Getting Your Feet Wet in Facebook Analytics

Lisa Barone

Friday, August 13th, 2010

A marketing campaign is only as good as your ability to measure it. The fans, follows and friends don’t mean anything on their own. It’s what those numbers bring to your business that matters. I’ve noticed that many small business owners using Facebook are doing just that, they’re using Facebook. However, they’re not digging deeper to really understand the interactions that are taking place. And as a result, they’re missing out on some good stuff.

While Facebook often gets written off as a walled-garden, as a business owner you do have some analytic tools available to you to help you discover what’s really happening on your fan page. Here are just a few of them.

Facebook Insight
Facebook Insight is the resident analytics tool for the site. That means if you have a fan page, then you have free access to this feature. If you’re not using it, you’re crazy! Facebook Insight focuses on three things to give you all sorts of interesting data: your fans, your interactions, and the quality of your posts. Facebook eats all your data, chews on it for a bit and then spits out calculations based on that criterion. Through Facebook Insight, SMB owners can get data on:

· Interactions: Total number of comments, Wall posts, and likes.

· Interactions Per Post: Average number of comments, Wall posts, and likes generated by each piece of content you post.

· Demographic Info: Stats on the gender and age of your fans

· Post Quality: Score measuring how engaging your content is to Facebook users. A higher Post Quality indicates material that better engages users.

· Posts: Number of posts your Page has made either on the Wall or in video.

· Page Views: Number of times your Page has been viewed by Facebook users.

· Media Consumption: This graph tracks how many photo views, audio plays, and video plays your content have received.

· Discussion Posts: Total number of discussion posts written by fans.

· Reviews: Number of times your Page has been rated in the Reviews application.

· Unsubscribes / Re-subscribes: Number of people who have chosen to hide your posts (unsubscribes) in their News Feed, compared to the number of people who have purposely undone that action

And that’s just scratching the surface. Again, Facebook Insights is totally free. To access it, head to the Facebook Insights dashboard. You just have to be identified as a page admin in order to access it.

Google Analytics
For awhile it was believed that you couldn’t use straight Google Analytics on a Facebook fan page because of how Facebook handles Javascript. However, the folks at WebDigi have done a great job creating a workaround. The trick is to include Google Analytics as an image instead of a piece of Javascript. As long as you create an image for each page you want to track, you’re able to use Google Analyics for tracking the same way you would any page on your Web site. It’s like taking a flashlight inside a once dark cave.

Since WebDigi wrote the book on this one, I won’t muddle it up trying to paraphrase how to set up Google Analytics for your Facebook page. Instead, go read their post. It’s pretty straightforward, but you will need to use their Google Analytics Link Generator For Facebook to make it work.

Facebook-specific Calls to Action
This last part can be modified for use on any of your social media properties, so listen up.

One thing many business owners are starting to do is to create Facebook-specific calls to action/landing pages that drive people back to your site. This is useful for a number of reasons. First, by directing people off Facebook and onto your site it gives you much more insight into what they’re doing there. You can see which calls to action are working, how well Facebook traffic is converting for you, and the kinds of vistitors that are being brought to your site via Facebook. Know this information will allow you to turn around and find ways to better market to them.

The second reason to use Facebook-specific landing pages is that it allows you to treat social visitors different from regular customers. This makes a lot of sense when you consider that a user who found your new blog post via their RSS feeder has a very different relationship with your site than someone who click on a link shared in their network. By diverting social media users to a special page on your Web site you can address their needs better. That may be educating them about your company (someone who subscribes to your blog probably already knows this), showing them how to stay in touch with your brand (subscribe to your blog, follow you on Twitter, friend you on Facebook, etc), etc. Setting up a Facebook-specific landing page not only lets you track behavior via your own analytics, but it lets you segment your audience.

Those are a few of my favorite ways to easily track Facebook activity. Which ones do you use?
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About Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone is Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer of Outspoken Media, Inc. Lisa has been involved in the SEO community since 2006 and is widely known for her honest industry observations, her inability to not say exactly what she’s thinking, and her excessive on-the-clock twittering at @lisabarone.