Friday, 2 September 2011

How do you measure success on facebook? Monthly Active Users?

Measuring success in Social Media is difficult.

If you promote your business on facebook through anything but a page (which contravenes facebook rules and could be deleted at any time!), you're up against it from the start. With a Personal Profile or a Group, you can gauge your progress through the number of friends or members you have and how many 'likes' and comments you get, but that only shows part of the picture.

Interaction, such as 'likes' and comments, is an indicator that a user has actually noticed you and paid attention, but many users only like to watch, so many more may have seen you.

How many people have visited you? How many times have your posts been seen?

With a Group or Personal Profile you just don't know, but with a Page, there's a detailed statistics package called 'Insights' already included. There's a lot of interesting data, such as geographic, gender and age demographics, with many indicators on how you're doing.

One particularly interesting feature is the Monthly Active Users (MAU) and this may well be the single best indicator of how a page's effectiveness. In faceboook's words, MAU is;

"The number of people who have interacted with or viewed your Page or its posts. This includes interactions from fans and non-fans."

So, this statistic tells you how many people you've reached, which at the end of the day, is what you want to know.

Let's look at some example facebook Pages that I have admin rights to;

This is one of our most successful pages, for a great company who offer 'high wire adventure courses' around the country. It has lots of great interaction, and even though the MAU is lower than the fan number, that's still a great reach.
Fans -6,244
MAU - 4,574

Our own page provides marketing hints, tip, and case studies, as well as insight in to what we do. There's really great content, but we're often too busy doing great work for a clients to spread it around enough, which accounts for the relatively low MAU.
Fans - 422
MAU - 251

This is the page for a chain of jewellers based in Hull. We've only recently taken over the admin for the page, but by introducing a regular content strategy and interacting with larger, relevant pages, have increased MAU by over 1,000% in little over a month.
Fans - 222
MAU - 1,402

A personal project, recently launched, looking to gauge opinion on an area of Hull. The difference here is huge and shows that just because your fan numbers are low, it doesn't necessarily mean that your reach is too.
Fans - 63
MAU - 1,213

The last two examples are very interesting. How can there be such a huge difference between fan numbers and the amount of people who see content, when 'likes' and comments seem so low on the pages themselves?

The answer is the 'share' link.

There is no indication on the page or in the 'insights' of how many times a post has been shared. It would be a hugely useful statistic for facebook to offer Page admins, but it's the only factor I can see to explain the disparity. I've examined page view data, i.e. when people come across or visit the page, and that comes no where close.

Though comments and 'likes' look great to visitors, the 'share' link is far more powerful in reaching a larger audience, yet it's the most difficult to measure. MAU could be a way, but the sooner Facebook introduce a concrete figure into Insights, the better.

Next week we'll look at how to maximise the impact of 'share'.

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