Facebook Page Analytics: Tools of the Trade

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Nestor Archival, Senior Consultant

In today’s world, Facebook is the biggest cog in the social media machine and is a ubiquitous part of modern popular culture. Since its inception in early 2004, Facebook has gradually developed from being an exclusive network of US universities to a global social media juggernaut currently serving 500 million active users.

For online marketers, Facebook has continually become a gold mine of customers who have the potential of bringing in more fans and recognition to your business. In just minutes, you can set up a Facebook Page and gather fans who “like” your Page.

As analysts, one of the first questions we tend to ask is: what tools can we use to measure the success of our Page?

Facebook Insights
Facebook Insights provides metrics around content on your Facebook Page. It contains trends within user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content to help you improve your business presence within Facebook. Aside from creating your Facebook Page, there is no additional installation needed to enable Facebook Insights.

Insights reports are classified into two main buckets: Users and Interactions. The user-centric reports provide you with a good idea on the number of fans you have, how active they are, which parts of the Page they are interacting with, and where they generally came from. Moreover, a very insightful fan demographic report is presented as well. On the other hand, the interaction-centric reports provide you with key data points like Post Views and Feedback, and Page Activity.

Your Favorite Web Analytics Tool. 
Facebook Page apps are configured in an IFrame, which affords you a lot of flexibility to apply your favorite web analytics tool’s code within it. Interactions within your custom Facebook Page apps can be measured by just about any web analytics tool that uses JavaScript page tagging code. This includes Adobe Omniture’s SiteCatalyst, Google Analytics, Unica NetInsight, and Webtrends Analytics.

Because you can apply your regular page tag code on your custom apps, almost all reports that you can get from your web analytics tool are available when tagging Facebook Page apps as well. You can measure any clicks within custom apps and create a funnel of some predefined steps you want users to go through. You can report on path analysis, events, and exit links, among others. In more advanced implementations, you can even utilize your web analytics tool to track inbound campaigns to your Facebook Page using redirect pages.

Note: In the past, Facebook provided an option to create custom apps using the Facebook Markup Language (FBML), which has been discontinued recently. Read about it here. FBML had a lot of restrictions in tracking because it featured Facebook JavaScript (FBJS). FBJS was Facebook’s own version of JavaScript but it made it impossible to track using your favorite web analytics tool the traditional way. Still, a lot of vendors created ways around FBML to track custom app interactions.

Please feel free to contact me via email at nestor.archival@stratigent.com if you have any questions regarding tracking your Facebook Pages.