When it comes to Facebook, we’re all guilty of one thing: focusing on ‘likes’.
We all want more. 10,000 likes, 100,000 likes, a million likes! We set big goals to grow our Facebook fan pages all based on this one simple metric.
But here’s the secret. Facebook ‘likes’ aren’t very useful.
Counting ‘likes’ is what we call a ‘vanity metric’, and if you really want to measure the impact and success of your fan page, we’ve got to dive much deeper into your analytics.
I’m obsessed with tracking metrics and setting goals, so today, I’m showing you my 9 favourite Facebook metrics. Each one is far more useful to you as a marketer or business owner than total likes. By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly which numbers matter, how to collect them, and what they mean for your business.
Facebook ‘Likes’ Are A Vanity Metric
First, we need to get ‘likes’ out of our system! Don’t get me wrong, this number is somewhat important. It’s a snapshot way to see how far and how quickly your Facebook page is growing.
Most importantly, we get a little kick of dopamine when the number goes up. Getting new ‘likes’ feels good. And that’s what makes it a vanity metric.
Think about it. ‘Vanity’ means a sort of self-love, but also something futile or worthless. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Facebook ‘likes’ are. It makes us feel good, but ultimately, it doesn’t actually tell us anything. It doesn’t help us make decisions.
Let’s say you’ve got 50,000 likes on your Facebook page. That’s a big deal! But, what if none of those followers ever click through to your website? What if none of them ever engages with your posts? What if they ‘hide’ your posts and never even see them?
Facebook fans are only useful if they do something. And that’s what we need to measure. So, let’s jump straight into the metrics that matter!
This is perhaps the most important Facebook metric of them all. Quite simply, ‘engagement’ is how many people interact with your posts. Facebook count every ‘click’ to calculate this figure. That could mean a ‘like’, comment or share. It’s also anyone who clicked on a picture to enlarge it, clicked on a link, or even clicked on a commenter.
Engagement is crucial because it tells you how many people stop to pay attention to your posts. How many of your fans are intrigued or connected enough to actively engage with you?
You can break this down post-by-post. The engagement figure tells you which of your posts garnered the most engagement. Was it a video, a picture, or a question? By looking at the engagement figure, you can find out what content works, and do more of it!
Pro-tip: try to avoid looking at just the engagement numbers. Instead, divide each post’s engagement figure by its ‘reach’ (more on ‘reach’ next). That tells you what percentage of people who saw the post are interacting with it.
‘Fan reach’ means the number of your followers who actually saw your posts.
For example, you may have 50,000 total likes, but if half of them hide your posts, they’re no longer seeing your content at all. ‘Fan reach’ is an accurate account of how many of your followers see your content.
This is important because Facebook’s algorithm filters your posts out of any newsfeeds of users that show a lack of interest in your content. If you’re not producing good content, your ‘fan reach’ will slowly decline. It shows you the ‘health’ or appetite of your following.
Annoyingly, you can only access the ‘fan reach’ data by downloading a .csv file from your Insights page, but it’s well worth the effort.
‘Organic reach’ is similar to ‘fan reach’, but also includes anyone who isn’t already a follower. It’s the total number of people who see your posts, regardless of whether they ‘like’ your page.
If your ‘organic reach’ is roughly the same as your ‘fan reach’, there’s a problem. Why? Because it means that no-one outside your core followers is seeing your posts.
You can boost the ‘organic reach’ number by encouraging people to share your posts. That way, it will reach beyond your stable followers. It’s also a good indication that you should ramp up the promotion of your Facebook page through your website, email subscribers, etc. That way, new people will be exposed to your Facebook posts, and the organic reach will rise.
It’s never easy to see negative feedback on your own page. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of a vanity metric because it makes us feel bad! That’s why many of us ignore it.
However, it’s one of the most important things you can look at. Negative feedback includes how many people hid your post, hid all posts, un-liked your page or reported something as spam.
You may also want to take into account any angry emojis on your posts (if the anger seems directed at your page, rather than, say, the subject of something you’ve posted).
Here’s why negative feedback is so dangerous for Facebook pages. Facebook place a heavier weight on negative feedback when ranking and exposing posts. If your posts gets a ton of bad feedback, Facebook will naturally hide it. If this happens a lot, Facebook will naturally begin to hide all your posts.
Deep Video Statistics
Video on Facebook has become one of the biggest trends in social media over the last two years. There are now 100 million hours of video watched on the platform every day, and Facebook’s algorithm now prioritizes video content. If it’s not part of your content strategy already, it should be!
You can quickly rack up huge views on your Facebook videos, not least because they automatically start playing as you scroll past. But, just like ‘likes’, video views are another vanity metric. They can add up quickly as people scroll through their news feeds, but does that number mean anything?
Instead, look at how long people watched the video for. Did they watch it all the way through? Facebook will show you a neat graph of how many people stuck around to the end.
It will show you whether people clicked to watch it, or whether it started playing automatically. That’s important because it shows you how many people took an active step to engage with your video. Facebook also show you whether people watched it with the sound on or off. In other words, how engaged were they while watching?
These are far more important video interaction statistics than total views, and they let you know how compelling your video content is. You’ll find all these statistics on the insights link under your video post.
Click Through Rate
While it’s great to see your Facebook page grow in popularity, we must remember that our Facebook pages serve a purpose. Usually, that purpose is to drive a customers in some way. That means sending people back to your website.
‘Click-through-rate’ is essential to track whether your Facebook content is actually sending people to your site.
Hit the insights button under your post and you’ll see a flood of data about your post. One of them is ‘link clicks’. If you divide this number by the ‘reach’ that’s your click through rate. In other words, what percentage of people who saw your post clicked through to your website.
Keep tweaking your posts and wording until the click through rate rises.
Audience Location Metrics
This one’s important because it helps you decide when to post. You might think your audience is predominantly American, but Facebook might tell you that, in fact, half of your audience is in Europe. If that’s the case, you may have been posting content while 50% of your followers are asleep!
Knowing exactly where your audience lives also helps you figure out what sort of content to post. An Australian Facebook page, for example, might post tons of Australian pop-culture references. But, if half their audience is in America, they’re confusing or alienating a huge portion of followers.
You can also use this location data to help target your advertising in the future.
Page View Sources (Or ‘Referrals’)
Ever wonder how new fans are finding your Facebook page? If not, you should be! Do most of your Facebook followers come through your website? Do most of them find you through Google? Or is it predominantly through other Facebook links?
Navigate to the ‘Top Sources’ area of your insights, and all will be revealed! This info is useful, because it helps you spot weak areas in your marketing. If you’re not getting many referrals from your website, for example, you know you need to ramp up the promotion on your site. You could install a ‘like box’ or place a banner advert leading people to your Facebook page.
If you’re lacking referrals from Google, it’s time to step up your SEO prowess.
What Device Are People Using?
Lastly, take note of what devices people are using to access your Facebook page. Is it mostly mobile devices? Or is it still predominantly desktop computers?
If you know this, it can help you decide what sort of content to push out. For example, lots of image-based content and less text is great for mobiles. Additionally, if most of your audience is visiting on a mobile device, you’ll want to make sure that any links take people to a mobile-friendly website.
Growing our Facebook ‘likes’ can feel pretty good, but don’t forget to go deeper into the juicier, more useful statistics! Which statistics do you focus on most?