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You’ve heard of Google Analytics which gives you information on how your website is performing, well now for all your analytical needs in the social networking realm….. drum roll please ….. there’s the new and improved Facebook Insights!

But first a few definitive business questions:

  • Do you know (or even have) your own marketing strategy?
  • What are the demographics and psychographics of your perfect target audience?
  • Is your target market represented well in Facebook?

Statistics show that in Australia, there are 9.5 million Facebook users (www.checkfacebook.com) with over 30% being over 35 years of age and 2.5+million each in 18-24 and 25-34 respectively. So if your decision makers fall into any of these age demographics, you probably should be using a business Facebook page.

Once you have your Facebook business page operating, as in all marketing, you need to analyse if it is working and what parts, articles or other input are making the most difference, positively and negatively.

To do this, it is a whole lot easier than with say, your print advertising. Why? Because Facebook have created a set of analytical metrics that are freely available to page, application and website owners. April 2010 heralded a new improved and more usable version of what is known as Facebook Insights.

The information available is displayed on the Insights tool known as ‘Insights for your domain’ which is visible from the Insights dashboard. The metrics are detailed and relate to two distinct sets of data, one from ‘fans’ the other from ‘interactions’.

The fan data that is captured includes daily active fans, new fans and total fans. There is information on growth and those who ‘unlike’ your page. This information can be used to track any marketing activity you have been performing to see how your fans have reacted to it. An example could be linking to a political story with a positive comment, many fans ‘un-liking’ or hiding your page link may show you have misinterpreted your target market’s political agenda. However, you should note that over time there will always be some small attrition of fans, but unless there are spikes, you need not concern yourself over it.

Other fan information available includes, daily active users, demographics, like sources, page views and unique pages views, referrers and media contact.

Of the fan information, it is essential you have an understanding of your marketing strategy first.

  1. Who are your target markets?
  2. What is the message you want them to hear?
  3. How do you initially think they want to hear the message?
  4. Test your Facebook site, add content, monitor the reactions and review.

The data that will help you most will include:

  1. Total number of fans. Pick a day in the month or week which you diarise to be your Facebook analytics time. Keep a record weekly or monthly or the total number of fans. You will see over time how you are organically growing, any spikes may be the result of something you have been doing differently, so review them closely.
  2. Fan sources. You can see which parts of your site brought in fans, these include the fan page, stream and requests. Under this area, there is also an invaluable demographics breakdown of fans by age and gender. This can be used to target new offerings and determine how well the last offering worked or didn’t.
  3. Returning fans can be calculated by looking at the graph with total page views versus unique page views. You are trying to satisfy yourself that your fans return which indicates they are continually gaining something valuable from your site, be it information, tips, discounts or news items. Just deduct the unique page views from the total page views and that will show you the total returning visitors.
  4. Page Activity is the last part of Interactions, it shows a graph with daily mentions, all posts including video, wall and discussions, and finally reviews. You can obviously use this data to gauge the user response to your interactions online.

Using Facebook as a part of an integrated communications plan within your marketing strategy now is a professional and viable option. All the outward communications you make can impact on your Facebook interactions. You now have usable tools to gain information on these impacts. You can also begin to use the Facebook interactivity with your audience to find out how your traditional media is performing. By putting calls to action in traditional media which involves returning to Facebook, you can see how well these messages are being heard and acted upon. Overall, Facebook Insights is giving a new dimension to feedback on marketing communications.