Swedish Kommuns and Facebook: Another dirty review

Back in February I published a post which gave a quick, and rather dirty, review of Swedish kommuns and their use of Facebook. I like dirty, so here’s a follow up which looks at the same pages, almost a year later, in December 2012. Before we go any further:

What’s wrong with the data:
– Not every page is included (Nor have I looked at multiple pages from the same Kommun), there’s around 90 Kommun pages included here
– Some kommuns have only opened their walls for posts in the last few months (but well done you!)
– I can miscount stuff
– Facebook’s supposed chronological presentation of posts can sometimes be a little odd
– Page owners can have removed posts

And what’s wrong with the method:
– I don’t include comments on posts from the page
– I don’t control for posts from the same person (there’s more than one page which has a lot of ‘engagement’ from one or two special individuals)
– I have not looked at how quickly questions, comments etc are responded to
– I’ve not even attempted to second guess the stratgy behind the page (is it to drive traffic to a website, or encourage people to comment; for example?)
I have instead looked at the number of likes (yes, yes I know – not a sharp metric), the average monthly growth of likes and the number of posts by page friends.

Here’s a bubble chart showing number of likes on December 19th 2012:

Facebook likes - Swedish Kommuns

Clicking on the image will take you to the clickable chart.

Some clear winners, on the basis of likes. I’ve set up Facebook pages myself (and currently manage one for a client) and likes have never been the best metric. But, but, but – when you’re a kommun you know, roughly, how big your target group is – the number of citizens in your kommun. If your likes are a miniscule percentage of that number, then maybe you’re not really communicating optimally via Facebook.

Here’s a bubble chart of kommuns showing the average monthly growth, of likes, in 2012:

Average monthly growth - Kommun Facebook pages

Click on the image to visit the clickable chart.

Averages are dangerous things, but these data give an idea of what the best, and worst, growth looks like. These data give you no idea whether all the growth is restricted to a few months, or is spread throughout the year. Update: Basically, what I’m saying here is that some pages, indeed, a whole bunch of them; have simply not grown much at all. Others, like Karlstad are gaining likes at an impressive rate. GIven that many kommuns said in a recent survey that they lacked resources to adequately manage social media, this is not altogether surprising.

Bubble chart showing the number of posts left by page friends in 2012:

Facebook page posts - Swedish Kommuns

Bonus – correlation between posts and likes…make of this what you will:

FB likes vs posts

I’ve removed Karlstad’s page as including it sends all the other pages scurrying into the bottom left hand corner while it sits high up in the top right – no question for them that more likes is associated with more posts. There are outliers where lower numbers of likes are associated with still high numbers of posts but, generally, on the basis of these data you could roughly predict the number of posts by looking at the number of likes. Remember, as well, that these data are skewed by pages which may have only opened their walls in the last few months as well as pages which have received lots of attention from one or two people.

What can you do with this data?
No deep insights, I’m afraid, as I’ve got no idea what your particular kommun strategy with Facebook is. However, as most kommuns are using social media to have a dialogue with their citizens (Slide 7, Sveriges Kommun & Landsting) then presumably a low level of posts from page friends is an indication this target is not being met (though you may rock with comments on your posts – I didn’t look at that). Check out what the rock stars from this list are doing and remember, developing a social media presence takes time, patience and more than a little enthusiasm.

You can find my list of data here – if you notice any errors, sorry, entirely my fault and if I can find the time I’ll make this less dirty and more shiny. Here’s the raw data from the last time I did this.


The best Facebook analytics report (that you’re probably not using…)

Let’s take a step back, for a minute, from the usual slightly spitty excited talk about measuring social media by ‘engagement’, ‘reach’ or ‘virality’. All good stuff, to be sure, but sometimes – as a website owner, you just want to know how many visits are coming to your site from the Facebook page you lovingly maintain. It’s your bread and butter metric – it makes sense, and you know where you are with it. Chances are, most of your conversions take place on your website, that’s a good enough reason to want insight into your traffic sources.

Facebook domain insights is a great tool – among the reports it gives you are insights into visits to your website, from any link out there on Facebook. Here’s an example from a website, showing visits coming its way from Facebook:

Graph showing links clicked on from Facebook, back to a website

The number of clicks sent to a website, from links appearing in the news feed, page or profile walls. (Click for a larger view)

If you’re running a web analytics tool, you’ll can also get a similar report from your referring sites report – but what you get from insights, which you don’t get from your own website, is a report showing how many times links about your site were shared, regardless of whether they were clicked or not:

Daily shares from a Facebook page

The number of times people included a link to the website in a status message or wall post (Click for a larger view)

Ok – so where’s the insight? What’s the action I could take?
The first time I looked at the graphs above, my immediate question was ‘what’s responsible for the spikes?’. Finding out that answer will give me insights, which I can use to adjust my content strategy. Insights for domains has a ton of other useful reports, for example, it will show the success of any ‘like’ or ‘send’ buttons you have on your website.

The next question is, are the trends in the data above suggesting that the strategy that I have for Facebook is working, or not? In this instance, I can say that the prioritized purpose of my employer’s activities on Facebook is not to acquire traffic to the website  but to provide a platform for conversation with students (though, obviously, it’s nice when content is shared). However, as we increase publication of content on Facebook – and start using it to reach a larger audience we’ll definitely be using these reports to see what impact it’s having – we’ll be looking for an upwards trend. Whether this traffic does anything valuable to us, or for them, on our website is another question….

Talk to your webmaster, give them buns and get the meta tag from Facebook added to your website – enjoy.

Swedish Kommuns and Facebook – a quick and dirty review

The other day I was struck by the thought ’I wonder how Swedish Kommun Facebook pages compare’ – so I took a look, and the results are presented here ( a ‘kommun’ is the Swedish equivalent of a British ‘county’ – an administrative region). Before we get stuck in, a few comments on the data:

First – there’s a ton of data missing; I certainly will have missed pages, nor have I spent time looking at how many Facebook pages a kommun might have. Nor have I made any kind of assessment of their overall communication strategy (they may stink at Facebook but throw great parties). I tried to check but it may well be that the pages I understood to be representing the Kommun are entirely ‘unofficial’ and actually administrated by small dogs.

Second – I’ve only looked at number of friends (not a particularly sharp metric) and number of posts left by page friends (a slightly better metric, but I only looked at February). I’ve not looked at comments left on posts (life is too short).

Third –  I’ve not looked at the age of the pages, so the friends metric is pretty useless for figuring out growth rate.

Kommun Facebook Pages – List
Here’s all the data in a spread-sheet. Hat tip to Obiz24 for publishing their survey of Swedish kommuns, which got me off to a good start.

Number of Friends – bubble chart

Facebook Page Friends - Swedish Kommuns

Click on this to get a bubble representation of the number of Facebook friends these Kommun pages had in Feb 2012.

Karlstad Kommun’s Facebook page stands head and shoulders above the others with just over 12282 friends, way more than any of the others I looked at; most struggle to get more than 1000 friends.  No surprise, they also had the most posts left by page friends.

According to Wikipedia, there are 290 Swedish Kommuns, with a massively varying population in each. If one assumes that most of Karlstad’s Facebook page friends actually live in the kommun then they have around 14% of their citizens as friends – definitely a significant communication channel. Not everybody enjoys such success – Eskilstuna, with the second most Friends, theoretically only has 2% of their citizens as Friends.

Number of Posts – bubble chart

Facebook Posts - Swedish Kommuns

Click to see number of posts left on the Kommun Facebook pages, during February.

12 of the Kommuns I looked at have their walls well and truly shut, with no posts allowed. Another 21 Kommun pages failed to get any posts from their friends in February (remember, I’ve not looked at any other months or comments left on posts). Generally, the amount of posts is quite low. Several of the Kommuns have a few ‘activists’ who post several times.

Lots of Numbers – So What?

How do you use this? First, given the large amount of energy often expended on discussing how social media is used in the public sector it’s a provoking reflection that – with regards to the Facebook pages I looked at here – the direct audience (i.e. the total number of friends) seems to be quite low. Second, with a few exceptions the level of engagement (‘shudder’ – what does that word really mean?) is also low – page friends do not seem to post or comment that much.  If you’re investing in your Facebook page then you could maybe use these data as a benchmarking tool, and spot those kommuns which seem to be having success (though it all comes back to your strategy and goal).

Is your page missing? What would make this analysis more useful? Have I made a colossal #fail?  – let me know in the comments box below!

Swedish University Facebook Page Growth

I’m putting together the latest results of my review of Swedish university Facebook activity, in the mean time here’s an overview of page growth – measure by friends – from a selection of English language Facebook pages maintained by Swedish universities.

Facebook pages - Swedish universities - English pages - Number of friends

Swedish university 'English' Facebook pages - number of friends. Click picture to make it less squinty.

As usual, if you see any errors or #fail in the data – please let me know! This kind of data will be included in a year in review report I hope to publish later in the spring.

Facebook Page Friends – Monthly review of Swedish university Facebook pages

Following on from my post below, looking at comments, here’s the ranking of Swedish university Facebook pages by numbers of friends. There’s a tendency for more growth taking place on the English language pages, which is not unsurprising, given that many Swedish universities now have opened for international applications.  On the Swedish Facebook pages, there’s a range of growth rates, with some pages looking positively stagnant. KTH is notable, with their continuation of brisk, rapid growth.

Swedish University English Facebook Pages – Ranked by number of Friends on November 7th

(percentage in brackets is the increase from last month)


Number of Friends

Lund University

9783 (7%)

Stockholm University

5483 (4%)

Umeå University

5201 (4%)

Jönköping University

3439 (2%)

Chalmers University of Technology

3082 (5%)

Stockholm School of Economics

2475 (2%)

Malmö University

1855 (5%)

Uppsala University

1370 (7%)

Royal Institute of Art

1086 (2%)

Mid Sweden Uni

779 (6%)

University of Borås

497 (5%)

Swedish Universities Swedish Facebook Pages – Ranked by number of Friends on November 7th


Number of Friends

Linköping Universitet

8695 (2%)

Umeå Universitet

6171 (1%)

Linne universitet

5953 (1%)

Uppsala Universitet

4651 (5%)

Högskolan i Borås

3476 (1%)

Lunds Universitet

3444 (6%)


3392 (15%)

Högskolan i Skövde

3071 (1%)


2961 (2%)

Karolinska Institutet

2781 (8%)

Mitt Universitet

2645 (2%)

Mälardalans Högskola

2462 (5%)

Högskolan i Halmstad

2250 (2%)

Högskolan Väst

2223 (2%)

Stockholms universitet

2028 (6%)

Malmö Högskola

1520 (4%)

Karlstads universitet

1427 (5%)

Högskolan Dalarna

651 (2%)


587 (2%)

                      Högskolan i jönkoping                                 497 (6%)
                      Högskolan Kristianstad                                 442 (8%)

Facebook Friends – Monthly review of university Facebook pages – Part 1.

Here’s the data for the first part of my monthly review of Facebook pages from the Swedish higher education sector. This is the comparison of the number of friends they have, and the growth they have shown over the last month.

Lund University’s English language Facebook page occupies the number one position, followed by the Swedish Facebook pages from Linköping, Umeå, and Linne Universities. Stockholm university’s English language page occupies the number Five position.

This is definitely the growth season! Compared to the last month, where many pages had little increase in the amount of friends, the last month has seen a dramatic rise for several pages.  Overall, the average growth in the number of friends was 17% this month; it was 4% in August; a reflection, no doubt, of the new term.

The clear winner is KTH – their page has seen an impressive 80% increase in Friends as they jumped from 1643 to 2953 Friends in the last month. Whatever it is you’re doing – don’t stop! After KTH, there’s about  9 pages showing 20-30% growth. There’s a bigger group of pages, about 22 of them, which show less than 20% growth.

Here’s a bubble visualization of the total number of friends for the university Facebook pages, click on it and you’ll come to a more interactive version which will let you see all the names and numbers.

Size of Facebook pages by friends - Swedish Universities Many Eyes

Lund University’s English language Facebook page occupies the number one position, followed by the Swedish Facebook pages from Linköping, Umeå, and Linne Universities. Stockholm university’s English language page occupies the number Five position.

Swedish university Facebook pages ranked by change from last month’s friends total looks like this:

Growth of Facebook page friends - Swedish Universities

What does this mean?
Total number of friends is hard to use, but growth is useful for benchmarking. I doubt it’s a fluke that KTH have seen such an increase in growth – there’s almost certainly some action behind that. Looking just at the last month also hides some other trends; Skövde and KTH have had the highest growth over the last 3-4 months.  I’ll be publishing the amount of comments these pages have received shortly, which is a more relevant measure of engagement (in my opinion).  If I’ve missed your page, made an ass of the data or said something which you want to question;  please leave a comment below – thanks!

‘Are talking about’ – The new metric from Facebook, a comparison of Swedish universities.

Facebook have launched their new metric, the rather awkwardly named ‘Are talking about’. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how it’s calculated. The factors which it looks at have been reported as:

– Liking a page
– Posting to the page’s wall
– Liking, commenting or sharing a page’s status
– Answering a question
– RSVPing to an event
– Mentioning the page
– Tagging a photo
– Liking or sharing a check in
– Checking in

Whats twisting my melons is this context for this. What time period is this reporting? Is it the last week, hour or minute? I expect we’ll get an answer to this as the more detailed insights for administrators comes on line – but if you’ve got any idea, I’d love to hear it.

Swedish Universities Ranked by their ‘Are talking about’ (ATA) score, as recorded on 6th October 2011:

Umeå University 296
Uppsala universitet 285
Lund University 226
Umeå universitet 145
KTH  135
Stockholm University 127
Högskolan i skövde 116
Linköping Universitet 104
Uppsala University 102
Högskolan i Halmstad 93
Linne Universitet 92
Karolinska Institutet 80
Mälardalans Högskola 75
Lunds Universitet 72
Mittuniversitetet 66
Malmö University 54
Jönköping University 50
Stockholm’s universitet 49
Högskolan i Borås 40
SLU 37
Chalmers University of technology 37
Högskolan Väst 32
Malmö Högskola 32
Karlstads Universitet 22
Stockholm school of economics 19
University of Borås 18
Royal Institute of Art 9
Högskolan Dalarna 7
BTH officiell 5
Mid Sweden Uni 4

And here’s the ATA score plotted against number of page friends:

Comparison of Facebook page friends with Are Talking About score

So What?

To be honest, I’m not really sure what this is telling us or how you’ll action it.  The more actionable data will be coming in the admin only revamped insights tab. Without knowing what time scale this is reporting, it feels a little meaningless. Also, the number of friends of the page clearly (and naturally) affects the number – weighting for this may make the ATA score more relevant, and this is discussed over on the UK Craft Blog, where they have done a similar comparison. I’ll repeat this again in the next few days, and see how the score changes.

Update – October 7th.

The last 7 days – that’s the amount of activity which the ‘Are Talking About’ metric gives you. This makes it a little sharper, but you’ll be needing to keep a pretty constant eye on your competitors, or peers, if you want to use it for benchmarking over time. Here’s the official information from Facebook:

7 days worth of data - Are talking about