Clicking on a post in the Timeline tab of your ActionSprout accounts opens a side drawer filled with information and metrics. This guide will walk you through what they all mean and how to read them.
Engagement rate and virality
At the very top of the drawer you’ll find your first two pieces of data, Engagement rate and Virality:
Engagement rate: Number of people engaged with the post over the number of people reached.
In the example above 22% of folks who saw the post in their timeline also engaged with the post. Anything over 11% is good for engagement rate. Engagement is one of the most important metrics you can track on Facebook so be sure to pay attention to this one! Engagement, more than anything else, will move the dial for your cause. Engagement is most closely related to action, whether digital or physical. Engagement should always be your number one goal on Facebook.
Virality: The percentage of reach that was viral compared to the percentage of reach that was organic.
In the example above 35% of the post’s reach was viral. That means 35% of people who saw that post, saw it because a friend liked, commented or shared it. A few factors help make a piece of content viral:
- Someone shared your post on their timeline. This meant the post reached their network in addition to your own.
- When supporters engage with your post, by liking or commenting, their networks can sometimes see this activity in their feed as well. If someone saw this activity from a friend and then also engaged with the post that’s viral engagement.
- The link gets out anyway beyond your normal audience without your own doing or paying for reach.
Next you’ll find the overall performance of your post compared to the average of your last roughly 500 posts:
This is how your post compared to your past content not the content on Facebook in general. In other words you’re racing against your personal best, no one else’s.
This section will appear in a few different colors for quick reference. In the example above the post is above average by 34%. All above average posts are green.
The following post is at average, or 100%. You’ll see it appears grey:
The last post has performed below average and is thus red:
This section acts as a quick reference to show you the overall success of your post. Clearly the more green you see the better, grey means you’re being consistent or plateauing and red is not something you want to see too much of.
A quick note on underperforming posts: this is something that can be minimized but not completely avoided. Facebook and your audience are always shifting and changing. Sometimes a post is too new to have much engagement yet. What worked one day won’t work the next. You may have bad days, post at the wrong time or be overshadowed by a tending story outside of your cause.
This is all normal and to be expected. As such there will always be an element of trial and error when using Facebook. Thus having underperforming posts isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
When you should be alarmed is if you notice an ongoing trend of underperforming posts with little else. If this goes on for more than a week or so you’ll want to reevaluate your posting strategy.
The second to last section is your Engagement Summary. This is a much more broken down, granular look at the post’s engagement than the percentages above:
The first row of data are your likes, comments and shares. These metrics are pretty straightforward. Depending on your goals and mission you and your organization may weigh one higher than the others.
In general likes reflect the lowest effort and expressed interest from your supporters. A like is better than nothing but is overall the least effort to give.
Comments come next. Comments take a lot more time than likes, require more thought, attention and interest to your cause. They also reflect the fact that the supporter(s) in question don’t mind weighing in publicly on the issue. This is a biggie on Facebook, as users are hyper aware of this fact and how they act on the platform.
Lastly are shares. While sharing a post takes less effort than commenting I would argue it’s the most valuable of the three. Sharing means the person connected with the post in such a way they wanted to be seen sharing it by their network. They wanted it to be linked to them as an individual and appear on their personal timeline.
The next two metrics, People engaged and Views/Clicks are a bit less commonplace.
People engaged is the raw counterpart of the percentage at the top. This is the raw, unprocessed number of folks who engaged with your post in any way.
Views/clicks will be unique to the format of the post in question. In the example above you can see we’re looking at a image post. This view count reflects the number of times folks clicked on the image to view it.
In the case of link posts clicks reflect the number of times someone wished to read more:
The last section you’ll find is People Reached. Reach comes in three buckets reflected in this section.
Organic reach is any reach you earned without paying for it or earning through virality. You simply posted a piece of content to Facebook and your audience engaged with it.
Viral reach is similar to organic in that you didn’t pay for it. The difference is you reached well beyond your “normal” audience base. Someone shared your post or the activity on the post was seen by others. The key here is the post was seen by many outside of your fan base.
Paid reach means you gave Facebook money to reach more people with your post. You may have clicked the “boost post” button on Facebook, created an ad or used ActionSprout and SmartAds to boost your post.