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Facebook Stopped Showing Daily Comments & Likes: Why These Metrics Still Matter

Facebook recently made a significant change in the data provided through Insights: Daily Comments and Likes are no longer available. As someone responsible for setting and maintaining the social media KPIs for your organization, this could cause you to re-think your Facebook measurement. And ultimately it might change how you report the outcomes of your social media strategies. Because of this shift, People Talking About This (aka PTAT) has now become a core metric in Simply Measured Analytics on Facebook. But we also continue to show the detailed engagement metrics — likes, comments, and shares — in aggregate, trending, and at the post level. We see these metrics as an important level of granularity that gives you more flexibility when measuring and explaining engagement.

People Talking About This: The 20,000 Foot View

This relatively new metric is defined as the number of unique users who “create a story about you.” PTAT is useful for a high-level view of your Facebook engagement. However, it is also an opaque metric that doesn’t provide details into the underlying components of engagement. If you want to dig into the details, PTAT can leave you asking for more. And as someone responsible for explaining the cause and effect of engagement, it can really leave you wanting to know more.

The Devil May Be in the Details, But It’s a Necessary Evil

While PTAT gives you one side of the story, it doesn’t let you tell the whole thing. You need to be able to answer, in detail the question ‘why.’ To do that, you have to go beyond summary metrics and dig deep into the data. With access to Daily Comments & Likes, plus all the other actions a user can take on your page, you have much greater insight into what works and doesn’t on your Facebook Page. Evaluating your presence in this way allows you to unpack all the components of what happens on Facebook. Making it easy to report on what matters to your brand. To elaborate on this, here are the reasons why we believe you need this level of data analysis!

1. Know Exactly What is Happening

…All the way down to the specific posts (regardless of content type). You can take the different pieces of data that make up interactions on Facebook and determine what succeeds and what fails, no matter how you define success. You may be optimizing your status updates for Likes, but your videos for Shares. Without access to the components that make up engagement, you will not be able to distinguish and measure between these types of actions.

2. Create a Personalized Index Score

Your brand may give different weights to different actions. But since PTAT is a generic engagement metric, you need to create your own index score or engagement metric that allows you to personalize KPIs and benchmarks. By accessing the underlying users actions such as likes, comments, and shares, you can start to build this personalize score to use across reports. For example, with cross-channel comparisons where you compare Facebook against Twitter, you may highly value comments on Facebook posts, but see Retweets and Google+ Shares as less significant. Your Index Score will allow you to apply the appropriate weights and show the data in a way that aligns with your goals and reporting needs. You can use this score for competitive benchmarking, as well. By running the same analysis on your competitors’ fan pages (since this data is publicly available) and applying the same weights, you can determine how you stack up against each other. You could even share that data publicly, particularly if your brand is shed in a positive light!

3. Understand What User Actions Drive Different Engagement Types

There are many different ways a Fan or Follower can interact with your brand, and it goes far beyond just “talking about it.” Furthermore, with the launch of Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages, the dynamics of how Fans are engaging is continually evolving, fast. To fully comprehend the ramifications of these types of changes you need to distinguish between what people are sharing, liking, and anything else they may do on your page. The only way to accomplish this is with access to these components of engagement.

4. Set Goals and Optimize Your Content

Once you have the comprehensive understanding of what is happening, you can set both realistic and stretch goals at the Page level, but also at the specific content type and engagement level. With access to the underlying data, you will have the details and insight to set, track, and report on your goals, from the 20,000 foot view, all the way down to what happened with a particular post, at a certain time.

What Do You Do Next?

All of these metrics are valuable and serve important purposes. Just be sure you don’t lose sign of one to focus on the other. If you still need access to that deeper level of data, then request a demo of Simply Measured — our Facebook reports have you covered!

Adam Schoenfeld

Adam is the Co-Founder and VP of Strategy at Simply Measured. In 2010 (aka the dark ages of social marketing), Adam joined Damon Cortesi and Aviel Ginzburg to found "Untitled Startup, Inc" with the goal of helping marketers and analysts use social data to do their best work. The company quickly evolved to become Simply Measured and the trusted leader in social analytics. Outside of Simply Measured, Adam is a golfer, breakfast enthusiast, and long-time data geek.

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