guidelines: http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php
Statement of Rights & Responsibilities: http://www.facebook.com/terms.php(Section 3.9)

After removing the violating content, if you’re interested in working with an Account Representative to develop a new promotion, please visit:http://www.facebook.com/business/contact.php


User Operations


They’re watching, and if you don’t comply, they reserve the right to remove your promotion, or even your page.

Is it worth the risk?


Don’t lie unless you mean it

Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.

W. Clement Stone

One of my pet peeves is broken promises. I don’t like breaking them and I don’t like having them broken.

And a step back from that means that when you say you’re going to do something, I expect you to do it – because you can expect that from me too.

I know that mistakes happen. I’m not inhuman and neither are you. We all slip a little white lie in here and there. We say we’ll be somewhere when we have no intention of being there. We overhype something. We weasel out of a committment, citing some lame excuse without a second thought. We overlook the thing we said we’d do because it’s not much fun, or not really what we wanted, or maybe we were just being polite in the first place.

But here’s a challenge: Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

If you know you don’t mean what you’re planning to say, don’t say it and if you have no intention of following through, don’t make the promise.

Don’t let your lips write cheques you know will be dishonoured.

If you say one thing and do another, what does that say about your committment, your follow though, your discipline or your honesty? Maybe you really did mean it at the time but you’ve changed your mind – that’s cool, but why not just say that?  The “maybe” function on Facebook needs to be used sparingly. If you’re just clicking it out of politeness, don’t. Just say no.

I am trying really hard to do this, and although it is difficult, I think it’s worth it. I want people to know there is value in my words.

I don’t want to make empty promises, not even to be polite.

Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.

 Paul Wellstone, American politician and peace activist