The endless development cycle of today's startups means that marketers must be constantly on top of the latest rollout of their most-used tools - so when Facebook announced last month that there was a bug in their Page Insights product, there was certainly consternation among those whose jobs it is to engage customers on the social network.
For travel brands looking to differentiate themselves amidst the noise, as well as most effectively use available resources, understanding just what is working - and why - is essential to a productive social strategy in travel.
Yet, given these bugs, it can be difficult to prioritize.
What are the most important metrics to consider when benchmarking performance, and what should a marketer make of the variety of metrics actually provided by Facebook? Here's a quick way to check performance against other pages - and understand what it all actually means.
Step 1: Benchmark
Facebook marketing platform Agorapulse has a fantastically useful tool called the Barometer. You go in, connect to Facebook, and add your page. Give the magic elves a minute to run into the Interwebs to gather the data, and presto! You've been benchmarked.
The most interesting thing here is to understand the differences between the size of Facebook pages.
If you're a page under 1,000 fans, you are going to see a much higher percentage of people seeing your posts - somewhere in the range of 22%. However, for pages with over 100k fans, the percentage will be much smaller: around 6%. Larger pages still reach more people, but percentage-wise do not fare as well.
It's also important to note the range between similarly-sized pages. In the shot below, the fans reached ranges from .6% to 19.9% - a significant difference that is directly correlated to providing engaging, captivating content that users like, share and comment on.
Step 2: Analyze
Let's take a moment to look at the variety of metrics available. Here's an analysis of a page with over 100,000 fans, followed by a page with under 10,000 fans. By focusing on the "Per Post" metric, the analysis will be more effective as it looks at the overall performance of the page - rather than something skewed towards a one-off competition or other temporary promotion.
Here are the definitions of the various items (for a super article from Agorapulse co-founder, click here):
Fans reached: Average percentage of fans reached by each post.
Engagement: Average percentage of users that have liked, clicked, shared or clicked on a post.
People Talking About: Average percentage of users that are talking about the page (ie. liked, clicked, shared a post with friends).
Negative feedback: Average percentage of users that have marked a post as spam or actively hidden it from their feed.
Viral reach: Average percentage of friends of users reached through a post action (liking, sharing, commenting).
Organic reach: Average percentage of fans and non-fans reached by each post.
CTR: Average percentage of users that consumed a post by watching a video, enlarging a photo or clicking on the link.
By going through these items and considering what they mean through the lens of your social strategy, you can start to get a solid understanding of where the page stands - and where there's room for improvement.
The differences are very interesting, both between the two pages and when compared to the average of tracked pages in orange. Both pages are doing a great job at providing engaging content, which is getting above-average click-throughs.
However, both pages are seeing a lower viral reach than would be expected for such engaging content - this needs to be looked into.
The Barometer also provides an interactive graph, showing performance over time. This graphical information can be combined with an overview of that month's post to determine what posts offered the best combination of organic and viral reach, in addition to solid engagement.
This sort of analysis is not for the faint of heart, and it can be complemented with the downloadable .xls file from Facebook's Page Insights product to derive a strong understanding of what's working - and what's not.
Step 3: Act
After looking through the statistics, and seeing how you match up with the Barometer's average, it's time to act.
Here are some concrete ways to move forward:
1) Set up the Barometer and make it a part of your weekly performance analysis.
2) Link particular posts to uplift in results via a spreadsheet - and replicate.
3) Using this knowledge, set some targets for organic/viral reach, engagement, or any other underperforming area.
4) Start benchmarking your own progress, and revisit goals every week.
5) Finally, determine which metrics are the most important to your brand - which ones provide the most ROI, either in terms of sales, chatter and/or general reach. Then focus on these - and then experiment to see how you can improve them. At this point, consider ads and using them to start bending the results in your favor.