With almost 3 billion users worldwide and status as the fourth most visited site in the world, Facebook is undoubtedly an essential part of any marketing strategy. However, knowing the most important metrics with which to measure your success on this platform can be a challenge. For example, the number of ‘likes’ on a post usually isn’t as significant as you might think.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some important Facebook algorithm changes over the years and what they mean for businesses. We’ll also discuss the most important metrics to track. Let’s get started!
How Does the Facebook Algorithm Work (and What Does it Mean for Businesses)?
The Facebook algorithm is responsible for which posts users see and in what order they appear. Facebook ultimately wants to maximize the time spent—and the number of ads seen—on its platform. It also wants that time to be meaningful to users, and prioritizes content accordingly.
In 2016, Facebook began prioritizing the content users spent the most time on, regardless of whether the post was liked or shared. Further updates resulted in changes to the algorithm that weighed ‘reactions’ more than likes and placed more emphasis on ‘meaningful interactions’ (i.e. comments).
Since 2019, Facebook has also included the Why am I seeing this post? feature, which enables users to view information explaining why specific content is in their feeds:
To work with the algorithm and ensure your content isn’t filtered out, it’s essential that you provide useful, engaging posts. One way to do this is by researching your audience’s interests and what sort of content they’re currently engaging with. Sharing industry news can also prompt discussion.
Do Facebook ‘Likes’ Really Matter?
In certain terms, the like metric is not significant. One study shows that only 1% of users who like a page may actually engage with its content. Getting 5,000 new likes in a week is not impressive if only 30 of your new fans actually read and respond to your posts.
In other words, simply clicking on the Like button is not a show of investment or commitment. It requires no time or effort on the part of the user, and doesn’t even necessarily mean they’re familiar with your brand, interested in your products, or paying attention to your posts.
Never fear, however. There are still ways to use Facebook effectively to promote your business, namely through quality engagement. Even users who haven’t liked your page may see your content in their feeds if their friends comment on or share your posts.
The 3 Most Important Facebook Metrics for Businesses
As we’ve seen, the number of likes a page receives is a fairly insignificant metric and is not a true determinant of how many people your brand is reaching on Facebook. However, there are several metrics that do matter, such as the three listed below.
One of the most important metrics you should be tracking is the amount of engagement your content receives. This includes comments as well as reactions, both of which are significant to the Facebook algorithm.
To check your engagement rate using Facebook Insights, click on the Insights tab on your business page’s home screen:
Next, look for the Post Engagement metric. This will show you the number of times people engaged with your content through reactions, comments, clicks, and shares.
You’ll want to increase engagement by regularly posting useful content to attract users who’ve previously liked your page. Experimenting with time and frequency to find out when to post is also smart.
Other ways you can increase engagement include sharing information unique to your brand, livening up your posts with photos and videos, organizing polls, asking for captions for pictures, encouraging shares, or even soliciting content from followers.
Reach refers to the number of unique viewers for a post. The more people who see your post, the better, as this can drive brand recognition. Using the Post Reach metric in Facebook Insights, you can see how many people have viewed your posts, including paid content such as ads:
The Reach metric is more useful than the number of likes you receive for measuring the success of your Facebook marketing campaigns. Your content may be reaching a wider audience than your likes may indicate since, as we mentioned earlier, friend activity will show up in users’ newsfeeds.
To improve your reach, you’ll need to play into the Facebook algorithm so that your posts show up near the top of users’ feeds. That means driving engagement as described above, as well as encouraging sharing.
3. Content Sharing Rate
The number of shares your posts receive can help you determine whether or not you are creating content that resonates with your audience. This will come in handy when you need to (re)evaluate your content strategy.
Sharing involves users reposting your content on their own feeds, which means users who don’t follow you or normally see your posts may discover your presence on Facebook. This can help increase your reach as well as brand recognition.
The Likes, Comments, and Shares metrics are included in the Reach tab in Facebook Insights. Note that the numbers here do not count interactions that take place after a post has been shared to someone else’s page.
So, if one of your followers shares your post, and then one of their friends shares it again from your follower’s page, it still only counts as one share. Regardless, this number can give you an idea of how many people think your content is valuable enough to distribute to their friends.
Focusing on the right metrics is one of the most important aspects of any marketing strategy. However, while the number of likes on a post might seem an obvious measure of its success, metrics such as engagement, reach, and shares are more useful determinants of a financially viable audience.
Which metrics have you found most useful in your Facebook campaigns? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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