Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and video games in particular. You can reach him on Twitter, circle him on Google+ and connect with him on LinkedIn.
If you’re a business with a Facebook page, it’s important to know exactly how people are interacting with it day in, day out. There’s simply no point in wasting time and energy posting status updates or links if they’re not resonating with your customers. That’s where analytics comes in.
Facebook Insights is meant to provide page owners with useful metrics, such as the total number of fans, total number of new Likes, the sources of those Likes and the demographics of users interacting with the page. All of this data comes in a pretty raw format though, spewing out a dizzying amount of numbers and graphs for you to try and interpret.
PageLever wants to make analysing Facebook data a whole lot easier. It’s a Y Combinator-backed startup that we covered last summer, while it was still in stealth beta and ironing out the kinks. We were pretty impressed with how it could fine-point particular details about our own Facebook page by using the Facebook Insights API in new and interesting ways.
The Next Web has found it invaluable. Knowing that when posts include an image, for example, it leads to a much higher engagement with readers is crucial for understanding what works and what doesn’t. Knowing how many unique visitors come to your Facebook page, rather than just impressions in your stream, is also vital for keeping track of how your community is growing.
Going forward, it wants to help marketeers manage their Facebook pages more effectively. PageLever Now, which the company is launching today, sits alongside its existing product, renamed PageLever Analytics, to help community managers and other Facebook users monitor page activity in real-time. It’s all been made possible thanks to an update to the Insights API which Facebook announced back in April over on its developers blog.
It means PageLever users can now see how well posts are faring at any moment. It’s a crucial update, as it allows page owners to see what is causing interest and react to that interest before it fades away again. If a particular link to an article is causing massive amounts of traffic, for example, a PageLever user can now spot it and then hold off on the next post until their fans have stopped sharing and discussing it. On the flipside, users can see when posts are dropping out of the Facebook newsfeed and schedule new posts to stimulate interest.
Will it be useful for everyone? Jeff Widman, co-founder of PageLever told The Next Web:
“A lot of it comes down to how active they are on Facebook. If they’re just logging in once a day and then posting something, real-time analytics is not going to matter so much. But if they’re logging in a couple of times a day and they’re saying hey, people are commenting and liking my posts, I really need to see this stuff…or if I’m mangaing multiple pages in particular, then they’re going to say, ‘hey I want to see this stuff immediately.’ So anyone that has a half time job as a Community Manager, it’s going to be very useful.”
The new page management screen is brilliant to use too. It’s much more elegant than PageLever Analytics, with clear graphs and color coded posts underneath. Posts are ranked in order of how active they are, rather than the time at which they were posted, to keep you focused on what Facebook users are interacting with. Highlighting the post will show you where it sits on the ‘Reach’ graph above, and gives you quick access to all of the most important statistics including comments, Likes, shares and clicks. The ‘unseen comments’ section in particular is useful for marketeers to keep track of user interactions; especially if they’re asking questions or have problems that need addressing.
PageLever Now can also be used to manage upcoming posts and status updates. The dropdown at the top of the page will be familiar to any regular Facebook user, but it also has a date and time entry on the right hand-side that allows you to schedule posts for later. The search tab below can be used to find any existing posts on Facebook, but perhaps more interestingly, it can also be used to grab images and text that can then be used in your own. The calendar tab, meanwhile, allows you to see every scheduled post and when it’s due to be published.
The final feature to be rolled out with PageLever Now is ‘Recent Alerts’. Sitting in the bottom left of the screen, it acts as a ticker, notifying you whenever anything important happens on a page. Useful if, say, you want to track comments on a particular post or be notified whenever the page hits a certain level of reach.
So why has PageLever focused down so much on Facebook? Why not focus on analytics for Twitter, Google+ or any other social network?
“Facebook is the gorrila in the room of social networks,” Widman told us. “Secondly, Facebook is the only company that really has the infrastructure to allow us to extract this kind of data. Instagram has it a little bit, but it’s also fairly small compared to Facebook. When we’ve looked at Twitter or we’ve looked at LinkedIn, they just don’t really have the infrastructure where we can pull this information out.”
However, the UI of PageLever has been designed specifically so that more social networks could be added in the future. “Absolutely,” Widman said. “It’s in our plans going forward.”
Since its inception, PageLever has been working with a number of high profile clients including YouTube, Microsoft and Unicef, to help them figure out in particular which topics, images and other content generates the most shares and interaction. Pricing for the updated tool starts at $99 a month, but if you’re curious to see how it all works first there’s a free trial available on the company’s website.
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