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5 Ways to Measure Facebook Fan Engagement

As a CMI reader, your business is probably considering building out a  Facebook fan page.

Although Forrester Research predicts 2011 will be the year when marketers will begin to “think outside the Facebox,” C-suite business leaders and content marketers alike can’t deny the attractiveness of establishing a presence inside the social behemoth that is now an online home to more than a half-billion people.

The reasons for building out your company’s Facebook page will depend on your unique business objectives. However, I believe a more universal standard can be found in terms of measuring the success of your efforts on Facebook.

This post outlines five ways to interpret the free data provided by Facebook Insights. We’ll also explain how to establish an engagement dashboard that displays increases or decreases in activity against established baselines.

What tool do we use to compile the data?  You may be surprised to learn that in a lot of cases a simple and cost-effective Google or Excel spreadsheet built with the right basic formulas will do the trick.

1.  Week-over-week percentage of change

For Incept’s Facebook Page (a client), we’ve found that using Insights data to track the percentage of change has provided a good lens into the results that specific types of content generate.

Because of how quickly real-time conversations occur, we found that month-over-month analysis created challenges to adjust the content strategy quickly when fan feedback indicated that change was needed.  Tracking Insights data as a percentage of week-over-week change, however, gives our content creators the agility to sustain long-term growth in all areas.


2.  Percentage of fan base growth or decline

As the saying goes, “if a tree falls in the forest and no one  hears it, did it really make a sound?”  Unfortunately, this is a situation that content marketers often find themselves in.

The most creative and community-relevant content will not be heard if there are not enough people in your target audience who “like” or follow your fan page. Today, Facebook Insights provides the following data:

  • New likes
  • Lifetime likes

By simply tracking the percentage of new likes against lifetime likes, it becomes much easier to determine your fan base’s average rate of increase or decrease over time.  You can also track the growth of your fan base building efforts during the course of your campaign by measuring the number of fans at the start of your efforts compared to the most recent weekly number of fans.

3.  Percentage of active fans against percentage of hidden fans

Moving back to the trees in the forest analogy, adding fans to your Facebook page who simply never return, or in the worst case, hide your page activity from their wall, will not help you reach your objectives. For this reason, it’s important to consider the baseline percentage approach in this metric as well.


To develop your own tracking dashboard, simply look at the following comparisons:

  • Percentage of increase or decrease of active fans against the previous week
  • Percentage of increase or decrease of hidden fans against the previous week
  • The number of active fans against the number of total fans, and
  • The numberof hidden fans against the number of total fans.

By establishing these baselines, you can begin to track the average percentage of activity versus hidden content among your fan base.  Ideally, you will want to maintain a higher percentage of fans who are participating on your page over those fans who choose to hide your page content.

4.  Fan base geo-location

More companies are targeting their Facebook page efforts locally or even regionally.  However, for content marketers focused on recruiting new talent or attracting retail shoppers, building a base of fans who do not live near their business will not yield a positive return for the time and work invested.


Facebook Insights provides a breakdown of the raw number of fans added based on the top 10 countries and cities they come from and the language they speak. These numbers can be positioned as weekly percentage increases or decreases as well.  This provides your content marketing team with actionable data to target your content to specific areas of importance.

5. Likes, comments and wall posts scorecards

Another approach worth testing is the amount of time it takes a fan to produce one of the various forms of activity on your Facebook fan page. By assigning a numeric value where the lowest number is applied to the activity that takes the least time, you can develop a scorecard total that will give you an apples-to-apples comparison.

Here are some examples:

  • Likes on wall posts  (least amount of time committed by a fan) = 1 point
  • Comments on wall posts (moderate amount of time committed by a fan) = 3 points
  • Fan posts on your wall (greatest amount of time committed by a fan) = 5 points

Every week, you can count the total number of occurrences of each content type and tabulate the total score.  This enables  you to track the increases or decreases of the scores over time.

Your homework

As a short homework assignment, I challenge you to develop your own Facebook engagement spreadsheet and  fill it with your data. Spend the rest of January and February plugging in your weekly numbers from Insights and answer these questions:

  1. Is the activity on your page increasing parallel to the growth of your fan base?
  2. Are you maintaining more page activity than content hides on a consistent basis?
  3. Where is the strongest concentration of your fan base geographically,  and is it where it should be?