This is a guest post by Zac Colbert.
The Number One Social Network Offers Its Own Inbuilt Metrics App, But Is The Data Deep Enough?
In April 2012 Mashable reported that Facebook’s number of registered users had hit 901 million so it’s no wonder corporations, from major to minor, recognise the lucrative marketing potential to be had from having a presence on the most popular social network in the world.
But companies that utilise social media platforms for customer relations, brand awareness and online marketing need to measure their outreach’s level of success. As a result, social media metric tools sprung up all over the place, some returning mind-bogglingly extensive amounts of data for hundreds if not thousands of pounds a month.
But can a company get enough useful information from Facebook’s inbuilt analytics package Insights?
The data overviews are simple and accessible, easy to understand for those that aren’t particularly social media savvy and may just be starting out. It’s worth remembering that not everyone will have a company or an in-house expert handling their social media activity, many smaller businesses and recent start-ups will be handling their online marketing themselves so data that is well presented like these graphs, percentage increases and decreases, and the number of ‘Likes’ accrued over a certain amount of time, is very useful.
For massive household brands such as Coca Cola, Adidas or Sony, these basic visualisations and shallow metrics aren’t going to tell the administrator much about their campaign that they didn’t already know. And it is more than likely that they’ll have several different online campaigns running at one time, so more analytical data will be necessary. However for those that are setting up a brand page for their local business which isn’t a global mega-brand, these information nuggets can tell them things about the reach of their online strategy that they wouldn’t have known before.
Features such as How People Are Talking About Your Page and Viral Reach provides accessible interpretations into what your customers are saying, when they’re saying it and where they’re saying it. Insights also provides data about what content your audience find most engaging, so you can discover that your specific audience register more with high-resolution photos than they do with video content. The package also gathers information on each specific post you make on your brand page which allows the administrators to find out exactly what posts worked and which did not, which garnered the most interactions (be that comments, ‘Likes’ or shares) and which fell by the wayside.
Knowing where your markets exist online is invaluable and one of the primary reasons any business owner gets involved with social media. Insights delivers easily-read bar charts and line graphs on the age and gender of your fans and if there are other online platforms their using to connect with your brand. This allows you to discern if you’ve been appealing to your target market, or whether there’s a surprise demographic that you’re engaging with unexpectedly. You can also gather geographical information, revealing where your fans are located. This sort of data is excellent for administrators to cater their content, either by locale, gender or age, the more catered the content the more engaging it’s going to be.
Experts might argue that Facebook’s Insights information is shallow, lacking extensive depth to the data and they’d be right. However when you have only one campaign or a company that is just beginning their social media outreach then this shallowness becomes a big advantage. The data is still deep enough to produce some helpful metrics that allow you to better understand who your fans are and where to find them but it’s not so deep that drown in it. When you consider that Insights is completely free and other more in depth analytics packages cost over a thousand pounds every month, the amount of data Insights gives its administrators is not only generous but also very useful.
- Perfect for small companies getting to know their market online and initiating their first social media strategy
- Less well equipped for multi-national corporations with millions of customers and several different online marketing campaigns occurring at any one time
- Data is clearly and concisely presented making the information accessible and easy to understand for experts and novices alike