How to Use Facebook Insights: Three Case Studies

Facebook is a big deal. It has a billion users who use the site for exceptional periods of time. They are increasingly accessible to businesses thanks to Facebook’s advertising products.

But let’s face it: Facebook marketing isn’t easy.

Facebook InsightsA steady stream of self-interested studies pepper the Internet making it very difficult to determine a sound course of action. Adding to the noise are reports like the Guardian U.K.’s expose of Indonesian Facebook “Like” farms.

Any business that hasn’t wondered about the value of its Facebook presence probably isn’t paying much attention. This is why sound measurement tools are an important aspect for any campaign.

Let’s take a look at Facebook’s organic Insights tool, and how a few businesses are using this data to make their Facebook campaigns more effective.

A brief Facebook Insights primer…

Facebook changed their Insights product this past summer to make it more useful for businesses (Vocus’s Stacey Miller wrote a phenomenal article detailing how to navigate and glean insights from the tool which I highly recommend checking out).

Insights also segregates organic discovery from paid, which makes it a useful tool for any business using Facebook.

Facebook Insights has four tabs:

  • Overview – this gives you a high level look at Likes, reach, engagement and details for the last few posts
  • Page – this gives you total Likes, deviance, and the source of new Likes
  • Posts – this gives you data on when your fans are online and the most effective types of posts
  • People – this gives specific demographic data about how a businesses Facebook Fans

Insights also gives you the opportunity to export data to a .csv or .xls file, which is a great feature especially for evaluating bigger data sets. I never feel satisfied with a data set unless I can put it in a pivot table and use a vlookup on it.

Need help with social media measurement? Click here for a free guide!

Let’s take a look at how businesses are using Insights to make their Facebook campaigns more effective:

Startup Second Gear Sports makes sure fans are local

Mark and Ellen Bremen run Second Gear Sports, a sport equipment consignment store in West Seattle.

If you’re not familiar with Seattle, West Seattle is a somewhat isolated area of Seattle, accessible by only two points from the main city. The idea for Second Gear Sports sprouted from Mark’s frustration about having to travel long distances to find sports equipment for his kids. Geography is important to their business.

Second Gear SportsFacebook is important as well. For a business that relies on quick inventory turns, sharing new items on Facebook (in addition to other means). Second Gear has seen an increase in Facebook-generated interest by using Facebook Insights to make sure that they’re targeting the right people (remember that they can’t focus on Seattle-proper, they have to focus on West Seattle).

Because Facebook Insights isn’t able to segregate between West Seattle and Seattle proper, Second Gear Sports relies on a baseline of organic and paid fans from West Seattle. They rely on post content metrics to maximize the effectiveness of their content, engagement metrics to see that customers are increasingly talking about their content, and demographic data to make sure that their paid and organic Fans are valuable location-specific fans.

As a result of their efforts on Facebook (and other initiatives), Second Gear Sports has received a lot of added attention and business since opening this past summer.

Clorox discovers that customers love big coupons

Clorox Green Works is a line of environmentally conscious cleaning products launched a few years ago. They have more than 170K Facebook Fans, but get a very small degree of engagement on any particular post.

To launch their detergent product, they developed a coupon for their Facebook Fans giving them $3 off of a purchase. They had already been somewhat successful engaging Facebook Fans with a $1 coupon with the launch of another cleanser, so they did it again hoping for similar results.

It kind of blew up. Facebook Insights showed that their detergent coupon was their most successful digital coupon (in terms of engagement) compared to previous campaigns that they bench-marked. Nielsen later estimated that engagement around the coupon may have generated a 7% intent to purchase and more than 12% increase in brand awareness.

By having the benchmarks from previous campaigns and comparing them to future campaigns, Clorox was able to discover a tactic that drove more sales and awareness than the others. It turns out that people like big coupons, and Facebook Insights vetted that fact out.

Braxton Animal Works develops content based upon Insights

In Moz’s recent search engine factor rankings, Facebook Shares were highly correlative with a high SERP position.

Of course this can’t be causative because Google only has access to a small portion of Facebook’s content. So it makes sense that content that is popular on Facebook has a high likelihood of being popular elsewhere.


This being the case, Braxton Animal Works does something clever with Facebook Insights: develop content using Facebook’s metrics.

Braxton Animal Works – a pet supply company – evaluates its content using Facebook Insights. They take a look at what content is getting reach, what content is engaged and what type of content is well received – and then seeks to replicate their success.

The results are pretty clear: with about 1,000 Facebook Fans (1/170th of Clorox’s Green Works), they have a similar amount of engagement on each post.

Businesses using Facebook face a litany of noisy, irrelevant tactics. Everything from buying followers to spending way too much time doing things of nominal value. This is why businesses need sound metrics for their efforts.

Facebook Insights won’t give you everything you need, but it’s a good place to start.

Jim Dougherty is an expert on social media and technology who blogs at Leaders WestFor more marketing advice from Jim, click here.



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