Facebook insights for web

Facebook page owners are starting to learn the real value of Facebook page insights – and it’s become even more important to know and understand your users now that Facebook’s new metrics are public.

But there’s a little-known analytics package in Facebook called Insights For Your Website, which can tell you a lot about who is hitting your site, what they’re sharing to Facebook, and how they’re sharing it.

From the insights you can deduce who your major advocates are, the demographics of users who are reaching your site, if your like buttons are working, and what Facebook social plugins are having the best impact.

So how do you access these insights?

First, you need a website and a Facebook account. Then you’ll need to prove to Facebook you have the rights to see the insights. Visit facebook.com/insights. In the top right hand corner there’s a button – hit it!

A popup will appear – and you’ll see a domain to put your website details in, and a dropdown menu. Select the brand page you want to hook the domain up to. Anyone who is admin on that brand page will be able to access the web analytics for the website. If it’s for personal use – for your blog or similar – then just select your own name.

There’s a line of code sitting in there. This is called a meta tag and it needs to go into the header of the main page of your website. Each website is different, so I can’t tell you exactly how to do this part. If you’re not sure how: Google is good.

Once you’ve inserted the line, come back to this screen and click “Get Insights” – it’s that simple!

Now you’re in, and given Facebook a couple of minutes to get all the data loaded, it’s time to pick the meaty bits. For me, it’s looking at demographic information, and the conversion between like button impressions and like button shares.

Breaking your users down into age and gender is useful if you’re dealing with demo targeting – something helpful if you’re advertising, but perhaps not so much for the layperson. It’s still interesting stuff, though.

I also like to compare impression demos against those on the Facebook page they relate to. Is there an area of my web audience who aren’t liking my posts? Is there a section who aren’t clicking the like buttons? Who are doing organic shares – and do those rates tell me that my like buttons are under-utilised, and may be in the wrong place on the page?

Another useful insight is the Popular Pages section – you can see how many times the like button has been clicked or URL organically shared to Facebook on certain pages and start to see patterns in what gets your audience sharing.

So give it a go – hook your website into Facebook insights. I’d love to hear about your results!

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.