Understanding Facebook Insights; The Simple Version

I thought it might be helpful for some of you if I gave a very simplified explanation of what I feel are the Facebook Insights stats worth paying attention to and why. I have included a screenshot showing a comparison between two of my posts to illustrate my point. I’ve also included Facebook’s explanation of what each metric shows.

Reach: The “Reach” number is described by Facebook as the “unique people who have SEEN your post” but that’s not really true since obviously Facebook has no magic way of tracking whose eyes actually focused on your update. The number simply represents the number of times your update appeared somewhere and the potential existed for someone to SEE it. This could be in your fan’s own newsfeed or in their friends’ newsfeeds if they shared your story, or friends of their friends, etc. If you see a Reach that is higher than your actual fan count, that simply means that it was seen by lots of friends of your fans and of course, that is always a good overall sign that you’re doing something right. It also gives you a good idea of how well your updates are standing up against Edgerank. A high Reach compared to your total number of fans is a good indicator that Edgerank isn’t adversely affecting your views.

Engaged Users: How many people clicked on your post. Most of your fans are going to read the post right in their newsfeed but if you include a link, photo, or video and they click any of those things, it registers as engaging. If your post is strictly text, in most cases they don’t need to click anything so this number isn’t necessarily helpful in determining whether people liked your post or not, but it can be useful in comparing similar posts. For example, if you posted 5 videos in the last week and 2 of them had a high Engaged number and the other three didn’t, you could probably make the assumption that you should post more videos like the 2 that had high Engaged numbers.

Talking About This: This one is relatively straight forward since it simply represents the number of unique people who liked, commented on, or shared your post. It is a very important number though because it is the best way you have of seeing how popular your posts are. The more people who interact, the better your post probably was. This number gives you a quick general indication of what you’re doing right or wrong.

Using my two example posts you can probably tell which one had a link. Even though the second one had a few hundred less views it had a significantly higher engagement number, which means people clicked on it for some reason. The first was a text only post and the second included a photo. Now, please don’t take this to mean that all your posts should have photos, videos or links because all it tells us is that lots of people clicked on it for some reason, but it doesn’t necessarily tell me that no one read my first story. The first story didn’t require any engagement but it did have a higher reach.

The number that is most telling in this case is the “Talking About This” number. Since considerably more people liked, commented or shared the second story, one would assume it was the most popular. That may not necessarily be the case here though because the fact is that the first story was just a quick observation I posted very late at night and the second story is one that included a photo with an explanation of the new profile photos size and I posted it around noon. What the comparison does tell me is that it’s probably reasonable to conclude that an informative post is going to do better than a simple observation. A post with a photo, link or video is probably going to do better than one that is just text and it also tells me that it’s important to know when most of your fans are awake and using Facebook.

I didn’t bother explaining “Virality” because I think it’s obvious and a calculator will show you that it’s simply the percentage of people who interacted with the story in some way and the more people who like, comment or share a post, the better it’s virality potential.

Btw, if you click on any of the Insight numbers it will open a graph showing more details about that number that you can analyze but like I said, I wanted to keep this post simple.