Facebook’s New Page Insights

Well look at that, Facebook just launched the new Page Insights I mentioned a while back. My first impression: Wow, what a design overhaul! Visually pleasing UI to say the least. If this is the UI direction that Facebook is going, then I welcome it with arms wide open.

But pretty graphs and UI aside, is this data actually more ‘actionable’ than the old insights, as Facebook claims? Let’s take a look.

First, the Overview page. This page shows all your stats at a glance and some engagement stats from your last few page posts. Visually it looks great. But lets dive deeper and look at an under-performing page I’m managing. Like totals aside (since we know those aren’t too important to base success on), looking at the Post Reach and Engagement boxes, I want to be able to diagnose why this page is under performing, make sense of what is going on, and troubleshoot how we can improve. If there is a blip in traffic or engagement, I want to be able to see what people were caring so much about on the page, so I can post more of it. Can we do that? We’ll see…

Looking at these two overview boxes, what do you make of them? First thing I notice: Talking About This is gone. It has been broken down into an Engagement box that splits it up into Likes, Comments, Shares, and Clicks, then spits out a  new ‘People Engaged’ total. Personally I like this much better, being able to see the breakdown very clearly. However, on the surface those graphs aren’t very helpful. There is no Y-axis to give it any real meaning, the only thing I can make out of the graph is comparing week-to-week over a 7-day period any ‘blips’ that happened. If I could change anything, I would prefer to have a Y-Axis on Post Reach, and would like to see the ‘growth’ number and percentage for each of the ‘People Engaged’ metrics. For example, In 7-days this page received 5 likes. But if you look at the graph, how many likes did I get to this page last week? It doesn’t say, and I can’t quickly compare growth numbers – did I get 10 likes last week? 5? 6? I can’t gauge if that ‘5’ number is bad, or really bad.

So lets dive deeper into these stats. First thing I notice is that the boxes themselves (Post Reach and Post Engagement) are clickable to dive into their specific pages so we can see more detailed graphs. But from a UI perspective, the ‘mini graphs’ also appear clickable. My first instinct is to click on the mini-graph to see more details. For example, I see there was an upswing in ‘Post Clicks’ recently in the last couple days, what were people clicking on that interested them? Let’s find out and click on the ‘Post Clicks’ graph.

Immediately I am brought to the ‘Post Reach’ detail page:

Wait a minute… didn’t I click on ‘Post Clicks’ under the ‘Engagement’ box? I didn’t click the Post Reach box at all. Quickly I realize… both of those boxes from the Overview page link to the same ‘Post Reach’ page. There is not an ‘Engagement’ details page. Well that’s interesting, but where am I going to see what post caused that upswing in clicks recently? Let’s look… We have a really nice Post Reach graph, and then further down we have a graph for Likes, Comments, and Shares, one for Hide/Report/Spam/Unlikes, and finally a graph showing Total Reach. Nothing for clicks! Darn. Well that didn’t help, but we do have the total reach numbers on a daily basis which will be useful to us.

First thing I notice at the top of the Post Reach page is this beautiful ‘stats over time’ chart that I am used to seeing on tools like Google Stocks. Date ranges was one of the most annoying things for me in the old Insights. Being able to pull up a date range of 30 days using the standard Insights tool wasn’t as easy and limited. The date range dropdowns are much much more visible and accessible, and being able to see an overview graph at the top looking back in time is really handy. You’ll also notice a subtle gem of a feature in the top corner where it says “1W 1M 1Q”. Clicking this quickly lets you see 1 week, 1 month, and 1 quarter of stats. Being able to quickly see 30 days is extremely helpful and something I’ve definitely wished for. With all of these improvements, if you want to quickly compare 30 or 60 days or back to that time when there was a ‘spike’ in the data it is much easier to do now. Bravo Facebook on this great feature addition.

For Post Reach on a page that has some Paid Ads thrown into the mix, you’ll see something like this:

Notice the darker orange? This shows a breakdown of what reach was ‘paid’ and what was ‘organic’ which is really nice, especially how visually you can see where your money is going with regards to reach stats. If you hover your mouse over the different areas you can also see a stat breakdown of Paid Vs Organic and it shows the detailed number for you. Fantastic. This is a much needed improvement and is a seemless UI experience.

The next thing you’ll notice are ‘Benchmark‘ boxes on the right-hand side. These are a brand new feature and one that I am really excited about using. Back in the old Insights you would see a graph over 7-days or whatever range you selected, and wouldn’t really know what the average was. You would look at the highest points and lowest points and visually come up with an average number yourself. Unless you wanted to export the data into Excel and work out the exact average number. With the Benchmark feature, clicking it will give you an instant average from the previous time period, and from the data you’re seeing on the screen right now.

Very helpful if you want to jot down an average for the week.

This also works for Likes, Comments, and Shares to average those and compare to the previous week. As well as report complaints, likes, and total reach, etc.

Lets get back to our original goal though, was diving deep into the stats to see what ‘actionable’ results we could extract.

All of the charts give you the ability to click on a specific day to ‘dive deeper’ into the posts you made on that day. This is a fantastic addition and one that Social Media Managers will be using now on a regular basis. Why? Because it lets you see exactly which posts caused those spikes that we would see on the graphs of the Old Insights but would have to struggle to go back and figure out what those posts were on those days.

When I hover over the likes/comments/shares graph for example, I see a spike in Likes on July 6th for this particular Page I’m on. So why the jump in likes? Lets click it:

Clicking brings up a lightbox window (great UI choice here instead of loading a new page), and shows us all the posts from that day with engagement levels:

I can quickly see that the sec that the second post had really high engagement compared to the other posts. Another great thing I notice is that Facebook now shows me a little thumbnail of the photo that was included in that post! THANK GOODNESS! This has been a lot annoyance of mine where I would see a nice list of posts in the old Insights but most of them would include images and the text in the post wouldn’t hint at what the image was about (for example, I’d see a post that simply says something like “Click LIKE if you agree!” and the image would have a quote or wording in it). I would have to click into each post to see what image was attached. With the new Insights, a thumbnail is presented to you so you can quickly get an idea of what it was that you posted. Well done Facebook, well done.

Conclusion: On the Page Reach screen you can get actionable data much quicker by diving deep into the graphs to quickly pull up posts from that day.

Alright, let’s get out of this screen and go into the Page Likes tab to highlight a feature a I really really like.

Not only do we get that ‘Likes over time’ type graph at the top that we can drag to change date ranges, but we also get my new favourite graphs: “Net Likes” and “Where Your Page Likes Came From.

The Net Likes graph is extremely helpful to see your unlikes vs. your new likes. It existed back in the old Insights tool, but this new tool has a much easier to read graph that you can click and interact with.

By clicking on a specific day, you can actually see a breakdown of where those Likes came from… whether it be something on your page, or something different all together like someone else’s post, you can also see where the unlikes came from:

Now keep in mind, this details graph isn’t clickable, so you can’t dive in much deeper than this. It would be nice if Facebook let us go deeper to see exactly which posts ‘On Your Page’ caused the Unlikes.

What Else Is New In Facebook Insights?

A couple new features I want to touch on: Time Of Day To Post and Best Post Types

A very common question I get is… what is the best time to post to Facebook? In the past I would refer you to many online tools that can figure this out for you, such as CrowdBooster.

But it looks like some of the highly valued CrowdBooster features are getting offered up by Facebook itself, and given to us for free. Best times to post being one of them.

Facebook now has a ‘Posts’ tab with a subtab titled “When Your Fans Are Online“. Clicking this gives you the following graph:

For this particular page of mine, I can see that the best days to reach the fans of this page are on Wednesdays and Fridays. A really great insight, since I had been thinking Fridays weren’t a good day for this particular page.

Next, I can see the best time to post on this Facebook Page which is between noon and midnight, particularly between 9pm – 11pm. Something I knew already, but seeing it on a graph like this shows me very clearly that I should avoid posting in the mornings for sure, because the audience for this page are night owls!

Best Post Types

If you’re wondering what type of posts are working for your audience, Facebook will now tell you in the new “Best Post Types” section. We’ve all heard that putting an image in your post, or a YouTube video, increases engagement levels by a large amount… but is that actually true? According to this new section, it is true if you’re talking about engagement! Take a look:

This particular page is getting much higher ‘engagement’ (ie. clicks) on photos. People are clearly drawn to the photos and are clicking them to read more.

However, Facebook doesn’t want to clutter home feeds with a bunch of images, it also likes when you have well-written status updates that don’t have photos in them – and it will show that status to more people, as evident by the graph above. Status updates that were strictly text had a much higher ‘Reach’ level (924 vs. 598 for photo posts). Telling me that for this particular page, if I want my message to be seen be the most people possible (a news post or an announcement, for example) I should post it without a photo, and if I want users to engage with a post such as a discussion question or fun topic I should post it with a photo.

The New Page Visits tab

I want to wrap up by talking about a brand new tab that really changes the game when it comes to Insight tools, and that is the new Page Visits tab.

This is interesting because it shows Facebook getting more into the Analytics side of things, introducing items like ‘Traffic Sources’ to us that we would never have known.

A couple new things you can do here.

1) You can see visits specifically to the different parts of your page. Not only the timeline, but also the tabs you have on your page. If you run a restaurant page for example, and you have a custom tab showing a menu, you can see how many people clicked to see the restaurant menu on Facebook. Very helpful insights, especially if you use a lot of tabs and page apps.

2) You can now breakdown and quickly see the number of mentions… but more interestingly you can see the number of Checkins on a specific day to a brick and mortar business.

3) Traffic sources. This is huge. Being able to see the sources that sent traffic to your Facebook page is something never been available to us before. We can now see how many people are finding our pages through Google Searches for example, vs. coming to Facebook directly from our website. As you can see on this newer page I started, the traffic from the website far outweighs traffic coming from Google:

Overall, some great new additions to the new Facebook Insights.

I’m excited to start using these features on a regular basis!