We’ve tested the new Facebook Page Insights : our in depth review

Stephane Allard
Co-founder & CEO at Wisemetrics - Stephane is a serial entrepreneur who has been launching internet-related companies since 2001, after a fruitful experience at IBM as web marketing manager. His latest venture was a pioneering social media agency, sold in 2006, which advised Fortune 100 companies.

Facebook has just announced the progressive rollout of a new interface for their famous Facebook Insights for Pages.
We’re some of the lucky few to have gained access to it (thanks Ravi!), so here’s our detailed review.

There are 4 main sections to the new Insights :



1. “Overview”

The overview section answers the question, “What happened during the last 7 days?”.

As you can see this first page summarizes your Page’s activities in terms of Page Likes, Reach and Posts reach, Engaged users and Engagement Actions as well as the detailed performance of your last 5 posts.

You’ll notice that the “People Talking About This” metric has disappeared. We think it is a really welcome change.

The PTAT metric was mixing Apples (Page Likes) and Pears (Likes, Comments, Shares…) and was missing some very important metrics (Photo Views, Video Plays, Link Clicks…) so it was not measuring Engagement, maybe Virality at best. It also was a”compound metric” (when you combine several metrics into one) and so it was hiding the inner details. In the end, with the exception of Facebook statistics experts, no one really understood what PTAT was exactly.

What you’ll find instead is the number of engaged users (the unique number of people who have liked, commented, shared or clicked on your posts). This data was previously available, but on each post only or through the Excel extract/Facebook API.

Facebook now differentiates the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Post Clicks (ie. all other clicks). Again, a great improvement, compared to what was previously available.


2. “Page”

2.1. “Page Likes” 

The “Page Likes” section shows you day by day details of your total number of fans, fans gained/lost during the period and the main sources of new fans.

While previously there were 17 different sources of fans, the new insights aggregate the data into 5 different sources only, making the whole thing a lot more understandable.


2.2. “Post Reach”

The “Post Reach” page summarizes your posts’ reach, the actions that help you reach more people (Like, Comments, Shares), the actions that decrease the number of people you reach (negative feedback) and the total Reach of your page.

Viral Reach has disappeared and is now included in “Organic”. It makes the metrics simpler to understand, but one of Facebook’s great marketing promises is to increase reach through virality.

It will now become impossible to measure this positive effect. We just hope that it will still be available through the API or we’ll definitely miss this metric.

2.3. “Page Visits”

This section provides all the details of the visits to your Page and tabs : how many, where from and what other user activities have happened on your page.


3. “Posts”

3.1. “All posts”


The posts table has been completely revamped for the better. Now using two lines per post and showing the media embedded in the post, your view of the post content is much cleaner.

The third column shows icons for each type of post.

The fourth column indicates whether or not there is targeting.

The Reach bars can display data in three ways : Total Reach / Organic and Paid Reach sharing / Fans and Non-Fans Reach sharing.



The last column can be customized to show either : Post Clicks & Likes+Comments+Shares / Sharing of Likes, Comments and Shares / Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam,  Page Unlikes / Engagement Rate.

Yes, you’ve read it right : ENGAGEMENT RATE! Facebook has finally decided to solve the problem that has plagued the industry for years. By not enforcing their own Engagement Rate, several companies have pushed their own Engagement Rate, and sometimes not for the best (read our article about this).

So now Facebook is settling the case for good by providing this formula : Engagement Rate = Engaged Users/Reached Users x100. Lucky us : this is the exact same formula we’ve been advocating for months and the one we’re currently using in Wiselytics.:)

Clicking on a Post in the list reveals all the details on a modal window.


3.2. “When Your Fans Are Online”

This is probably one of the most exciting additions to this new Insights. Facebook now tells you when your fans are active on Facebook so that you can schedule your posts better. Although the chart gives you the most appropriate hours, you’re still on your own when it comes to the best days.

For privacy reasons, this data is not supposed to be available in the export or the API anytime soon, but as long as this information is aggregated and anonymous, we don’t see how it can be invading anyone’s privacy.

3.3. “Best Post Types”

As you would expect, this page summarizes the best performing posts types for Reach and/or Engagement. Is it of an use? Could be, but we suspect the ratio between types will stay the same for a very long time. At the very least, you could discover you’re not using all the types and could benefit from testing new types.


4. “People”

4.1. “Your Fans”

A nice overview of your fans’ demographics. Not too remote from what was previously available, except for the comparison with “All Facebook Users”.

Not sure how that information is useful though. As a minimum, comparison with “All Facebook Users in your main country” may provide (limited) Insights, but at the moment we don’t see the usefulness of a comparison with the 1 billion Facebook user base.

4.2. “People Reached”


Presentation is similar to “Your fans” except the demographics comparison is now done with your fan base. A lot more interesting.


4.3. “People Engaged”

A very nice addition to this new Facebook Page Insights is the “Engaged users” tab. We’ve always wondered why this information wasn’t available in the first place. Not to worry, here it is now. Thanks for listening Facebook team!

Presentation is the same as “People Reached”

5. Export

Nothing new here. At first glance, it seems the data in the export is the same as before, but that will probably change in the future.


6. Design & Ergonomy

The style is very clean, with lots of white space (a neat improvement on the previous Facebook Insights). Navigation is crystal-clear and it’s very easy to find your way through all the metrics. Three clicks to reach the data you want to consult  is the worst-case scenario.

When it comes to ergonomy, a lot of attention has been paid to detail.

For example, when your mouse cursor moves over a graph, an intuitive counter shows up that makes data visualisation child’s play, even on crowded graphs.


There is also a very nice timeline for rapid selection of the appropriate analysis period.


See a spike in the data? Click on the data point and some additional contextual information will show up to help you explain what happened this day. Ultra cool. Tip : you can click and slide on the graph to select a longer period than one day for contextual information.

And finally, there is the “Benchmark” feature allowing you to compare your selected period with the last period for almost any chart. Helpful but as the periods’ dates are not shown it is not fully comprehensible at the moment.


6. Conclusion

The word “simplicity” comes to mind the first time you discover the new Facebook Insights. Our bet is that this was probably the team’s primary objective with this new redesign. Mission accomplished.

But the new Facebook Insights is a lot more than a complete makover. By adding new information like Engagement Rate, When Your Fans Are Online, Demographics data about Engaged Users, Facebook now provides a solid but simple tool to help any page owner improve their performance.

While we won’t miss the PTAT score for a second, we’ll really mourn the virality metrics if they should be removed from the API too.

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