Understanding Facebook Insights Terminology Redux
When the latest Facebook Insights was released, I quickly put up a post that both tried to explain the new metrics that became available and proposed some probable KPIs.
Well, a few months have passed, Facebook has quietly rolled out some changes to Facebook Insights, and we’ve gotten a chance to actually dive into some of these metrics. This post and the next two are the result of some digging that Mike Amer and I have done on behalf of Resource Interactive and our clients.
Note: This is minimally a post about the web-based Facebook Insights interface. Rather, it is focused on the slightly deeper data that is available behind that interface, which is available by exporting page-level and post-level data or through the Facebook API.
Understanding the Basics – Reach, Talking About, Engaged Users, Consumers
I get a little depressed when I think about the number of times I have read and re-read the same one-line Facebook Insights definitions for various metrics, which have the illusion of being crystal clear on an initial reading, and then get increasingly confusing with each subsequent cycle of trying to actually interpret the data.
I continue to think that the best way to understand the main new metrics is via a Venn diagram. But, the page-level Venn diagram has evolved a bit since my initial post, as Facebook quietly added a page-level Engaged Users metric, which is the union of People Talking About and Consumers. I also think that Facebook changed the definition of Consumers to include clicks that generated a story, but I haven’t tracked down old printouts to fully confirm.
Below is an updated Venn diagram for page-level Facebook metrics.
And, below is an (unchanged) Venn diagram for post-level metrics:
What About Paid/Organic/Viral (especially Viral!)?
At both the page level and the post level, Facebook breaks down a number of metrics by “paid,” “organic,” and “viral” Here’s how I’ve been describing these when it comes to page-level reach:
- Organic – unique people who visited the page or saw an item published by the page in their news feed or ticker
- Viral – unique people who were exposed to content as a result of another user generating a story (“talking about” the page – liking the page, sharing a post, etc.)
- Paid – unique people who saw a Sponsored Story or Ad pointing to the page
A single user can be reached by multiple ways in a given time period (e.g., they saw a post from the page that they’re a fan of in their news feed – organic – and then saw that a friend of theirs responded to a question on the page in their ticker – viral – and then was exposed to a Facebook Ad – paid), so, when it comes to reach, the sum of organic reach plus viral reach plus paid reach is greater than the total reach. Reach measures are always de-duped to be a count of unique users.
When it comes to impressions, though, there is no de-duping, so the sum of the different types of impressions equals the total impressions.
In my next post, I’ll dig into “virality” a little deeper (it turns out to be a bit of a bugaboo metric, but it’s also one that turns out to reveal some sneaky little unpleasantries about Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm).