With over 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool that can help schools effectively reach many different demographics of prospective students across the globe. While you’re likely already using Facebook as a part of your social media marketing strategy, to what extent are you using the site’s analytics tool, Facebook Insights, to improve your efforts?
Facebook Insights offers a wealth of incredibly valuable information, and it’s completely free to use. In addition, the platform is fairly easy to navigate and pull information from once you know what you’re looking for. If you haven’t taken the time to explore the feature or don’t look at it regularly, learning how to use it to get more from your social media marketing efforts could be very beneficial.
Read on for an introduction to Facebook Insights, its key metrics, and functions, and how you can use it to improve your school’s social media marketing efforts.
Basic Facebook Insights for Schools: Getting a Quick Overview of Your Page’s Performance
To access your school’s Facebook Insights, go to your Facebook page and then click the Insights button in the top navigation bar right next to Notifications. You’ll open to the Overview tab, which has four main sections:
- Page Summary provides a snapshot of your Facebook page’s key metrics. This includes the number of page views and previews, likes, reach, engagements, and more. You can get more detail on most of the metrics included in this section in other tabs within Facebook Insights, which we’ll discuss further in this piece. However, if you have limited time, the page summary can give you an excellent snapshot of how your pages are performing.
- Recent Promotions will provide a look at how your paid advertising efforts are performing, including the number of people reached, links clicked, and ad budget spent. This data is also reported in another tab called “Promotions” and can be accessed from Facebook Ads Manager too.
- Your Five Most Recent Posts provides data on the reach and engagement of each post, as well as the option to pay to promote it. This tool is handy for checking in with how well your most recent posts are performing.
- Pages to Watch is arguably one of the most valuable sections in the Overview tab, as it allows you to benchmark your page’s performance against pages that are similar to yours, like your competitors. You can see how many posts they made that week, their engagement, and their total page likes and increase from the previous week. If you have programs that compete closely with other schools, this can help you determine if you need to up your game to keep up with the competition.
Another good place to go to get an overview of how well your efforts are going is the Likes tab, which tracks the amount of followers your page is getting. The likes tab is located on the left hand side of Facebook Insights, where you’ll find three main sections:
- Total Page Likes – Total likes as of the present day
- Net Likes – Number of new likes minus the number of unlikes
- Where Your Page Likes Happened – Number of likes sorted by where they occurred (desktop, mobile, on your page, etc.)
Analysing your Net Likes data can be particularly useful in helping you assess not only how effective your school’s Facebook strategy is at generating interest, but also in engaging and retaining that interest. For example, if your school’s page is attracting a high number of likes, but a higher than expected amount of unlikes, too, you probably need to refine your strategy in order to better engage the attention of your audience over time, and work on creating posts that provide better value to prospective, current, and past students.
Digging into the data in the Where Your Page Likes Happened section can also be fruitful. The site divides the new likes you gain into those that occurred on your page, likes on both mobile and desktop devices, from users who found your school through Facebook’s search, and those who found it through similar page suggestions. This information can help you target paid campaigns more effectively.
Each of these tabs provides a basic summary of your school’s performance on Facebook, and can allow you to quickly identify opportunities for promotion or increased engagement, or any issues you may need to address. With that basic knowledge, you can delve further into Facebook Insights for a more detailed picture.
How to Use the Reach Tab in Facebook Insights to Improve Your School’s Marketing Efforts
The Reach tab provides information on how many people you’re reaching with your posts and how they are engaging with your content in four main sections:
- Post Reach – Number of Facebook users your posts are shown to, by both paid and organic reach
- Reactions, Comments & Shares – Data about positive engagement with your posts
- Hide, Report as Spam, and Unlikes – Data about negative engagement with your posts
- Total Reach – Total number of users who saw any activity from your school’s page
The information available in the Reach tab can be vital for your school. It’s no secret that reaching prospects organically on Facebook is becoming increasingly difficult as Facebook encourages branded accounts to use paid advertising, and tracking your reach on a regular basis will help ensure your school is maintaining its visibility on the site, determine whether you need to invest in Facebook ad campaigns or boost posts, and evaluate the effectiveness of any of the paid efforts you are currently running on the site.
In addition, keeping tabs on your reactions, comments and shares can also help improve your overall reach. When your posts are engaged with in a positive way, Facebook recognizes that they are interesting and is more likely to display them to more people.
Consequently, this also makes it important to track negative engagement with your school’s page, as well. Are a lot of users hiding your posts or unliking your page? If so, it’s worth looking at what you posted during that timeframe, as prospective students may not be enjoying your posts. This can help you better craft content that your audience will find relevant and interesting and be happy to see on their timelines.
Using the Page Views Tab on Insights to Improve Analytics in Higher Education Marketing
If you’re interested in finding out how many people are viewing your school’s Facebook page, the Page Views tab is where to look. It’s broken down into three sections:
- Total Views – The total number of views your page received during a given time period. Note: this counts when someone visits your page more than once
- Total People Who Viewed – The number of unique people who have viewed your page
- Top Source – The number of views from different sources, such as your website, Google, etc.
The Top Sources section can be valuable if you’re looking to generate traffic to your Facebook page. By knowing which sources are referring you the most and least amount of traffic, you can adjust your efforts with those sources to encourage traffic to your Facebook page.
Facebook Insights also has a separate tab called Page Previews, which allows you to see the total number of page previews and unique people who previewed your Facebook page.
The Actions on Page Tab Will Help You Understand Your School’s Conversions
Actions on Page is another useful tab in Facebook page insights for schools, allowing you to look at what actions prospective students are taking on your page, and to better understand the conversion path from the site. Because conversions and actions are some of the best indicators of the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts, you should monitor this tab on a regular basis. Actions on Page includes five sections:
- Total Actions on Page – Number of Get Direction Clicks, Website Clicks, Phone Number Clicks, and Action Button Clicks
- People Who Clicked Action Button – Number of unique users who clicked the call to action (CTA) button on your Facebook page. Can be sorted by age and gender, country, city, or device
- People Who Clicked Get Directions – Number of unique people who clicked for directions. Can be sorted by age and gender, country, city, or device
- People Who Clicked Phone Number – Number of unique people who clicked for your school’s phone number. Can be sorted by age and gender, country, city, or device
- People Who Clicked Website – Number of unique people who clicked for your school’s website. Can be sorted by age and gender, country, city, or device
Each of these metrics tells its own story. Seeing how many Facebook users are clicking on your page’s CTA can help you to refine and improve it to make it more appealing to prospective students. The People Who Clicked Website section will help you to see if your Facebook page is effective at referring traffic to your school’s site, and work on improving it.
Knowing how many of your followers looked for your school’s phone number will help you gauge how many potential applicants are looking to follow up with your school by phone, while seeing how many prospective students are getting directions to your school can also be a good indicator of general interest, particularly if you are running a conversion event such as a campus tour or open day.
Using Facebook Insights for Post and Video Analytics
The Posts and Videos tabs can both be helpful in determining what content is resonating with your audience. Let’s start by taking a closer look at the Posts tab. When you click into the Posts tab, you’ll be presented with two main sections:
- When Your Fans Are Online – Shows the days and times when your fans are online
- All Posts Published – An overview of the performance of all your past posts including information on organic and paid reach and engagement, and the option to boost your post directly
If you toggle along the top of the screen, you can select two other options that will provide additional details:
- Post Types – Shows what types of posts are most popular, and their average reach and engagement
- Top Posts from Pages You Watch – Similar to the Pages to Watch feature in the Overview tab, this section details the top posts from pages you watch and provides data on their performance
The Posts tab offers several useful applications for schools. Firstly, schools should be using the When Your Fans Are Online feature to publish their content when the largest numbers of fans are online. This will help increase the number of people who see your post.
You should also take a look at all your posts, and ask yourself questions like “What topics are getting the most engagement?” and “What topics are less popular?” and use those answers to better focus your content. In addition, the Post Types section can help you narrow down what type of content is most popular with your audience, whether it’s photos, links, statuses, or video.
When combined, these insights can be incredibly powerful. For example, you might notice posts about study tips or events are well-received by your audience, and look to create more.
Likewise, if you see that videos are your most popular type of content, you might look to invest more heavily in producing video clips for you page. The Videos tab is divided into two sections:
- Performance – Metrics on the number of minutes of video viewed and video views, as well as the percent change from the previous time period
- Top Videos – A look at the top performing videos from the time range you select
The Top Videos section can help you determine which videos were most popular with your audience. With this in mind, you can work to create similar content in the future.
Learn More About Your Audience with the People Tab
The People tab is another one of the more valuable tools offered by Facebook Insights for schools. In this tab, you can take a closer look at your fans (those who have liked your page), followers, and people reached. In each section you can see data regarding:
- First language
You can use this information to improve your posts and content. For example, if you’re looking to increase your international student recruitment numbers and notice that your page is attracting a lot of visits from Brazil, you could consider creating posts that appeal directly to prospective applicants in that country, perhaps featuring a testimonial from an existing Brazilian student.
In addition, you can also use these insights when creating parameters for your paid advertising efforts. If you notice you have a large amount of female followers between the ages of 25 to 34, it probably means this demographic has an interest in your school. Thus, you can use that information to target females in that age group with your ads.
While Facebook Insights can be an excellent tool for improving analytics in higher education, it’s always important to remember that data is fruitless without action. While you don’t have to act on every opportunity the data presents immediately, even making small improvements over time can go a long way towards improving your reach and engagement on Facebook and fulfilling any other goals your school might have.