Facebook is looking to bring more real-time insights to pages soon, Techcrunch reports.
As we suggested last week, recent bugs in the Insights API could be an indication the social network is updating the product. Representatives from Facebook tell us they have nothing yet to announce, but it’s possible the company will make note of the change at its marketing conference Wednesday.
Metrics like reach, virality and People Talking About This are currently released 48 hours after a post is made. This is sufficient for most page owners, but if the social network could reliably share all analytics in real-time, pages could better track performance of their posts and understand when is best to share content.
In January 2011, Facebook tried to show insights in real time underneath each page post. Many page owners found the data inconsistent with actual performance. Jeff Widman, co-founder of Facebook analytics provider PageLever, says eventually the social network stopped updating per-post impressions and feedback data every hour. Widman believes Facebook couldn’t keep up as the number of pages grew, so now those insights update every two days instead.
Widman says getting hourly per-post impressions, now called “reach” on Facebook, allows page owners to calculate the lifetime of individual posts and understand when they can put up another without cannibalizing the first. Likes and comments, which are updated in real time, can be used for the same effect among some pages, but smaller pages don’t necessarily get enough feedback to be as useful as impressions, Widman says.
Still, for most page owners, getting additional statistics in real time isn’t going to have much of an effect on how they manage their presence on Facebook. Key metrics, such as Likes, comments and shares already display instantaneously. We would, however, like to see the public Talking About This number coincide with total Likes. Having one count be live and the other be two days behind is confusing, especially since many people look at the ratio of the numbers to measure engagement.