There’s a lot of great basic data you can view on your Facebook page.
Here are critical items that you actually can get from Facebook via some clever programming, but which are not available in the web-based insights tool.
How’s the competition?
If you’re Red Bull, how do you fare against Monster Energy? What about going beyond just who has the most fans and start asking who has more active fans or fans in the right demographic?
Whats my total fan base?
Let’s say you are Domino’s Pizza. You might have three million fans on your main brand page, but what about the 6,000 other place pages for each location that you have, each managed by different franchisees, all acting independently of each other.
Who are my top fans?
Lane Bryant might have 300,000 fans. But who are their biggest fans? What if we could pull out the 10% of these folks that spend the most money, are most active on the page, and are most likely to be brand evangelists?
How effective is my timing?
When are you (as admin) on Facebook, versus when your fans are on Facebook? Are you missing them?
How effective are my apps?
Sure, you spent $50,000 on a slick app, but how many impressions, installs, shares, or activity did you get? You can’t get stats on your iframed tabs. Are you even retaining new fans from that contest you just ran or did you lose most of them when the giveaway ended?
What are my fans worth?
What’s the earned media value of your Facebook presence? How much more room is there for growth in fans, engagement, and conversions?
What’s my market penetration?
Let’s say I’m a major shoe manufacturer and want to target boys 13 to 17 years old. How many of them are there out there, and what proportion of this audience is a fan? More specifically; of this audience, how many fans of Kobe Bryant are also fans of my basketball page?
How many fans have bought something?
They could have bought on-line, used a coupon, or just came into the store. Without a linkage to offline conversion, the value of a Facebook fan for retail brands is just guesswork.
How effective are my ad campaigns?
Whether you are running premium Facebook ads, Facebook marketplace ads, or even Google PPC ads to your Facebook page – can you see how your paid efforts work in conjunction with your organic efforts?
How should I adjust my marketing mix?
You have one group running TV, another running direct mail, some SEO agency doing SEO-type things, and perhaps a social media specialist. Can you view how your TV efforts drive traffic to Facebook and how your social efforts drive in-store behavior? How about the combination of marketing efforts working in unison to create truly great brand marketing in a measurable way?
The good news is that nearly every question here is possible to answer here if you painstakingly gather together data across your organization, tie it together into one spot, bring in the various marketing channel owners to collaborate, and begin working together.
The purely social questions (the first seven questions here) are possible with some clever engineering with the Facebook Graph API . For those who have been using only the web-based insights, you might be amazed at what’s possible to pull with the hundreds of more granular data points that you can’t get in the web tool.
Dennis Yu has helped brands grow and measure their Facebook presences. He has spoken at Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, Web 2.0, The American Marketing Association, PubCon, Conversational Commerce Conference, Pacific Conferences, HostingCon, Affiliate Summit, Affiliate Convention, UltraLight Startups, MIVA Merchant, and other venues. Yu has also counseled the Federal Trade Commission on privacy issues for social networks. Yu has held leadership positions at Yahoo and American Airlines. His educational background is finance and economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics.