Measuring your ongoing performance is an important step towards improving at any skill.
If you were a runner trying to improve your track speed, you probably wouldn’t just keep running around in circles, assuming that you’re getting faster. You’d be timing yourself each lap, tracking the figures you need to beat, working out why you sometimes perform better or worse, and figuring out what you need to do next time to reach your goal. Content marketing is no different.
The more informed you are about which of your posts really resonate with your audience, and which really don’t, the more you’ll be able to tailor your next piece accordingly. To know what works, you have to know what doesn’t - and that’s why having a decent understanding of analytics is so important.
The good news is that nearly all social platforms nowadays offer some free analytics tools for you to start tracking your performance. The bad news is that these tools can often be tricky to find, or the insights buried in a load of jargon. That’s why we recently compiled guides to navigating the analytics sections on Twitter and LinkedIn, and now it’s time Facebook got its turn.
Here we’ll show you where to find the analytics for your Facebook page, what figures you should pay attention to tracking, and how to do it:
To get started, you’ll need to be logged into an admin account for your Facebook page. Much like LinkedIn, Facebook pages must be managed by at least one ‘administrator’ - a person who has access to the page settings from their personal account, and is able to post to the page as your company.
Once you’re logged in, you should notice a navigational menu on the left-hand side of the page that can help you travel between different Facebook features. Facebook will often automatically create a ‘shortcut’ to your page and slot it in here (as you can see in the screenshot below), but if it doesn’t, not to worry - you can find all the pages you’re an admin for by clicking the ‘Pages’ link further down.
Doing this will take you to an overview of your pages, with a few statistics about how it’s been doing over the past week and the options to publish a post, photo, or start a livestream.
Don’t worry too much about any of this. Instead, click on the title of the page you want to analyse. This will take you to the page itself, though be aware that it will be in ‘Admin view’ because you are logged in as an administrator. This just means that unlike an ordinary person who views the page, you’ll be able to see options to edit posts, change your photos, and adjust the settings.
You’ll also see a white toolbar at the top of the page, with a few options. ‘Insights’ is the name that Facebook uses to refer to its analytics section, so click on this to start getting into the details of your page’s performance.
You’ll be taken to an ‘Overview’ look at how your page has been doing, visualised in a grid of small graphs. This summary will automatically be set to display data from the past week, but you can click the drop-down menu in the top left-hand corner to only see data from today, yesterday, or the past month as well.
At this point, it might be helpful to get into some definitions of words you’ll see throughout the Insights section:
Engagements - This is a broad descriptor for any time someone interacts with one of your posts, whether it be by giving it a ‘like’ or ‘reaction,’ sharing it, replying to it with a comment, or even just by clicking on a link or picture you included in it.
If you find yourself needing a refresher on any of these terms, Facebook is fairly user-friendly in that you can usually find a little ‘i’ icon next to a metric, which will give you a concise definition when you hover over it.
Your ‘reach’ can often look like the most impressive figure, especially if someone with a lot of friends shares your post and suddenly the number skyrockets into the thousands. It’s certainly a useful metric to keep track of, as it can help indicate things like when most members of your audience are online, and therefore when the best time to post is - but it shouldn’t be your guiding figure. Just because your post showed up on someone’s timeline and they saw it, after all, doesn’t mean it was a fantastic post.
A post’s engagement figures are much better indicators of how much your content is actually resonating with people. If someone has been moved to comment, like, share, or otherwise interact with your post - then you know that you must have created something of value, usefulness, or intrigue. The higher your engagement rate, the better!
Whilst the ‘overview’ page can be useful for a quick-glance summary, it can be hard to ascertain any detailed or particularly useful information from this collection of graphs. The data is too broad, and it doesn’t say anything about your specific posts - just the page as a whole.
To get to the most useful insights, navigate over to the menu on the left-hand side of the page. Click on ‘posts,’ which you should spot about halfway down the list of options.
Doing so will take you to a page focused solely on your posts themselves.
At the top (see image below), you’ll notice a very useful feature that Facebook has only recently added - a data-set displaying when your audience members are online, and what types of posts tend to be the most popular i.e. links, photos, videos, or statuses (the name for a text-only post on Facebook). You can switch between these two data-sets using the tabs at the top of the section.
This information will allow you to adjust your posting schedule to target those times when most of your audience will be online to see your posts, and allow you to produce more of the type of content they want to see. If you notice that links are frequently your most popular post type, for example, you might make a more concentrated effort to share more of these on your page.
If you scroll down below this feature, you’ll arrive at a long table entitled ‘All posts published,’ which is where you can start finding more specific insights. Towards the left, you’ll see the date the post was published as well as a small preview of its content. Towards the right, you’ll see some figures about its performance as well as the option to ‘boost’ it using Facebook’s paid targeting feature.
This table will only display the most recent fifteen posts you published, but you can click ‘see more’ at the bottom to see older posts. Unfortunately this table cannot be narrowed down by date range, so if you’re only looking to examine how your posts did during a particular month, you’ll have to keep an eye on the dates columnto ensure you don’t start scrolling into an unwanted time-frame.
You’ll also notice a couple of drop-down arrows in the top right-hand corner of the table. These allow you to adjust the kind of performance data accompanying each post. It should automatically be set to ‘Reactions, Comments & Shares’ when you arrive on the page, AKA your post ‘engagements.’ You can scroll down the table to take a look at how many of these each of your posts received, which are visually divided into a blue bar for ‘post clicks’ and a red bar for all your other types of interactions.
You can also click on an individual post to see a more detailed break-down of what each of those engagements really consisted of, as well as any ‘negative feedback’ i.e. anyone who clicked to hide the post from their timeline or reported it as spam - though hopefully this won’t be the case!
You can also use that drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner of the table to view your engagement rate for each post.
It can be very helpful to know what your best performing post was within a given date-range, so that you have a single frame of reference for what really hit home with your audience and what you should aim to do more of in future. Engagement rate is the best indicator of a post’s performance, so to find your top post, simply scroll down through the table until you find the one with the highest rate within your desired time-frame.
Unfortunately, Facebook Insights doesn’t automatically calculate your total engagement rate for a given period of time (though you can find your total number of engagements back on the overview page). To find this out, you’ll need to scroll down the table and manually add up the engagement rate for each post. Then, either divide by the number of days in that time period to find out your average rate per day - or divide by the number of posts in that period to find out the average rate per post.
This table should give you most of the basic information you’ll need to keep tabs on your individual posts, but Facebook also has a few features that can teach you a little bit more about your audience, too.
If you head back to that side-menu, you’ll notice a ‘People’ page listed towards the bottom. Click this, and you’ll be taken to a page offering you some demographic insights about audience age, gender, language, city, and country. You can see these insights both for the people who ‘like’ your page, as well as other people on the platform that your posts have been able to reach by switching between the tabs at the top.
Unfortunately, these insights aren’t quite as detailed as on other platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn - where you can usually also find information about user interests and industry sectors - but even this more limited amount can prove to be a really helpful tool for making your content more targeted. You could use it to create customer profiles, for example, or to create more localised content tailored to particular cities.
There are a variety of more advanced tools and detailed sections you can explore within Facebook Insights, and we’d certainly encourage you to have a wander through that side-menu to see what might be of interest to you. That said, the ‘Posts’ and ‘People’ pages should really be all you need to get started and keep track of the basics.
Analytics doesn’t have to be a monumental task undertaken for every post you publish - but just checking in even once a month can be an incredibly useful aid in learning how to make your content more effective. Give it a go, and you might just find yourself watching those figures rise every month that you do.