Facebook Insights Update

Facebook LogoFacebook has drastically improved their insights platform for businesses using Facebook Fanpages, starting with a top level dashboard view that allows for a top level view across all the Fanpages that you manage.  The biggest change you will notice that the platform has dropped the reference to “fans” and replaced them with “users”, and they now offer a standard monthly or daily view for insights.  You cannot currently adjust the date range shown or cannot seek weekly stats which would be more useful than days as they are less prone to erratic spikes.

Facebook Pages Insights

You can also see that Facebook has also starting offering Insights for your domain, which starts to build the platform for a more detailed understanding about Facebook’s value to your website traffic and can deliver results and detail not available in most other web analytics tools. The information and insight will likely not be as detailed as java script based tracking scripts but it is a sign of where Facebook might be taking its platform, so Google Analytics stay tuned….

Facebook insights for your domain

The tracking authorisation works similar to Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Webmaster Tools, by using a simple META tag added to your site, individual page, application or potentially your personal profile page.  It can be linked to your personal account or your Fanpage as I have done above.  The code was just added today so as you can see from the screenshot below no data has yet been captured and it will take up to 24 hours to process and display.

Repeated point its not real-time

The insight data is still not real-time which may present some issues for larger advertisers who have to rely on real time data to feed back to decision makers.  The Facebook insights data is aggregated on a daily basis and is usually made available within 24 hours after a full day has been completed.

Insights for your domain data

Facebook insights for your domain
The new insights for your domain, offers some great insights for any URL on your domain including sharing and demographics.  The daily activity report shows all the sharing and likes of all the pages on your domain including feedback per share and reshare rates. The demographic information provides gender and age details and can also provide geographic and language data to supplement other solutions such as Google Analytics that doesn’t provide such demographics on your website visitors.
Previous Facebook insights for Fanpages
The old platform didn’t come close to even the most basic web analytics product and was often regarded as the weak point when trying to use the internal Facebook platform for campaign analysis instead of paid solutions such as webtrends that offered some more detailed reporting. The benefit of the old version allowed for you to select particular date ranges and the page loaded quickly, the new update seems to fail in these areas.
Old Facebook Insights
New Facebook insights for Fanpages
The new platform does seem to match the look and feel of the continuously updated Facebook interface and brings a lot more of the bells and whistles that clients and agencies expect of any hosted analytics product.  The graphs offer mouse over for more detail on a specific day show but doesn’t yet allow for filtering by geographic or demographic information which would be more attractive for larger campaigns.
New Facebook insightsFacebook Reporting
The new Facebook insights offers initially 2 breakdowns for visitors by users and interactions, with what looks like room for more reports in future updates to the platform. The mouse-over feature shown below allows for a daily breakdown of any graphs show, but would be great if you could select and drag for an extended period of time such as the last 7 days.  The simplicity is obviously designed for self-managed campaigns, but it would be great if they could offer an advanced feature that could be customised to suit reporting for a particular fanpage.
Insights mouseover
Facebook Reporting – Users
The user report offers some great insights into your Fanpage, the first part covers daily active users.  The daily active users offers a great breakdown to see the current engagement with your Fanpage, along with the key sources of daily users shown here by page visitors and post viewers.
Facebook Active Users
Facebook Reporting – Users
The total likes is a good guide for how the fan base is growing for your page along with the number of users who have hidden your page updates from their news feed.  There is also the ability to show daily likes or total likes over the past period of time that Facebook decides, you cannot adjust the total time guidance and you can see here that its around 6-7 weeks which is far shorter than the total time the page existed.
Facebook New Likes Total
The like sources details where the common places that users decide to “like” your page, and some of the many Facebook fan sources are:
  • Application Directory
  • Applications Dashboard – Friends’ Applications (labeled section)
  • Applications Dashboard – Friends’ Recent Activity (labeled section
  • Applications Dashboard – Your Applications (labeled section)
  • Bookmark (Application bookmark)
  • Games Dashboard – Friends’ Games (labeled section)
  • Games Dashboard – Friends’ Recent Activity (labeled section)
  • Games Dashboard – Your Games (labeled section)
  • Stream (News Feed)
  • Suggestions (Facebook suggestions to users)
  • Requests (User to user suggestion)
  • Search (Facebook search bar at the top of the page)
  • Application Tab
  • Fan Page (Like button at top of fan page)
  • User Profile Page (Fan links from another users’ profile page)
  • Fan Box (“Like Box” social plugin)
  • Ads (Facebook advertising)
Facebook Reporting – Users
The demographic information has being increasingly important as Facebook passes 500,000,000 friends who have to provide some basic demographic information.  Using this report you can begin to understand some more details and background of your fanbase.  You cannot filter or sort the demographics by date period, geographic or user interaction at this stage but it might be possible using paid web analytics platforms.
Facebook Gender & Age
Facebook Reporting – Users
The country/cities/language detail is not anything ground breaking but it can be important to just the success of an international campaign or seek to limit access if it is only a national or local campaign.
Facebook Countries
Facebook Reporting – Users
The activity is one of the more useful report elements as it breaks down the users tab views and any external referrers that provided extra visitors to your fanpage.
Facebook User Activity
Facebook Reporting – Users
While Facebook is a platform for sharing media, some of the consumption rates drop sharply so fresh and relevant content should be added but also some video/media platforms don’t appear to offer the same level of data to Facebook relating to your fanpage.
Facebook user media consumption
Facebook Reporting – Interactions
The daily story feedback is a great report for providing guidance around did a particular behaviour such as overposting/oversharing lead to unsubscriptions. You can now quickly compare the daily story feedback against the most recent posts shown below.
Facebook user interactions
Facebook Reporting – Interactions
The reporting dashboard now includes recent posts, when they were posted, how many impressions they gathered and was there any feedback from the users. Again the ability to filter out geographic or demographic information would prove useful for campaigns that have very specific metrics or goals, and also for larger Fanpages who may have dozens or posts each day.
Facebook Recent Posts
Facebook Reporting – Interactions
The final part of the new reporting dashboard shows detail on how the page has been mentioned, discussions started, reviews given, and posts made to the page wall.  It is interesting that it offers media detail on video posts but does not include links or images posted to the page.  This extra media page data would be quite helpful as Facebook has been known to break Bit.ly links and other longer urls, and some pages are very heavily focused on sharing links to external content.
Facebook Page ActivityFacebook insights update reviewed
Overall its a very pleasant update to their insights dashboard but requires a fair few more enhancements to bring the platform closer to agency/enterprise ready until then people are going to continue to explore Bid Management platforms, paid Web Analytics software, exporting via Graph APIs or scraping report data by crawling the site.  The other great feature that is left out is the ability to generate an export of the data via CSV,TXT,XLS or even PDF.  While the competitors still struggle with real-time analytics I can let Facebook off the hook for that initial oversight.
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15 comments

  1. Todd Overman says:

    Sure, the new insights are helpful. But suddenly, my employer’s page no longer has access to the full run of insights. The page is by design not connected to a personal profile page, which is what I am now prompted to do when I click “see all” on the Insights.

    This is frustrating, as those insights were quite useful. Any thoughts?

    • David says:

      Todd,

      It could be the case that they have been removed as admin user by who ever created the page, have you tried lodging a support request or check out some of these links in Facebook help center. Hope that helps and thanks for dropping by.

      David

  2. Jane says:

    Thanks for the great article. I agree with the improvements, but also the inhibiting changes: lack of export facility and inability to change the time frame. I have 2 questions you might be able to shed light on:

    – do you know why post quality has been removed?
    – how did you activate the list of recent posts? Your text “Facebook Reporting – Interactions
    The reporting dashboard now includes recent posts, when they were posted, how many impressions they gathered and was there any feedback from the users.” is followed by an image with a list of posts. I can’t figure out how you displayed this.

    Thanks,

    Jane

    • David says:

      Hello Jane,

      Thank you for the detailed comment, I know some features get progressively added as your Fanbase numbers expand, i will try and answer the questions in order. There is a save/print icon for the graphs but if you are using a bid management plaform or social media monitoring tool you should be able to export the data via API into a common dashboard outside of Facebook. The only thing I could think is to use the old page insights to view the different time frames.

      I would assume the post quality has been removed because it was an unreliable metric, too easily would spike up and down, the feedback is a much more consistent metric.
      I can see the list of recent posts under the “interactions” link and there is a table that sits in the middle of the screen, its visible on all my Fanpages that have over 200 fans, but it might also require some fans to engage with your content initially.

      I hope that helps

      David

  3. Does the Like Sources track individual Like buttons on specific websites, or does it just say X likes came from a Like button somewhere?

    • David says:

      Jeremy,

      Thank you for the comment it does provide a bit more data such as the “Like” came from my Facebook Fanpage or was from a visitor from this blog, but its fairly simple most of the data is hidden and needs an API to extract it so it provides more value.

      But for more detail you need to look at a web analytics package that intergrates to the data and can also export the analytics by the Facebook API. I did a post last week on Webtrends & Marin Software that is a way to do it that is a bit more advanced or look at other platforms like SocialEYE which i covered in the post Social Media ROI. There are dozens of other platforms that can get the data you need but mostly its going to be of most value if you are accessing the Facebook insights via API.

      I hope that helps.

      David

  4. I know a few friends have suggested my fan page to all there friends. I’m curious if I have to approve these suggestions? And on my insights it says I have 3 requests for like Sources… I’m curious as to what that is?

    • David says:

      Steve,

      The wonderful thing about Fan pages is that you fans can share and promote it among their friends and you don’t need to approve them. Groups can be different as you can require confirmation before members are allowed to join which makes it much harder to grow your audience organically.

      If you move your mouse over the ? next to like sources you will see this short blurb “Users can like your Page in many different places…”

      The types of like sources can be from
      Facebook search
      Facebook fanpage
      Suggested to friends

  5. Thanks for your help, especially with your definitions of “like” sources. I scoured the entire FB Help desk, and couldn’t find this information. And here it is!

  6. Andrea says:

    Hi anyone know what “other” means in the Like Sources?

    Thanks.

    Andrea.

    • Shane says:

      Thanks for the article. Very insightful. I’m actually looking for the exact same information as Andrea. 60% of our likes come from the category “other” so if news feed, fan page, and embedded like buttons are already included in the other categories I’m curious what this category could include?

      thanks!
      Shane

      • David says:

        Shane,

        Sorry to say i think its a collection of data that Facebook has decided not to disclose or unable to define it yet. I would assume it could be a combination of News Feed, Facebook Apps like RSS feeders and maybe offsite actions. I can’t break it out within the Facebook interface you need to look at a solution like Omniture or WebTrends to do that.

        David

  7. David says:

    I have found that when running Facebook Ads that a majority of them appear to be showing as “other” in the insights dashboard but best action is to export the data as you get more details.

    I have seen the following in my insights dashboard
    Unknown
    Adverts
    Page
    User Profile
    Requests
    Messages

    When I export the data I get some other sources of fans
    search stream
    profile_page_list
    share

  8. Quora says:

    Within Facebook insights, under “Like Sources” what is “Unknown”?…

    Great discussion! I found this today. Maybe help :-) The like sources details where the common places that users decide to “like” your page, and some of the many Facebook fan sources are * Application Directory * Applications Dashboard – Friends’ Appli…