Building Business Value in Facebook Insights

So the recent Facebook Insights Beta launched with a lot of fanfare a few weeks ago and then there seemed like a resounding ‘meh’ as discussion of it quickly faded. Obviously using the platform day in and day out I have a few ideas of what I’d like to see and how I would push the system if I had the keys to the castle, so to speak.  Facebook holds a lot of data on what people do online and I feel there is a true opportunity for them to safely push the limit on what their data can deliver. Below are just a few ideas I’ve been considering as a result of my work with the platform:

Measuring how many people actually still care: Something that is still a focus in regards to Facebook fan pages is of course the fan base . While fans don’t really have the option of doing this any more, a fan could previously be a fan but opt out of all of the page’s posts.  Having an understanding of how many people are sticking around vs. just displaying a firms logo on their Like list would be a nice little addition and perhaps avoid inflated expectations.

Who are my new fans/Who are the ones that are leaving?:  Sticking with the idea of fan counts, it would be great to have an approximation of what kind of demographic a type of content brings in in but also pushes away. Perhaps you’re running a campaign that you thought was completely geared towards men 18-24 years old, but it turns out to be that you were off the mark and you’re attracting a completely different audience and sending your target the other way. Getting an understanding of who is liking and disliking a page will allow marketers to better test and plan their campaigns instead of simply just pointing towards their fan count and saying ” Look! Our engagement numbers/fans are up!”.

Quantitative Analysis Tools:  Truthfully, having to read through posts for a month and trying to create an actionable insight is pretty painful. Facebook’s interface for exploring comments makes it very difficult to be able to express the  consumer voice on the page. There are a few social listening firms that do qualitative visualizations really well. Facebook should really tap into this type of technology so  that Marketers can understand the voices of their customers vs. getting just a sample approximation.

Longitudinal post engagement analysis: For those who have been in social long enough, you may remember that Facebook delivered two types of engagement reporting. In what I’ll call Facebook insights v.1  you can get a pull of total Likes, Comments and Shares from all content created since the page was started over a certain time period. For Facebook Insights v.2 (current)  now you only see what engagement content posted during your chosen reporting period has received. I think it would be great to be  able to see a v.3  where you can understand the level of engagement a post receives over a period of time .

What I mean by this is perhaps content was really relevant to an audience and users continued to comment on a post for an extended period of time. On the other hand maybe a post was only sort of interesting and received a spike of interest in the first day or two and then really tapered off to nearly zero. Having just an aggregate number doesn’t really tell me how my fans engaged with content and what sort of impact this content had on the community at large. Additionally in terms of an overall content strategy it lets you understand if you’re making effective use of all of your content assets at hand.

BONUS Benefit!  Outside of measurement something like this  would also be a great tool for community managers as it allows them to see where potential issues or opportunities to engage are happening at any one time.

With the right technology in place I strongly believe that all of these potential features (and more!) fall within the realm of possibility. Facebook gathers a lot of user data and while it is important for privacy reasons to keep a tight control on it, freeing up some of the larger aggregate data would allow marketers to better target and manage their page rather than see their fans come and go based on their perceived benefit from the page.


Is there anything that you would add to improve Facebook insights? Or is it a matter of there is some data on the platform already that is completely irrelevant? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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