This article was published on November 27, 2012

Facebook testing new analytics to help Page owners understand how fans find their updates

Facebook testing new analytics to help Page owners understand how fans find their updates

Facebook Pages could be getting a new analytic metric soon, based on testing that the social network has done over the past few months. Seen in the wild, at least some Pages administrators are now able to see the breakdown of who’s viewed specific posts by organic and viral means.

UPDATE: By way of clarification, although this feature is already well established on Facebook Pages, it appears that what is new is that these stats are now available for posts to Pages made not by Page administrators, but by visitors who have Liked the Page. We will update with further clarification as soon as we have heard from Facebook.

Normally, administrators will see within each of their posts a count of how many people saw a specific post. However, some users are reporting that, by hovering their mouse over it, a pop-up window will appear that will show you how many came directly from your post and how many were from a friend of a friend. In addition, the new metric will show how that specific story ranks against the most popular one of that Page’s existence.

Facebook Pages screenshot -- new analytics

The introduction of this new form of measurement is quite coincidental in light of the recent controversy surrounding what some are claiming to be decreased page reach, allegedly in order to increase most usage of promoted posts. As the social network rolls out more feeds to its network in order to filter and reduce the noise one receives from their News Feed, one might surmise that there needs to be better way to track from where these referrals are coming from.

Since Facebook is a person-referred network, meaning that any source of traffic is going to come from an individual, rather than a webpage, brands and Pages administrators are going to know that someone recommended that particular story. But what they don’t know is the reach of that story. Think of it like the popular game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”: how many degrees of separation can your post go to be viewed and shared? Is it going to go as far as a subscriber or will it go from the subscriber to their friend and to their family and then to their friends? Naturally, each degree will open up a whole new population to discover the content and increase a Page’s audience.

Earlier this month, the social network said that the News Feed was for engaging content while the Pages Feed was for everything else. If this gets rolled out, it has the potential to become invaluable for Page admins that want to know how engaging their content is. One might gather that if a particular story is viewed organically, it’s at least a 50-50 chance that it was viewed in the News Feed. If it was viewed virally, then that might be a start in evaluating that it was an engaging post and therefore was shared in the News Feed of others versus the Pages Feed.

For administrators, simply seeing how many people viewed a story isn’t necessarily sufficient for their tastes. What they probably want to see are metrics that show them the reach of their stories — has it gone beyond their subscription base and if it’s gone to a new set of folks who might be interested in what the Page has to share.

No word yet on whether this new measurement will be rolled out to the masses. We’ve contacted Facebook for comment and will certainly update this if we hear back.

Photo credit: RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images

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