Facebook has certainly become the king of the Internet, with reportedly 400 million users, averaging several hours a day of usage. The potential exposure can be a business owner’s dream. But how can businesses know that it is leading to effective results?
With some understanding of the analytics available, business owners can translate their Facebook goals into metrics they can use to market their products and services.
Facebook ads are pay-per-click advertising. They have room for an image and a limited amount of text. You can monitor daily ad performance, such as number of impressions, clicks, click-through rate, and some demographics data.
There are a few ways to capture analytics data from a given ad campaign. One way is to tag the URLs used in a Facebook ad. Another way is to connect the ads to a landing page that has an embedded analytics tag.
A third option (in beta at this writing) is a Facebook conversion tracking code. This is a code provided by Facebook that allows users to register conversion events attributed to clicks on Facebook ads. Conversion events are the actions you want to see on your site, such as downloads, registration for an event, or purchases. Page views and funnel analysis are also possible as well as enhanced reporting that covers post-impression and post-click data.
Facebook Fan Page
Facebook Insights provides a measure of fan interaction by allowing page administrators to gauge interest in the page content.
There are Fan Page demographics measurements, such as age, sex, and geographic location of each fan. Facebook Insights also indicates the quality of the Fan Page posts. This guides the administrator in selecting post content that attracts people consistently. This tool has a similar function to Twitter tools that measure interaction over time (see Three Steps to Measure Marketing Success on Twitter for examples).
Facebook Insights analyzes behavior on the Fan Page or on websites that contain one of the Facebook plug-ins, such as the “like” or “share” buttons. Insights uses a five-star rating system to indicate how well a Fan Page is doing relative to others similar in size and scope. There are also means to monitor the number of “likes” and the number of times fans have used the reviews application to rate your Fan Page. All of these features help guide the building of Fan Page interaction and ultimately increase mindshare with fans.
There are currently few low-cost options that provide automatic integration of the Fan Page behavior into an analytics dashboard. The most integrated solutions are enterprise-level offerings such as Webtrends Facebook Analytics and Coremetrics as well as an application measurement solution in Omniture Site Catalyst. These integration solutions produce detailed analysis simply and efficiently.
Apps have been a great way to engage customers, and marketers are just starting to use tools to measure their value to app users. Like Facebook Ads, Facebook Apps rely on Facebook Insights for app user data such as page views, giving app creators a means for engagement measurement.
There are a few analytics solutions available that incorporate app engagement, with most available in the enterprise suites. Omniture has an app measurement solution that is included with its Site Catalyst suite, and full social media measurement tools are incorporated into analytics suites from Coremetrics and Webtrends.
These analytics options are just one piece of a company’s marketing strategy. By combining all these pieces, you can get a good picture of the effectiveness of your Facebook marketing strategy.
Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a consultancy providing strategic analysis to small and midsize businesses that rely on Web analytics data.