Walkthrough of New Facebook Insights

Facebook say they have listened to feedback and want to make Insights clearer and more actionable. Sounds good. Current insights are inconsistent and I always take them with a pinch of salt. With these new insights, Facebook have evidently realised that if they want to charge Facebook users to reach the fans they have already paid to acquire – there had better be some good stats available to justify all this spend to the CFO!

What’s New…

People Talking About This (PTAT)

Currently a single ambiguously achieved number Facebook are going to split this out in to its constituent parts. These will all now be reported sperately as:

  1. Page Likes
  2. People Engaged (the number of unique people who have clicked on, liked, commented on, or shared your posts)
  3. Page tags and mentions
  4. Page checkins, and other interactions on a Page.

Virality (now called ‘Engagement Rate’)

“We also heard that the virality metric in Page Insights is often used as a benchmark for Page post quality. However, this metric doesn’t include clicks in its measurement, which are a strong indicator of positive post engagement and a key piece in providing marketers with metrics around overall post quality. So moving forward, we’re including clicks in this metric and renaming ‘virality’ to ‘engagement rate’ to be clearer in our definition.”

The new insights are split in to four distinct sections; Overview, page, posts and people.

Post Insights

Facebook now give Page managers a post-specific ‘score card’, allowing you to compare positive and negative metrics together.


New Demographic Metrics (People)

You can now see the data not just for those users you have reached, but also for those who have engaged with your page. You can now break this down even further and see if people in different countries or towns ‘like’ or engage with certain content categories. E.g, you see that fans in London engage most with posts that feature black cabs, where-as those users in Wales were more prone to interact with posts about rugby…or dragons.

New Facebook Insights

New Facebook Insights


Facebook state that this will be a gradual roll-out starting with selected page managers, before becoming more widely available ‘later this summer’.

More information from the horses mouth


Facebook Comments Back In Chronological Order!

As a Facebook page manager I recently turned the air blue after discovering ‘comments’ were appearing in a seemingly random order! After a while I realised they were ordered by popularity (number of likes). I see why Farcebook did this; the cream rises to the top, the most liked comment reflects the general sentiment around a specific post and so Facebook deems that this is the one that should be seen first people people viewing that post.

ImageBut for page managers it’s been a nightmare. How to keep track of comments when they are constantly jumping up and down in the list. How to make sure you reply to each and every person that has taken the time to interact – when their comment that was at the bottom is now mid way up the list of 100 comments? (Hootsuite still displayed the comments in chronological order thank goodness).


So it was with elation today that I saw this:


Yey! You can now sort chronologically again. You’re damn right I want them displayed by ‘recent activity’.

Thank you Facebook.

P.S Don’t even get me started on Facebook hashtags. Gah!

5 Quick Tips For A Better Facebook Brand Page

I don’t know about you but I read so many generic, copycat articles concerning  Facebook advice. Most mention such things as creating ‘engaging content’ and ‘entering in to a conversation’. All completely correct of course however I’ve heard social media ‘gurus’ touting the same thing for 6-7 years. No-one ever seems to have genuine tips – until now!

Facebook logo

I manage a brand page that has 50,000+ highly engaged fans so I just wanted to share some tips that come in handy for me on a daily basis:

1. Facebook Image Sizes

This is a balancing act between sharing high quality images and making sure that those images look as good as possible within Facebook. First of all, make sure that the image you start with is at least 2mb. Then use Photoshop or which ever software you prefer (Ifranview is a good, free image resizer) and reduce the pixel size of the image. Facebook images are 403×403 px but you don’t want to go down this small as when your fans open the image it stays too small. I usually reduce the image to around 600-700 px, keeping to ratio the same as the original. This way most of the image still gets displayed in people’s newsfeeds, but there’s still a little added value in them clicking to open up the full image.

ADDITIONAL: I’m told by Luke Williams (Social Media Coordinator at the RNLI) that he resizes to 843px to ensure images look ok when ‘featured’ on a timeline.

2. Promoted Posts

Facebook ads budget

Yes, these days we pay Facebook to get fans and we then have to pay Facebook for the majority of those fans to then hear what we’ve got to say. When you go to ‘promote’ a post, Facebook will give you a list of budgets to select. Now this is anecdotal, but try selecting the highest budget possible but STOP the promotion once it’s spent however much your actual budget is.  So you have £31 to spend, set it at £500 but then pause once you’ve spent £31. I find that this seems to hugely increases the ‘pool’ of people exposed to any single post, just don’t forget to stop the promotion.

(These are quick tips, there are lots of different methods for promoting your posts within the Facebook ad manager area.)

3. Respond & React

First came one way, broadcast messaging, then came ‘two way symmetrical’ (uh oh they’re answering back and talking to each other.) Now we have this situation where brands are sharing things with fans, who share things with their friends and fans are sharing things with brands. Brands need to then make sure they share these nuggets of insight around the wider business.

You need to keep a constantly close eye on the notifications/admin area of your page. For every person that says ‘me too’ or ‘love this’ etc etc you can show fans you heard them and you’re listening, by ‘liking’ their interactions with you. If they posted a justifiably negative comment, you need to look in to that too, gather more info, speak to customer services and offer to help. If it’s a compliment about the Swindon branch – pass that on the goddam Swindon branch (they’ll love you) and tell the fan you’ve done this. If a fan says how they hate the little bit on the packaging that always rips then pass this on to Johnny in innovation/NPD – it’s just what he wants to hear!

4. Facebook To Drive Other Channels

Ok so you spent 6 months just trying to get sign off on that Facebook advertising budget. You don’t HAVE to use that for building just your Facebook page, you can use it to cross-pollinate your social platforms! If you’ve just started your Pinterest account, you may have noticed that there is no Pinterest advertising. Same for Instagram.  Share a photo as part of a post and then expand on that image by creating a board of similar images on Pinterest. Link to this board “more over on our Pinterest page <link>”,  from your Facebook post and promote the post – voila a bunch of people wil now visit you on Pinterest and you’ll see that follower count increase. There are many other ways to get the most out of your Pinterest page…

5. Devil’s In The Detail

Just because Facebook generally allows for a casual, more informal tone of voice, this doesn’t mean you can allow the quality to drop. In fact, you may find that your Facebook fans, being the committed, passionate bunch they are will be very helpful and forthcoming in correcting any mistakes. Double check everything, then check it again. Then check the links. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t allow you to preview photos so set up a ‘test’ Facebook page to avoid sideways or pixelated photos. If you’re not sure how something’s spelled, look it up in the dictionary. Old school I know but useful to be able to cite the OED when you get in to the whole US vs UK spelling discussions…

Thomas Cook Facebook ‘Fiasco’

Yes the word fiasco is in inverted commas, because it’s not a fiasco on Thomas Cook’s behalf, but rather a good example of guerrilla social PR by another, lesser known travel company.

And i’m going to defend Thomas Cook from the nay-sayers – here’s why:

What happened?

Well in summary, a bloke who was also called Thomas Cook posted on the travel brand Thomas Cook’s Facebook page demanding that, as he’d had to endure 26 years of daunting as a result of sharing a name, he was owed a free holiday. Thomas Cook quite rightly responded with the fact that they can’t go around giving a free holiday to every Tom, Dick and Tom and Tom! That would put them in a real financial pickle, which they really don’t need at the moment what with being £1.3bn in debt.

Here’s the actual conversation (image thanks to @digitim)


Thomas Cook! You fools! Why did you not seize upon this opportunity to give this freeloading chancer a free holiday? Think of the PR that would have been gained!

Correction – Thomas Cook would have gained little exposure had they succumbed to this request. The reason the story became so huge and reached the front page of Reddit, was the fact that this other company came in and offered the holiday to Thomas Cook, on Thomas Cook’s own page. That’s where the story lies.

This, I believe, is social media at it’s worst. It is cyber brand bullying. Social peer pressure. Of course there must be a level of value exchange, an eye for an eye, you share that interesting and relevant content Mr Brand and i’ll like your page and, if you’re lucky, share it with all my friends… But free holidays for sharing the same name? Give me break.

Let’s take the medium out of the equation. If this guy had run in to a Thomas Cook shop on the high street and shouted at the agents “I WANT A FREE HOLIDAY! GIMME GIMME GIMME!” would they have complied? No. They’d have asked him to leave and when he didn’t they’d have called the police. Why so different on ‘social media?’.

Free Thomas Cook Holiday!

Thomas Cook’s response was that if they gave this one Thomas Cook a free holiday, this would set a precedent and meaning they should pay for ALL Thomas Cooks to have a free holiday. Sure enough, later on, another Thomas Cook, this time based in America posted a request for a free holiday. Quite rightly, Thomas Cook have set out their stall, i.e. ‘No way, you’re not having a free holiday…’ LowCostHolidays.com on the other hand have kindly paid for Thomas Cooks trip to Paris. So are they now going to pay for all the other Thomas Cooks to have trips to Paris? I doubt it, but that’s not very fair now is it?


All reminiscent of when E4 started posting on ITV and Sky’s Facebook pages and responding to their fans.

I particularly like this, perhaps Thomas Cook should jump in on that post and offer her a free holiday – this could go on forever:


So well done Lowcostholidays.com, great guerrilla marketing, but there’s no need to berate Thomas Cook for what was simply a very clever move by a smaller competitor. Now i’m off to change my name by deed poll to Lamborghini.

New Facebook Changes – A Laymans Summary

More as a way to summarise the updates for myself, here is a review of the changes announced by team Zuckerburg yesterday. There appear to be two sides to the changes – on the one hand we have the changes that ‘Joe Blogs Facebook user’ will care about and on the other, the new Open Graph API that (Facebook hope) will have developers drooling over and will deliver “real time serendipity”.

Facebook themselves split the changes in to three; Your Cover, Your Stories & Your Apps.

Your Cover – Is the header to the new ‘Timeline’ profile that features a main, banner like photo that Facebook say should ‘represent you best’.

 Underneath your header there will now be an area all about YOU called ‘Your Stories’. This section of a users Timeline will detail photos, posts, videos and anything else that may tell people about who you are, what you do and what you’re about.

‘Your Apps’ will be at the lower end of your Timeline. This is the part that Facebook were perhaps the most excited about. Basically Facebook will now be partnering with any service that they might be able to connect with Facebook allowing your Timeline you be an interest aggregator. Users can add the Spotify app for example which will allow your Facebook friends to see which tracks you have listened to.

A whole host of new apps will be introduced including ones from news sources like The Guardian and The Independent, online video and TV streaming  through Netflix or Hulu and other music apps such as Mixcloud and Soundcloud.

Open Graph

Developers will now be able to tap in to Facebook in ways that weren’t possible before using the updated Open Graph API. As Facebook say on this new way of working “The opportunities are endless, such as building an app for runners to share their routes and achievements, photographers to feature the photos they take, and music lovers to share their playlists and top albums with friends. Develop Open Graph apps that will make Timeline the personal, expressive page we believe it can be.”

The new developer options will be based around what Facebook call a Graph Rank which will give prominence in news feeds to apps that users find engaging. New app analytics will allow developers to monitor their apps activity and so optimise apps for an increased Graph Rank.


I don’t think all these changes amount to the world changing, redefinition of social networking that sites such as Mashable would have had us believe in the pre-launch hype.

Most people use Facebook as either a simple communication tool, whether through comments, FB messages or FB chat. They like to look at other folks photos or if they have a bit of time to spare, flick down through the most recent status updates. But how often does one visit another user’s profile page? Are you really bothered about going to someone else’s ‘Timeline’ to find out all about them? Or they use it to have a nosey at other user’s pictures…

Facebook is basing its latest direction on the assumption that users will become content creaters. It’s going to take a long time to get your timeline looking good. You;re going to have to choose which photo’s best portray you (or how you’d like to be perceived). You need to opt in to each of the apps you want to interact with and feed your profile with regular ‘stories’ about what you’re doing.

Maybe this is exactly what people have been waiting for…however I fear it might lead to a graveyard of features and apps and half completed Timelines. We’ll see. Once i’ve been able to have a proper play with it then the new Facebook’s usefulness may become clearer.

I think the top two comments on Facebook’s own blog sum up the divide in opinion perfectly…

Looks like the comment ‘the world changes, get used to it’ has proved the most popular with Facebookers.

Here’s a video that Robert Scoble took from the front row of the Faceboook F8 presentation

Facebook Allowing You To Login/Comment/Receive Notifications As A Page

Last night as I was managing a couple of my Facebook pages, I realised there were 6 outstanding notifications…Strange, I thought i’d just cleared all of my notifications (i’m a little anal like that, can’t have any outstanding messages, notifications or events!). Upon clicking on the notifications icon I found that all 6 related to activity on my Facebook Fan Page. The ‘Account’ drop down menu allowed me to switch between accounts (each page I admin being listed as an individual account). Also, tabs were listed down the left hand column allowing easier editing.

Most importantly, it allowed me to comment/like and roam around Facebook as my page. Surely this is what brands need in order to engage fully. As it is, they have to set up their stall and use various methods and tactics to drive users to their fan page.

Anyway, when I logged in this morning all of that was gone. I just wish i’d taken a screenshot! It must be something they were testing and about to roll out imminently…


This was an accidental update by Facebook which they have since reversed http://mashable.com/2010/12/16/facebook-prototype-features/