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Decipher what your Facebook Fans Love and Hate

Brad Smith
September 15, 2011

Most social media advice is based on “rainbows and unicorns”.

That phrase has been coined by Dan Zarella, a Social Media Scientist with Hubspot.

Most social media advice is fluff. These stories spread through Twitter like wild fire, like old myths passed down through generations.

The problem is, you don’t know what will really work. No one does. Every person, company, industry and market is different. What works for one person may never work for another.

The only way to find out is to test, experiment, and use data to tell you what worked and what didn’t.

You need to look at actual data and infer some actionable results.


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Image courtesy of afagen

If you’re new to Facebook Insights and looking for a basic overview, then please watch these two videos on User and Interaction data.


The Goal of Analytics

The goal of analyzing data (for the purpose of a writer) is to identify what your audience enjoys (wants more of), and what they don’t really care too much about (to stop or do less of).

The following questions are important to answer, but don’t get bogged down by the data.

In any data analysis, most of the time you’re trying to identify trends (correlating data), or looking for outlying (unexpected) data.

So with that in mind, here is a quick Facebook Insights check-list to help you figure out what your Facebook Fans really love or hate.


Number of New Likes in the past 30 days

  • Does this correspond with anything you’re doing?
  • Are you running promotions, testing new tactics, or trying to refer traffic from other sources?


    Who are your major external referrers?

  • Are there any interesting outliers?
  • Anything unexpected?
  • Who are your major referrers?
  • Why are they the largest, and does it make sense?


    What are the top cities?

  • Does it correlate with your specific location, or outlying areas?
  • You can also focus on the top cities and write more posts about those.


    Look at total tab views.

  • What tabs get the most views? Does this make sense?
  • Try new tabs and see if people like them?
  • Hide some exclusive content behind a “Like” wall and see how this affects overall views.


    Media consumption.

  • Are people more interested in video or photos?
  • How does this data compare to post/status updates?


    Impressions of Top Content.

  • Notice when you have the most impressions (based on time of day or day of week). You should be able to identify some trends. For example, most of my posts by max impressions are posted at 7:30 pm.


    Feedback of Top Content.

  • This gives you a general idea of what type of content is popular with your Facebook audience. (Posts popular with Facebook/Twitter are different than general interest or traffic from search engines – so it’s important to focus on how you optimize/distribute content types for each channel). For example, maybe Facebook users are more interested in reading about “Special Events”, “Photos”, or “Inside Tips”, while Twitter followers like “Breaking News”.


    Post impressions based on time of day/day of week.

  • By posting at different times of the day, is your content more distributed (maximizing impressions)? This gives you greater reach, and a better chance (statistically) for maximizing activity, Click-Through-Rate (CTR), etc.


    Daily likes/unlikes with correlated data.

  • Does posting 5 times per day vs. 2 times per day have any effect on daily likes vs. unlikes?
  • Is there anything evident you’re doing that my cause greater unlikes vs. likes?



    Again, it’s important to look past the numbers and try to determine what they’re saying about your audience. You can use tools to help you figure this out.

    Remember to think of each social network as a unique distribution channel with different audiences. These different audiences may consume content in very different ways.

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