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.

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Facebook Comments – Monthly review of Swedish University Facebook Pages

Who has had the most posts from their friends this month? Yes, I know Facebook launched their ‘are talking about’ metric last week which, on the face of it (ha, see what I did there), would make this comparison somewhat redundant. But, you know, it does not seem to look like that. I still think a new comment left on your wall is pretty much a slice of fried gold – it’s the one of the ultimate metrics; particularly if the purpose of your page is talking to people. Absolutely they could be commenting on stuff you’ve posted but that’s still not quite the same, or as powerful sign of engagement,  as an unsolicited, original comment – particularly one which is related to the mission of your page.

Without being able to access the back end of the Facebook insights, it’s hard to know what’s influencing the ‘are talking about’ metric on any given day – it could be  any combination of likes, comments or sharing of content. A page with a closed wall can still have a high ‘are talking about’ score, but I would argue that those pages are probably doing less for the organisation than a wall which allows, and cultivates, commenting (and if anyone knows how to make a call for the ‘Are talking about’ metric from the Facebook API I’d love to hear from you!).

Overall, this month every page dropped in the amount of activity – there was a lot of posting going on in August, presumably due to the start of the new term. Malmö and Lund continue to lead the pack for English language pages while Skövde sits at the top of the Swedish pages.

Swedish Universities English Facebook Pages – Ranked by number of comments left in September.
(If you compare this to last month, then remember that I collected data from over 3 months in the summer; rather than looking at a single month)

Page

Comments left by page friends

Malmö University

77

Lund University

68

Uppsala University

15

Jönköping University

12

Mid Sweden Uni

4

Stockholm University

Wall closed

Chalmers School of Technology

Wall closed

Stockholm School of Economics

Wall closed

Umeå University

Wall closed

There’s a +/- of around 5 going on here; and there’s a number of posts left by friends, which get included, that come pretty close to the spam category (not many though). There are not so many posts from other pages, which is interesting when you consider that most of these universities have a rich ecosystem of pages – cross posting between them would probably be beneficial for the page friends. Malmö University’s comment count was boosted by the posting of photographs, by friends of the page.

Swedish Universities Swedish Facebook Pages – Ranked by number of comments left in September.

Page

Comments left by page friends

Högskolan i Skövde

74

Linne Universitet

55

Högskolan i Borås

45

Linköping Universitet

45

Lunds Universitet

31

Mälardalans Högskola

28

Umeå universitet

26

Uppsala universitet

21

Malmö Högskola

21

KTH

19

Mittuniversitetet

19

Högskolan Väst

13

University of Borås

10

Karlstads Universitet

8

SLU

8

Högskolan i Halmstad

7

Högskolan Dalarna

7

Högskolan Kristianstad

5

BTH officiell

2

Karolinska Institutet

Posts not allowed

Royal Institute of Art

Posts not allowed

Stockholms Universitet

Posts not allowed

Mashup Pages
An awful lot of people come to your website, every day. And a lot of them don’t look at your homepage, or are there a very short space of time. If you’re relying on your homepage to draw visitors to your social media assets then you may be missing a trick. One solution is the use of mashups which provide an overview of all the social media assets from the university. Here’s some examples from some Swedish websites:

Linneuniversitet:

LNU - social media aggregator page
Borås University:

Borås University - aggregator page - social media

Borås include a feed from Twitter which shows tweets where the university is mentioned, which is very transparent.

And an example from the US: William and Mary Mashup

William and Mary Social Media Mashup
Normally I react against the ‘official’ label, but in this example I like the ‘Official’ and ‘Official-ish’ distinction!

Cool video site – ‘Test Tube’ at Nottingham University

This is really good – Nottingham university’s web video site where they have given free rein to a journalist to make mini video reportages around the university. It feels real, check out Prudence doing her viva for her PhD (only 3 hours – lucky – mine was over 4!) and Prof Poliakoff talking about his resemblance to Einstein.