What Do Facebook Impressions Tell Us?

25th Nov, 2010

This week Facebook Page admins have been provided with a new metric for their Page Insights – Post Impressions and Feedback. Previously this information was only available to pages with over 10,000 fans. It’s now available to smaller pages, on posts made since June 25th this year. These are useful numbers to have access to, after all now we can gauge how individual page posts perform, outside of just the number of likes and comments.

Impressions & Feedback

The ‘impressions’ figure accounts for the total number of times a post has appeared on the wall or in a fans newsfeed, this may also include impressions gathered from social plug in’s on external websites such as a like box or activity feed. The feedback figure per post is based on the amount of comments and likes attained for that post. It’s displayed as a percentage of the Impressions figure.

These statistics are available in Insights under interactions and under each post on the wall (don’t worry its only visible to the Page admins). These are the total figures for those individual posts, but impressions per day and feedback per day figures are also available. The impressions per day figure (for all posts) is displayed as the ‘daily post views’ figure, and the ‘daily post feedback’ number is displayed as a percentage of the daily views.

What does this mean for Page Admins?

Well for one page admins now have a bit more information as to how often their content is appearing in newsfeeds.  I say its useful because I’ve often received feedback on posts from people I know who have contacted me by another method. In other words while they didn’t comment or like the post on Facebook, they were viewing it. Until now we have had no real way to know just how many potential eyeballs were viewing the content.  While the number of unique impressions would be a more useful metric to have, Facebook mention on their official blog that figure is not available at this time, so fingers crossed for the future. For now we will gladly take how many times this has appeared online.

The individual post feedback will vary from page to page, depending on how many fans you have. This is because it’s a percentage of impressions. So while pages grow overtime, leading to more impressions, the percentage amount of people who leave comments or click ‘like’ will not grow at the same pace. This means that the feedback figure will decrease overtime as more and more impressions are gained.

How can we use these figures?

For one I’d suggest looking at the amount of impressions posts receive to see if there’s any correlation between the success of individual posts. I would be looking at content type, did it include a link, a photo or video, and  what time it was posted at. All of these may indicate why some posts have higher impression figures. This is something to be examined over a certain time frame to allow for any discrepancies. Also some posts, such as news of a special offer, may automatically do much better than a post not offering anything.

Similarly monitoring the feedback statistic for content, media, day and time it was posted could reveal why certain content is performing better than others. While I mentioned that the percentage of feedback may decrease overtime as impressions increase, I would look at trying to maintain a steady feedback percentage for two reasons. First it shows that quality of page posts is being maintained, and also that as fans grow more are becoming engaged with the content. Sudden dips or peaks in this figure should be examined to understand their cause.