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Forget Fans: Use These 5 Tactics to Measure Your Facebook Audience Instead

When it comes to measuring your audience on Facebook, there is more to it than just fans. Fans can be bought; lured to like your page with offers and promotions. The fact that they liked your page doesn’t mean that they’re true fans of your brand, or that they’re engaged with your content.

Most social media marketers know that there is more to understanding their audience than a trended fan count, but many still don’t know what they should be measuring to get the complete picture. Without actionable insights, its impossible to steer audience growth, tailor content to your audience, or maximize engagement.

Audience analysis is about understanding who you’re connecting with, what type of content resonates with them, and how you can more effectively build a community around your brand. Here are five tactics that will get you focused on the right metrics and give meaning to your Facebook audience analysis.

1. Measure The Audience You Actually Reach

Those who see content associated with your page are not limited to your fans.

For that reason, Reach — which measures the unique number of people who saw content associated with your page — can give you a better idea of your effective audience.

Reporting on Reach over time can help you understand how the distribution of your content impacts your ability to attract and engage your audience. Without Reach, you can’t accurately measure your potential to engage or convert people into customers.

Facebook Reach Segmented

Reach should be segmented by its three main components: Organic, Paid and Viral Reach to understand how your content was distributed.

It’s likely that Paid Reach will be dedicated to product awareness and driving sales more than engaging your community. Therefore, it’s important to measure each component independently.

Organic Reach fluctuates based on changes in new fans and engagement with your content.

Monitor Organic Reach to ensure it’s growing over time. The more fans you reach with your content, the more people you’re likely to engage.

Changes in Viral Reach can indicate how shareable your content was, while Paid Reach reflects how many people were exposed to a Facebook ad. For a more detailed explanation of Reach and it’s three components, click here.

2. Analyze Your Engaged Users

Engaged Users are the people that took action on your page or with your content. Growing the number of Engaged Users each month is important to ensuring that your audience is engaged with your brand as it grows.

Engaged Users Percentage of Reach

While it’s important to continue growing the number of Engaged Users from month to month, it’s also important to understand how effective you are at engaging those who see your content.

By measuring Engaged Users as a percentage of Reach, you can discover how engaged your audience is. This percentage is a valuable for measuring the quality of your audience as it grows over time.

Paid advertising can skew this percentage by inflating Paid Reach. To avoid paid ads skewing this ratio, you can measure Engaged Users and Organic Reach at the post level for all posts that weren’t promoted.

3. Create Context for Fan Growth

Although total fans isn’t the primary metric to measure your audience by, new fan growth can still serve as a community health indicator, and with the right context can help you identify tactics to organically increase your audience size.

By analyzing Like Sources, you can determine where people were when they liked your page. Like Sources allow you to segment Paid Likes vs Organic fan growth.

Paid vs Organic Likes

Reporting on Organic fan growth reveals the number of fans you were able to earn, irrespective of how many ads you ran. Organic growth trends can help you identify events, content and tactics that contribute to fan growth.

Further analyzing Organic Like Sources can also help you determine whether your digital properties are effective at driving users to like your page.

For example, are social plugins on your website effectively driving users to your page? Does better integration of social plugins result in more likes from your site? Your audience analysis should inform tactics for growing your audience.

4. Identify Who Your Fans Are

To identify who your fans are, use Facebook Insights demographic data to get a baseline.


Knowing where your fans are located, can help inform decisions about what kind of content you share and when you publish it.

Confirm that social age and gender demographics match your target audience. If you’re a B2C brand, use sales data to investigate which products your social audience is likely to be interested in.

Once you have established a baseline, go beyond fan demographics by establishing buyer personas that map to certain products or content topics. Measure engagement performance with content that maps back to personas, as part of your regular audience analysis.

This type of analysis can give you a deeper understanding of who your audience is, and what content will resonate with them.

5. Discover When Your Fans Are Most Active

There are a couple ways to approach the problem of figuring out when your fans are most active. The first is built into the Facebook Insights Tool.

When Your Fans Are Online

Facebook’s recently redesigned Insights Tool displays:

  • How many of your fans were online each day of the past week
  • The average number of your fans who saw any posts by hour

This is an extremely valuable tool, but it’s important to note that it measures when your fans viewed any Facebook posts, not just posts specific to your page.

The upside is that fan activity isn’t biased by when you post, the downside is that it’s limited to your fans rather than your Engaged Users.

If you have a well-established page with a large Facebook fan base, it’s likely that a large portion of your audience isn’t active with your brand on a weekly or even monthly basis.

Before making major changes to how you time your posts, you should validate your findings by analyzing post reach and engagement with your content. This approach is more time consuming, but will help ensure you know when people are most like to engage with your content.

To learn how Simply Measured can make identifying and understanding your audience easier and more insightful, check out our full suite of Facebook analytics:

Download the complete guide to Facebook Analytics

Free Trial of Analytics on Facebook

Nate Smitha

I'm a Marketing Manager at Simply Measured. It's my job to deliver content in a way that engages and informs social media professionals. My areas of expertise are marketing automation, conversion and social media analytics.

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