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A big part of blogging is understanding your reader base. What is it that your readers (or your potential readers) are interested in? What type of articles do they prefer? What blog posts are they more likely to share with all of their friends? Getting a good understanding of your readers is a big part of growing any blog. It gives you the insight to focus on those topics that your readers and the audience within your niche find most valuable and interesting.
Here at MUO, we’ve covered a number of useful tools that offer insight into different social networks. Facebook Spectrum was one tool covered in directory – a cool way to see Facebook stats for your Facebook account. Research.ly was another small tool that was covered, which gives you insights into the general Twitter social network.
What I want to focus on today is a tool that is actually offered by Facebook called Facebook Insights. If you’ve established a Facebook brand page, it provides you with very valuable insights into the interests of your readership.
Using Facebook Insights
If you have a Facebook Brand page that you want to analyze, just log into the Facebook account that you use to manage that page. Then head over to the Facebook Insights dashboard and choose the page that you want to analyze.
When you click on the page that you manage, you’ll find yourself on the “Overview” page. This is where you can see the big picture information, how many likes as well as weekly and monthly users that actively visit your Facebook brand page. It also shows you the overall level of interaction on your page.
This information is useful to watch for trends surrounding any major stories you publish or any large advertising or marketing pushes that you’ve done for your site. You can get a really useful long-term trend by changing the time frame from one month to several months.
When it comes to “daily active users“, you really want to see more of those steady plateaus and fewer days with zero or low daily interaction. You can see more details about user interaction just below the trend charts. Here you’ll see interactions broken down daily, as well as any rising or falling trend stats. You can add or remove trend lines by selecting or deselecting the checkbox for that data.
Best of all, you can export all of the data to an external Excel or Comma-Delimited spreadsheet by clicking on the “Export” button next to the date range.
This spreadsheet provides you with the highest level of detail that you could hope to gather from the activity on your Facebook page. You’ll see daily, weekly and monthly active user averages, as well as “Like” averages, page views, daily news feed impressions, comments and more. This daily breakdown can help you identify when averages rose in response to a page post you made, or a link that you published.
Analyzing The Data About Your Fan Base
This is all really useful information to see how well your page is performing overall, but it doesn’t really give you the information that you need to understand your fan base. Luckily, Facebook Insights lets you further focus the data into user-specific information and behavior.
You can get that information by clicking on “Get Details” on top of each chart. This takes you to a new page that shows you all of the very fine details behind the data. You’ll see unique views vs. post views (how many new users you’re getting), as well as how many people liked or commented on your posts and where those “like” sources came from.
Insights further breaks down your page user base by demographics like age, gender and what country they are from.
Further down, another useful piece of information is where the views are coming from, and your Facebook page top referrers as well. If you have a brand page that’s public, the odds are pretty good you’ll see Google at the top of the referrer list here, under your own website (hopefully you’re referring people to your Facebook page from your own website!)
It just so happens that Facebook is working on revamping the appearance of Facebook Insights, so many of the views above may change slightly – or at least how you access them will be a little different, but all of the data is the same. There are also going to be new features, like this really cool post breakdown that gives you really detailed information about community activity from your wall posts. There even a really cool “Virality?” column that assigns a percentage to the post based on how viral it went on Facebook.
All of this is the sort of detailed information you need to know in order to gear your future articles toward what you know your readers want to see, and what topics have gone viral in the past. Just like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights gives you a bit of a peak behind the curtain to see how people are responding to your wall posts and which posts are attracting the most reader interactivity.
So if you have a brand page on Facebook and having given Facebook Insights a try, open up the hood and look around. You may be surprised what you discover about your fans. Share your experiences and insights with Facebook Insights in the comments section below.