As a guy that has been in the digital marketing space for 20 years, I'll admit that it was at first difficult to believe that social media marketing is that much different than all other forms of online advertising. Understanding how it is different, and thus measuring its value, however, is a discussion that is top of mind for all forward-thinking marketers and should be for many reasons.
With Facebook's new Page Insights launch last week smart marketers will now become even wiser with more insights than ever before on how to reach more people on Facebook with their message, as well as create more opportunities to "go viral." I'll explain further what I mean.
There are multiple ways that people interact with a brand on Facebook. They visit a brand's page, check-in, but most often interact by seeing news about the brand in their personal news feed. In fact, users are 40- to150-times more likely to consume branded content in the news feed than to visit the fan page itself. These conversations happening in the news feed present a big opportunity for brands to reach more than just their fans – but also friends of those fans, which is an important step in increasing awareness, acquiring new customers, and most importantly, driving sales.
According to a recent comScore white paper, friends of fans typically represent a much larger set of consumers than a brand's fans -- 34 times larger, on average, for the top 100 fan Pages, and 81 times larger for the top 1000 fan pages. Friends of fans also are much more likely than the average consumer to visit a store, website, and even purchase a product or service. For example, Starbucks fans as well as friends of fans spend 8% more in stores and engage in 11% more transactions than the average online consumer.
Thus, it has become critical that marketers understand how the content they create on the page gets shared and passed on through fans and their friends. With Facebook's new page insights, brands can see how the messages they put on their page reach people throughout the Facebook network, and they can also optimize for the messages -- whether they are photos, videos, questions, etc. –- that are working the best to reach the most people.
Additionally, Facebook has made it easier for its API partners to layer their own innovations on top of its platform to provide additional insights such as benchmarking against industry competitors and in-depth breakouts by organic, viral or paid media.
Marketers should use Page Insights to improve how much people share content on a brand's Page with others – which in turn increases virality and reach.
With Facebook's Page Insights, we now have deeper metrics on how far and how often a brand's message is being shared. Not only is this what all marketers care about – reach and frequency of message – but it's the kind of sharing that is best – word-of -mouth sharing among friends. Marketers should analyze the new post analytics data to see what content creates the most engagement and do more of that to increase virality and brand awareness which will drive growth and adoption amongst friends of fans.
For this marketing vet, measurement is mission critical. If you don't know if something is working, you can't optimize either within a channel or cross-channel. And although we as an industry can always make further improvements, the new Facebook Page Insights is a great first step.