5 Tips for Measuring Your Facebook Efforts

Dan Gould

Your Facebook page is running at full speed, you've got your brand's Timeline page set as your homepage and you may even be following a weekly content schedule. However, with increased time and resources spent managing your brand's presence on Facebook, the pressure on you to produce and report metrics that prove the value of these efforts is increasing as well. Dan Gould, manager of digital public relations at Sourcefire, provides five tips to help measure your Facebook efforts. 

  1. Know where to look: To get a sense of how you're doing, Gould recommends actively checking Facebook's real-time Insightswhich provide page administrators with instant access to results for stats such as "people talking about this" and Page post metrics including "reach" and "engaged users." Pay attention to which forms of content and messaging are working to tweak your content or advertising strategy accordingly.  

  2. Bring in the spreadsheet: Facebook Insights has a downloadable spreadsheet for all approved page administrators. "This is the most crucial dataset, and is loaded with dozens of meaningful stats and metrics," says Gould. The sheet can be overwhelming though, so Gould recommends tracking certain data points over time. A basic stat such as "reach," which shows how many people are seeing each post, is a good indicator of how good the content is. "With Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm, the better the post is, the more momentum it will gain in terms of 'reach,'" says Gould. "A plain link or status update with no photo typically won't go far, but if you have an engaging photo that people like and comments on, that expands the photo's reach."  

  3. Take the bad with the good: Within the downloadable Insights spreadsheet, there is a tab labeled  "Lifetime Negative Feedback." Here you can see what posts people go out of their way to label as spam or to hide form their news feed. "That is a crystal-clear indicator of what's not working— these are the posts that people don't care for, and that's important to know," says Gould. If you look at 10 recent posts, and two of them have negative feedback, you can see whether it's your corporate press releases that people don't like or a particular photo to reverse-engineer your content strategy.

  4. Look beyond Insights: There are other tools that can make more sense of your bulk of Facebook data. PageLever (premium), and Simply Measured (free and paid) offer reports with graphs that help put a visual spin on your Facebook numbers and can give a deeper understanding of some Insights statistics. 

  5. Pick your intervals: During normal day-to-day activity, Gould says to try and scan every post through real-time Insights, but downloading and digesting the spreadsheet should be done about every two weeks. Gould notes, however, that there is no hard and fast rule on this. "I generally look at the spreadsheet every two weeks, but during intense campaigns, I look at each post as its happening and make campaign updates on the fly," says Gould. "If you see something that's going really well you can replicate that, and if you have money to put behind it, you can pay to increase the visibility of that post even further."

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg

To learn more about Facebook measurement tactics and strategies, attend PR News' Social Media Measurement Conference on October 2 in New York City. 


  • Dan Gould

    Thanks – of note to further elaborate, it is important to get a baseline of how your campaigns are doing first – what is the normal engagement/reach, etc. of standard campaigns? By knowing this, you’ll have a sense for the progress you make over time. Also, individual campaigns on Facebook – contests, etc. will have their own ROI/successes that may or may not be related to what is found in Insights. This might be click throughs/shares/likes of a post or other specific conversion actions.