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For many people around the world, Facebook is one of the most useful and ubiquitous social media platforms for connecting with friends and family, as well as meeting new people with common interests.
But for businesses, Facebook is not just about maintaining social connections. The social media platform can also be a crucial marketing tool. It lets businesses reach out to their target demographic and even get valuable insight into customer behaviour and preferences and what can be done to entice prospects to learn more or even purchase a product or service.
All of these desirable results are contingent on getting the kind of data that can be put into useful action. Fortunately, that is exactly the kind of data that Facebook specializes in providing to businesses looking to market on the platform. It’s all part of Facebook analytics. But what is this? What does it mean to you, and how can you start using it to improve your marketing and business efforts?
What Is Facebook Analytics?
The term “analytics” itself broadly means using different tools such as mathematics, statistics, and predictive modelling to discover patterns in raw data. In short, it finds meaning in a mess of otherwise random information.
Facebook analytics sifts through the raw data that is generated by the platform and finds useful patterns in that data that can be applied to marketing insight and action. In the case of Facebook, the analytics are provided—for free—by a tool known as “Facebook Insights,” which allows users to measure the engagement and effectiveness of their Facebook pages and marketing efforts.
Depending on your target’s age and lifestyle demographics, Facebook may be a crucial part of a business’s online marketing efforts. With over 1.5 billion daily active users, Facebook is still, by far, the largest social media platform. So, enormous amounts of data are being generated both by the users and the software that is tracking their actions. In terms of marketing, that is a huge dataset that can provide many valuable insights, but only for people who know what to look for.
It’s All About Engagement
One of the most important tools that Facebook Insights provides to users, free of charge, is showing the level of engagement with Facebook pages. Engagement is a critical metric for measuring online marketing success.
In this context, engagement means the level at which users are interacting with your content. How often are they leaving comments? Liking comments? Clicking on links you have embedded and may take them to a page where they can learn more about a product or service or even make a purchase? All of this interaction with your content is engagement, and the higher this number is, the more your Facebook content is working and spurring people to take some kind of action.
Finding ways to raise engagement is an important strategy in Facebook marketing or any kind of online marketing. But you are only going to know whether or not your efforts are raising engagement if you know what that level of engagement is in the first place. Facebook analytics can give you this vital number.
Lifestyle Data Is Strategy Data
You know that some people are engaging with your content, but do you know exactly who those people are? What common characteristics they have? This is another important piece of data that Facebook analytics can give you. Demographics are about the characteristics that certain segments of the population have.
Once you find common characteristics in the people who are engaging with your marketing or even your product or service, commonalities make it much easier to tweak and target your marketing for more effective results and higher engagement.
For example, you may find that your Facebook marketing is receiving a very high rate of engagement from fathers in the New England area who have a high interest in video games. You may not have been explicitly targeting this demographic, but now that you know you are getting their attention, you can tailor your marketing to them, especially if you were looking to expand your sales in the New England area anyway.
By finding out more about your demographic, you can also start to build a “persona,” compiling a list of characteristics of your best customers—or even your desired ones—and then build strategies to appeal to this market.
“Where” Is Just As Important As “Who”
Another great feature of Facebook analytics is that it can show you “where” on Facebook your level of engagement is occurring. In some ways, this can be a critical tool to guide your strategy because it can show you what’s working and what’s not.
For example, you may be looking at these metrics and comparing your level of engagement on your own Facebook page with your level of engagement through other people posting or even the engagement through your advertising efforts on Facebook.
Analytics provides the tools you need to see where the “Likes” and other interactions are coming from. You may notice that while engagement on Facebook is comparatively low, you are experiencing a high level of engagement from others, perhaps even a notable influencer, interacting with your content. That may give you some ideas for strategizing with more influencers.
On the other hand, you may find that you’ve just started aggressively advertising on Facebook, and when you look at where your engagement is coming from, you see that you’re getting a lot of interaction from the ads themselves. That confirms your decision to invest in ads was a good one, and now, you have proof because you can see exactly where the increased engagement is coming from.
Negative Data Can Be Revealing
While it may not be ideal, the negative things brought up in Facebook analytics can be just as—if not more—important than looking at the positives. User actions such as unclicking the “Like” button or choosing to “Hide Posts” or “Report as Spam” are negatives you should not be ignored.
If these figures continue to rise, you should be looking at the analytics that tells you how, when, and where negative actions are happening, in an attempt to understand why it is happening. If you don’t know why negative actions are occurring, you are helpless to stop them from continuing.
In some cases, it’s important to keep track of negative data as a way to ensure that users are seeing your posts. The decline may not be your fault, but it might be due to an unanticipated change when Facebook implements a new algorithm.
There’s simply too much data generated daily so when Facebook changes its algorithms, it can have wide-spread consequences. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on Facebook analytics when such algorithmic changes are implemented, to see what kind of impact—positive or negative—they are having on your marketing.
For certain types of digital marketing, Facebook can be an integral channel used to reach out to the desired audience. However, the effectiveness of that marketing increases—by orders of magnitude—for businesses that take advantage of the rich analytics provided by tools like Facebook Insights.