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CodiePie | Facebook Insights For Dummies: Use This Free Tool To Your Advantage
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Facebook Insights for Dummies: Use this Free Tool to Your Advantage

If you are running a Facebook page for a business or a nonprofit organization, Facebook Insights are absolutely indispensable. Now the good news: It’s a free tool and it’s available for all Facebook Business Pages. If you have a regular Facebook profile and not a business page, you will first need to create one, which you can do by going to Facebook Create A Page option here.

Some questions people often have to ask about Facebook Insights is:

  • What am I supposed to look for?
  • Do I have to be good with numbers?
  • Do I need to understand all the analytics jargon?
  • Do I need to know how to create elaborate analytics reports on charts and spreadsheets?

…and the questions pile up. It may sound more than a bit intimidating.

Here are some things you can start doing right away. It will only take about 10 minutes in one sitting, and you will be on the upward path of growing your Facebook community. These don’t involve any of the heavy analytics jargon, or key performance indicators (KPI), or really any number-crunching. So rest easy, this really is a lot simpler than it needs to be – at least at first. Eventually – you may become a social media analytics ninja, but it starts first with following some best practices already proven by experts. In time, all the KPI will start making actual sense.

First – make it a daily habit

Take at least 10 minutes looking at Facebook Insights each day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be every day, but it should be done frequently and consistently. Don’t let a week slide by before you visit Insights.

Facebook Insights overview panel

Facebook Insights overview panel

How sensible would it be if you were on weight loss plan, and you didn’t weigh yourself every so often to gauge your progress? Ridiculous right? It’s no exaggeration to say that it applies just as much here. Every time we post on Facebook, we are “talking to our audience”, and that is half the conversation. Facebook Insights, or Facebook analytics, is the “listening” part.

Don’t forget to look for that orange bar everytime you visit Insights!

While you’re here on Insights, don’t let a session go by where you don’t check your “reach”.


Click on Posts (also under Insights) to check your engagement rate.

Notice the section “All Posts Published“? Scroll down and you will see your post history and all the engagement metrics for each.

Play this game with yourself before you make each post

Before you post, make it a habit to ask yourself this question first:

  • How big should that orange bar be when I see it on Insights later?

Then make a mental note to revisit this post later on Facebook Insights to see where that orange bar stacks up.

its all about that orange bar

its all about that orange bar

Always ask yourself – how shareable is it?

How shareable is this content? Will people in your user community want to share this? In the end, what makes your post viral is the number of times it is shared. Certainly, likes and comments add up, but sharing is truly the stuff of “virality”. Go for viral hands down, each time. If someone is going to share your content, chances are, they will most certainly like the post, and possibly make a comment or two. Why else would they share it if not for liking that post in the first place?

It’s all about that orange bar!

It's all about that orange bar!

It’s all about that orange bar!

You’ll notice that probably 80% to 90% of your posts will perform as expected. There will also be certain posts you noticed didn’t perform as well as it could have.

For those posts that don’t perform so well or exceed expectations, that’s another story, and one well worth considering.

Find out what’s working, and replicate it

If you find a post doing exceptionally well, or even those that do better than average, do some investigating, without getting heavy into metrics. I’m not saying that metrics don’t have their place in social media analytics – they do, but it makes a lot more sense once we have the fundamentals down.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Was it the copy?
  • What it the picture?
  • Was it the topic?
  • Was it the timing of the post?

The answers may surprise you, other times it may not, but knowing what people like is crucial, and that’s what makes Insights so much more important.

See what’s not working, and find out WHY

If you find a post performing well below your expectations, consider asking yourself these same questions:

  • Was it the copy?
  • What it the picture?
  • Was it the topic?
  • Was it the timing of the post?

The answers to these questions may not arise immediately. However, done over time, as a matter of habit, these questions will sharpen your focus, and over time you will notice patterns arise that may begin to answer these questions, not just on one post, but on recurring patterns or issues that you would otherwise have missed.

Do this for at least 5 days in a row, and it will all start making better sense, enough to take your analytics proficiency a step further. That’s when you are ready to move on to the next step, a more in-depth understanding of what all the metrics mean, and how to beat the Facebook algorithm.

For starters, here are two Facebook hacks you can employ to start beating the algorithm and staying ahead of the curve:

Use Facebook Live Video

Since it was rolled out last May 2016, Facebook has been promoting heavily this new feature that allows you to record and stream live video on your feed. Facebook will give preferential treatment to pages that use them, so use them whenever possible and when appropriate. Facebook will love you for it.

When posting video, upload it directly to Facebook

You hear that right! It might be tempting to upload a video onto Youtube or Vimeo, and then share a link to it on Facebook. If you want to make a dent in staying ahead of the competition, you will get much more juice if you upload that video instead directly to Facebook, and avoid simply making a link post out of it.

For those of you that aren’t newbies and would like to take a step further in mastering analytics, I will have another article for Facebook Insights coming soon!

A sneak peek at what’s ahead – a deeper dive into insights

What matters more – reach or engagement, and what really is engagement?

Facebook posts – under the hood and what all the numbers mean…

Sources and Recommended Reading:

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