Facebook to remove ‘friends of fans’ metric from Insights

Facebook plans to eliminate the “friends of fans” metric from its page insights product, first reported by Wisemetrics and confirmed to us by Facebook.

The metric shows page owners their estimated total potential audience when counting the friends of users who Like their page, however, it is not very useful. Pages would only be able to reach these people if all of their current fans saw and interacted with a post and then all of the person’s friends saw that story in their feed. With the way Facebook’s News Feed algorithm works, this is just about impossible.

Removing the metric could help page owners focus on the stats that do matter to their Facebook marketing performance.

Facebook said in a statement:

“In an effort to make our Insights products more simple and more actionable, Facebook plans to deprecate the “Friends of Fans” metric in Page Insights, which is listed on the Overview tab of Page Insights. Page admins will still be able to see this number by using the Friends of Fans targeting option in the ad create tool and in the Ads API.”

“Friends of fans” was added to Insights in 2011, the same time as People Talking About This and Reach. Shortly after, Facebook launched the page post ad format. The company was seemingly trying to convey the value of sharing engaging stories, which could be amplified by fans and reach friends of fans. By highlighting this new metric, Facebook could give businesses the impression that their content was reaching more people, or that they could reach this many people if they paid to promote it.

Ultimately, it wasn’t a valuable stat. Page owners and businesses would benefit from a further rethinking of Facebook’s page analytics offering to better address certain components and give more actionable insights.

As of July 10, “friends of fans” will no longer be reported through the Insights dashboard or via the Insights API.