Social Media A Definitive Guide to Using Facebook Insights for Your Business

Published on June 20th, 2014 | by Yael Grauer

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A Definitive Guide to Using Facebook Insights for Your Business

A Definitive Guide to Using Facebook Insights for Your BusinessFacebook has multiple metrics and analytics to help you with your marketing efforts. For example, Facebook Page Insights provides information about the content you share on your Facebook Page. It lets you see the demographics of those viewing your content, as well as user growth and how frequently a piece of content is consumed. The tool can help you better track the overall performance of your page.

Now, Facebook is rolling out its Audience Insights tool. Instead of solely looking at interactions with your own business page, Audience Insights looks at a swath of information about your followers and target audience, like demographics, lifestyles and interests. Audience Insights is slowly being introduced across the United States; it will be available in other countries in the coming months.

Who has access?
Facebook Audience Insights is slowly being rolled out for business pages (not personal accounts). Your page must also have 30 fans for the data to be available. It will be available under the “Ads Manager” tool.

To access your regular Facebook Insights, click on your business page, and then click on “Insights” in the Page Manager. 

What data is available?

Facebook Page Insights’ available data is divided into six sections.

1. Overview
This section shows how well your individual posts or pieces of content from the past week have resonated with your audience. You’ll see the total amount of ‘likes` your page has received for the week (compared to the week prior), your posts` reach broken down by day and compared to the week prior, engagement (likes, comments, shares and clicks), and some stats on your five most recent posts: the type of post, who you`re targeting, reach and engagement.

2. Likes
“Likes” analyzes the number of people who liked your page, and any changes. It can also break down organic ‘likes` versus paid ‘likes` (from campaigns designed to increase Facebook likes), as well as information on the number of times your page was ‘liked,` broken out by where it happened.

3. Reach
Post reach shows the number of people your post was ‘served to` – the ones who have seen the post, whether they clicked on it or not. You can compare organic versus paid reach here as well. The section also shows the number of people served any activity from your page – mentions, check-ins, ‘like` ads and posts by other people in addition to your own posts. It also has charts for likes, comments and shares as well as the number of times your content was hidden or reported as spam, or your page was unliked.

4. Visits
This section shows you the number of times your various page tabs (including your photos tab, info tab, timeline, etc.) were viewed, actions people have taken involving your page (such as posting on it), and the number of times people came to your page from a website outside of Facebook.

5. Posts
Posts can be a very helpful tab. It shows you a breakdown of the days and times of day that your fans are online, the paid and organic reach of your posts, as well as interactions with them (comments or likes). 

It also allows you to compare the average reach and engagement for different types of posts (links, photos, status updates). And if you`d like to compare the performance of your Page and posts with that of your competitors, there`s a section for that as well.

6. People

“People” breaks down the demographics of your fan base, including their gender, country and city, and language. It provides additional data about the demographics of people who have seen a post within the past 30 days, and the demographics of those who engaged with it.

Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Page Insights shows you information about people who have ‘liked` your page, whereas Facebook Audience Insights lets you choose between three potential audiences. One very broad option is the entire Facebook audience: people on Facebook in general. Another option is people who are connected to your Page (or event). Lastly, Facebook allows you to create a “Custom Audience” comprised of your current customers.

Facebook Audience Insights is divided into five categories.

1. Demographics. Just like Page Insights, Audience Insights shows you the age and gender of your group, but adds additional information as well: lifestyle, education, relationship status, job role and household size. 

2. Page Likes shows you the top pages people in your group like in different categories. 

3. Location and language is similar to Page Insights, except information about where people live, and which languages they speak is for the specific group you choose rather than just those connected with your page. 

4. Facebook usage shows you how often people in your audience use Facebook, and with which devices. 

5. Purchases activity shows you past purchase behavior of your group (like if they are heavy buyers in a specific industry) and how they shop (in store, online, etc.). 

How do you use these tools?

 Facebook Page Insights

  • Analyze people. The demographic makeup of your viewers can help you better understand your audience: their age group, location, gender, etc. You can even see if there`s a variation between viewers on certain topics compared to others. This will help you further refine your content. 
  • Use Post types to see which kinds of posts have the most reach and engagement. If you see that photos (or links, or status updates) are wildly popular, you may want to add more of them, more often. You can also see which actions led to people unliking, hiding or reporting your page as spam. This may show you which types of post decrease your reach. 
  • Boost posts. If you decide you want to put a little bit of money into paying for posts to get more traffic, the data becomes more useful. “The insights on a boosted post tell me what activity was generated around the money that I spent, which is really important,” says Derek Overbey, VerticalResponse Senior Social Media Manager. If you decide to “Boost” a post, or pay money to increase its views, that`s when you`ll really want to take a close look at the reports to guide decisions for future posts. You may need to experiment a bit to determine the reason specific ‘boosted` posts are more popular as it could be the type of post, the topic or some other factor. Looking at the data is a good starting point for hypothesizing. 
  • Stick to on-screen data. Facebook has a very robust analytics package, and allows you to download very detailed reports. Overbey recommends starting with on-screen data, which can be less overwhelming if you’re just starting out. The on-screen pictures and graphs, he says, will tell you just enough without going into too much detail. 
  • Keep it in context. It’s true that Audience Insights can give you a peek into what your audience thinks about a particular piece of content, but there are many different factors. Often times a post will resonate with a certain audience and get a lot of activity on Facebook, but won`t necessarily get a lot of clicks or activity from other social channels such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Just be aware that the data you see on Facebook Insights might not reflect a post`s overall performance on other social media channels.

Getting Started with Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights helps you learn more about the people you want to target both with content and ads.

Get started by going to Facebook Ads Manager and creating an audience. This will allow you to hone in on the particular audience and compare them to the overall population to see what is unique about them. You can create multiple audiences if you have segmented your list.

If Facebook Audience Insights has rolled out for you, you’ll be able to hone in on your new audience, to better understand their demographics and purchase behavior. Here`s how this could affect your marketing.

1. Demographics. Being able to compare the age and gender of your specific audience with a more general audience can show you who to target with your products. And that`s not all: You`ll have information on education, relationship status, job roles and household size as well. For example, there’s no use advertising your dating app to an audience where the demographic includes mostly married people.

Advertising to a target market is nothing new – Facebook has allowed filtering for ads for a while. But targeting a specific product to a list you already have is a new way to use Audience Insights.

2. Page Likes shows you the top pages people in your group like in different categories. This can be helpful both for scoping out potential competitors and for better understanding your audience and what makes them tick.

3. Location and language can help you hone in on specific areas. For example, if you have products targeting certain areas, you`ll be able to know this information about the audience you have selected.

4. Facebook usage shows you how often people in your audience use Facebook, and with which devices. This may help you understand your data on engagement and views.

5. Purchases activity shows you past purchase behavior of your group (like if they are heavy buyers in a specific industry) and how they shop (in store, online, etc.). This can affect your marketing strategy. If you have a brick-and-mortar store but your audience is far more likely to shop online than the general population, you`ll want to make sure that option is available.

It just goes to show you, sometimes the more you know about your audience, the better.

Do you have plans to use these new insights to learn about your audience on Facebook? Share in the comments. 

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About the Author

Yael Grauer

is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and editor.



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