Written by James Scherer
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Six Facebook Metrics Small Businesses Shouldn't Obsess Over

Is your small business struggling to make sense of the truckloads of data offered by Facebook Insights or any of the other hundred-odd analytic tools meant to ‘help’ you succeed?

In this article I’ll identify the six Facebook metrics your small business doesn’t have to obsess about. And I’ll give you the six that you do need to pay attention to.

Tweetable Takeaways for Small Businesses:

(Click to Tweet)

1. Don’t worry about Facebook likes


Page Likes are defined as the total number of people who have Liked your Page, and therefore have a chance to see your content.

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Don’t get me wrong, Page Likes still matter, but they’re not the be-all and end-all of Facebook for small businesses like people think they are. Yes, they’re great to quote at a business meeting but, to be honest, unless your business’ Fans are converting it’s just a random number.

Why you shouldn’t obsess:

Let’s think about Facebook likes, for a second, in terms of income generation. Asserting that you have beaten Facebook based on Page Likes is like claiming you’ve beaten the internet because you’re seeing a lot of website traffic. All Likes show is your potential audience. Unless you’re converting those Followers to customers it’s just another random number.

And Facebook EdgeRank will limit how many of your Fans your content reaches anyway.

It’s better to have 100 Page Likes by people who are converting weekly than 1000 who Liked your Page because you ran an iPad sweepstakes a year ago and haven’t been back since.

Focus on achieving Page Likes as a means to an end rather than an end in and of themselves. That end is, like everything in business, customer attainment and retention.

What you should watch instead: Number of People Engaged


This metric has replaced the ‘People Talking about This’ metric from the old Facebook Insights. It’s details how many people engaged (clicked, Liked, Shared or Commented on) with your Posts.

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Why you should watch it:

The Number of People Engaged metric provides you with the best assessment of how your marketing strategy has been panning out in the time frame you’ve outlined.

An example of how this is useful:

Your business, an online shoe-retailer, has recently started to implement a different Posting strategy. You’ve taken a look at one of Wishpond’s Facebook Post optimization articles and you’ve started running ‘Share vs Like’ Posts, Opinion Polls and, user-generated content requests. The Number of People Engaged metric gives you the general idea if this new strategy is good for your brand’s Facebook performance or not.

2. Ignore Ad Impressions


Ad Impressions measure the number of times your advertisement is displayed. People may see multiple impressions of the same advertisement. For example, a fan might see an Ad in their in News Feed once, and then a second time if their friend Shares, Comments, or Likes it.

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Why you shouldn’t obsess:

Ad Impressions aren’t totally meaningless, but they can give you an inflated perception of your small business’ success.

If you’re judging your Ad’s performance off Impressions you’re getting an inaccurate assessment of its efficacy. There’s no way of knowing if your Post was seen by 1.1 million people, or 100,000 people ten times.

What to watch instead: Landing Page Conversion Rates


A landing page is a page on your website with a clear value proposition and call-to-action. Your landing page is the most important part of your website as it’s where you convert a social media user into a customer.

Tracking your conversion rate is essential as without it you can’t know if all the energy you’re spending on Facebook is resulting in real income. It also helps you evaluate if there’s a need for a change, or if something you’ve recently implemented is beneficial or detrimental.

‘The best way to track a Facebook Ad’s success is with a Facebook Conversion Pixel. As a small business marketer, I highly recommend you spend 10 minutes and read Dennis Yu’s article The Most Amazing Thing You’ve Never Heard of on Facebook, followed by Jon Loomer’s Facebook Ads Conversion Tracking: How to Create an Offsite Pixel (the second one with a developer friend).

I cannot stress enough how important conversion pixels are for small businesses. They’re the only way you can know if your social media strategy is resulting in sales.

For the sake of it, here are four variables that could be affecting your small business’ landing page conversions:

  1. Make sure your call-to-action (form, button, etc.) is eye-catching: above the fold, contrasting color, big enough to see clearly, and with catchy wording

  2. Make sure your page is formatted correctly. Does everything line up? Is there too much text? Are there technical issues?

  3. Make sure the source of your landing page traffic matches the page. Are you promoting a contest on Facebook and linking to an eBook download or seminar signup?

  4. Do your targeted demographics make sense for this offer? Check out your People Engaged metric (see #6 below) to ensure you’re trafficking the right people on Facebook.

3. Ignore CPC and CPM


CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) and CPC (Cost Per Click) are exactly what they sound like, the cost of an advertisement or promoted Post divided by 1000 Impressions, and the cost of an advertisement or promoted Post divided by # of Clicks.

Why you shouldn’t obsess:

While CPM and CPC provide context, they don’t tell you how successful your advertisement is or has been in terms of anything you need to know.

What to watch instead: CPA


Cost per Action is your most important Ad metric. Simply choose which Action you want your Ad to elicit and Ads Manager will watch it for you.

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For any advertisement from which you want to an offsite conversion ( contest signup, eCommerce, an EBook, etc) you must use a Conversion Tracking Pixel. Tracking pixels are the only way to measure the off-site success of your Facebook advertisement.

Ad management is a complex topic, and many articles discuss the importance of CPA.

If you want more information about Facebook advertising metrics, I highly recommend Jon Loomer’s article How to Measure Facebook Advertising Success.

For maximizing the potential of your advertisements, and avoiding the dangers of Facebook Ad Fatigue, I highly recommend my article 4 Ways to Combat Facebook Ad Fatigue.

4. Page Views are Meaningless


This one is pretty self explanatory - Page Views are the number of times your Facebook Page was viewed by anyone over the dates you’ve chosen.

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Why you don’t need to obsess:

Facebook users spend almost all of their time in their News Feed. Unless you’re running a Facebook contest on Facebook itself you are unlikely to be driving people to your Page at all. So instead of focusing on promoting your Facebook Page itself, use Facebook Posts and Ads to move users to your business’ landing page.

What to watch instead: Post Click-Through-Rates (CTR)


CTR is the number of Facebook users who clicked on your Post or Ad (not including Likes, Shares or Comments)

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Why you should watch it:

CTR is the bottom of your Facebook content funnel. While it’s nice to know Engagement and Reach of your posts, your bottom line is knowing how many people were interested in your content enough to act on your CTA’s. Whether that’s watching a video, trafficking off-Facebook to your Landing Page or clicking a link is up to your company, but you absolutely have to know they’re doing it.

5. Ignore Post Reach


Post reach is simply the number of unique Facebook users who have seen your Post in the date range specified.

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Why you don’t need to obsess:

Your Post’s Reach is largely unimportant compared to your Post’s Engagement. As a small business you’re on Facebook to convert Fans to customers. The best way to do that is to create content that encourages a click, a comment, a Like or Share.

If you prioritize Engagement, Reach will come.

What to watch instead: Post Engagement


If Reach tells you how many people have seen your content, post engagement tells you the number of people who have interacted with it. This metric is calculated by compiling the number of Likes, Comments and Shares. It also identifies Post Clicks, but your CTR covers this variable far more effectively.

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Why you should watch it:


Having your content viewed by a lot of people is largely meaningless if they don’t interact with it. Engagement is the only measurable sign of your audience responding

In order to get the most out of your Engagement metric you have to compare it to your total reach.

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This number gives you a way to compare posts across the board. Without it you won’t know if good engagement on a specific post is due to the quality of your content, or if it was simply shown to more people.

6. Ignore People Reached


The People Reached metric tells you the demographics of fans who saw your posts versus the demographics of all your fans.

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Why you don’t need to obsess:  

The People Reached metric tells you less than the Engagement metric. You don’t particularly care about the demographics of who saw your posts - only who clicked, Liked, Shared, commented, or otherwise interacted with them.

What to watch instead: People Engaged


The Engagement Demographic graph details the age and gender of the Facebook users who engaged with your Posts

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Why you should watch it:

The People Engaged metric is vital to ensure your content is reaching your target audience.

For example:

Let’s say you represent a bath supplies company, and your business has recently decided to start producing a men’s line of shower gel. You’ve been writing Facebook Posts for the past month or so which are slowly re-targeting your audience for the upcoming product release.

With the People Engaged metric you can view if your engagement (as well as your overall Fan base) is changing, and be exact about when you feel you’ve developed enough of an active male audience to release the line.

Conclusion


Hopefully knowing which metrics you can safely ignore and which you should pay closer attention to will optimize the time and energy you’re putting into Facebook. Keep in mind the importance of CPA in advertising, CTR in Posts, and be sure to calculate your engagement rate as a percentage of Reach.

Further reading:

Now it’s your turn. Start the conversation below.

Written by James Scherer

James Scherer is the content editor at Wishpond. When he's not writing or designing for Wishpond he's risking his life biking around the city. Reach out to him on Twitter @JDScherer.