6 steps to improve engagement with pirate metrics and Facebook Insights

Philippe on

Social networks own the relationship between you and your fans. They put in place functionalities (e.g. the order and which stories appear on your newsfeed) on their platform to benefit from as a business and to protect users from abusive behaviour. On the other hand, since they are changing them often, they are a real nightmare for companies who want to try to make money and attract more customers out of those social networks.

Those rules are in place for two reasons:

  • Every day, Social media heroes create loads of content. On Instagram alone, more than 95 million photos and videos are shared per day ( On Facebook, every 60 seconds: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. (Source: The Social Skinny).
  • The second reason is financial. If all this content were showing to everyone without even having to pay for it, it would be not worth it for social networks to have that business.

Social media networks have built over the years a platform that has something priceless - the “attention” of users. Attention has a very short lifespan, and we are more inclined as users to change services and products than our parents. Social networks understood that and to have access to that attention they make businesses pay the price.

Gathering social media analytics will help you understand how much attention you can get

Many metrics are available, just to name a few: reach, impression, likes, engagement, clicks or shares, organic, viral, paid. Which one is the most important?

What are the social media analytics you should you care about?

Likes on your page do not matter

First thing first, the number of likes on your pages does not matter. The only thing it brings is more people because it is a shiny thing to show. Who cares about having 10 million likes? 10 million likes may be a burden when you think about it. Facebook marketing works by making business pay to reach depending on the size of people, having more likes will just increase the bill.
Locowise found that the organic reach(without paying) is approximately around 2%-3%. The percentage is a bit higher when fewer people like the page.

The 10 million likes are only a social proof, a credential, a social recognition and having many likes will attract more likes. Likes on your page compared to a queue for a restaurant. "It must be good since people are queuing for it".

How much are you ready to sell yourself just for a shiny number?

Take the example of Burger King Norway. They knew that some of their "likes" were praising Mcdonald's on the side. They put in place the Sellout Campaign to get rid of the non- believers. They were giving away free coupons for Big Macs in exchange for being banned forever from the page. Bold move! The result - they lost more than 30k likes but gain an engagement five times better.

If you just look at the number likes and the engagement in comparison, it can make you sad. Getting the truth is what matter. All the questions are around "Engagement".

How much like are you ready to trade for a more active page?

Engagement matter

Engagement means everything and nothing at the same time. It is one of those words that doesn’t say much without any context. I am a product manager, and part of my role is caring about user engagement. I always ask this question though:

To drive and measure engagement, product managers use pirate metrics: AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention and Referral).

In social media and even in product management, everyone wants to be viral. We just care about the “Referral” metrics, and we do not look at the others. Every one of them is essential though. Business should understand the way they acquire more fans, the way they decide to follow the page or the way they choose to go from Facebook to their website. Companies should also care about loyalty and fidelity.

The algorithm which decides whether your content appears or not in the news feed of users is always changing. The downside is a lot of posts and brands do not get much traction even if this one is of outstanding quality. Also for pages with thousands of fans, it is tough for them to reach their followers and spread their voice out of there.

What type of engagement though?

We read a lot about the loss of organic reach, and it was harder and harder to reach your fan base and followers. The fact is, your community is not a single person. It is not one voice, one soul with one interest and a unique mood/behaviour. The same things do not attract people. Moreover, this is why you have to distinguish the engagement on your posts one from another. Facebook calculates engagement based on different parameters such as the creator, the relation between the two parties, the history of that relationship, the success and the type of post.

Imagine that Facebook gives a note to everything and this note change through time, a bit like a credit score.

  • As a creator, you get a score for your performance. Getting bad reviews or not having much engagement and you will score poorly. Your track record is critical.
  • The relationship with your users and how much you interact with them, the type of interaction is crucial. Have you ever notice that the people you always see on your newsfeed are the one you speak to on messenger and also the one you interact with their posts? It works the same for your page, and it is why you should not miss any message or comments.
  • A picture or a video does not have the same impact on Facebook. Some users are consumers of videos and others are consumers of photos. They care about that, and the success of your post also depends on that parameter.
  • Finally, the success of your posts depends on its "engagement" and the engagement rate in the short timeframe after posting. If a lot of the first reach engages with a post right away, the scope will expand and so on. The virality effect also could exponentially grow your fanbase. The engagement matters first are shares, then comments, then reactions, then like. There are order and importance of each engagement type.

The six steps we apply to improve

We tried to explain that all "engagements" are not the same and we should focus on the shares and comments, but also on the type of content and the type of people. As anything, Facebook put a scale on each one of those interaction, content, people and engagement types. They consider that a "share" is worth more than a comment and so on. If you are willing to share it with your relations, it means something. If you are eager to send it to specific friends, it means even more.
Facebook analyse each activity, so the only thing to do is to the same. Start investigating the metrics and getting to know more thoroughly all the social media analytics you can access.

Some data is available, and some are harder to find. It is an exercise that is time-consuming. So this is the most significant problem here. You have to spend time comparing and measuring each post success.

Follow these steps:

  1. Define each pirate metric
    Earlier we explain the analytics, the question now is what does it mean for you to activate someone? One of my friends is running Burkina 24, and we were looking at the number of people clicking the link on the post. It was his definition of "Activation", and we define each metric like that.
  2. Tag each post to be able to group them
    The best way to work on this step is to download first your post data. This option is directly accessible from the overview tab in the page insights screen.

    Export Data Facebook

    Once in excel, it is way more flexible to add every characteristic you want.

  3. Divide the posts by type
    The next two steps are analysis you can do based on the data you just gathered. You can divide it by type, you will notice that the engagement and the reach will be different depending on the content, whether it is a photo, a video or a link.
    This data is also available under the "Posts" option on the insights page.

    Menu Insights Facebok

  4. Divide by posting time
    Try to change a bit the data to put the content by posting hours. You don't really care about the minutes and about the date for this one. You want to be able to compare the data and the engagement and reach based on the posting time.

  5. Compare the data and try to find patterns in each group on what works and what doesn't
    From there, you did all the preparation work, and you can then compare the data you have on hand. You can create the right graphs to be able to find what works and what doesn't.
    Below is one of the dashboard we created for Burkina 24 with the ReponseIO to be able to compare the reach of their posts.

    Burkina24 Reach

  6. Improve and start again
    You just have to change some of your content and your way of working to match your goals and do those 6 steps again.

What about us?

We apply those six steps, and we helped others gather the data and work with it. Right now our interface is not finished, but we worked hard to make it happen and collect data automatically for social media heroes.

In the meantime on our side, to keep people interested, we decided to give three things to each one of our content:

  1. A song that I like or discovered and worth sharing

  2. A story that could be used by someone else, something I read on the web or during my interviews and find interesting (The Burger King story)

  3. An interesting fact to retain from the post. Something you learned about it (6 steps to put in place analytics)

These three things are for me part of the story and a story that could be worth sharing. I want to hear someday the readers saying: “I learn this fact on ReponseIO’s blog or Instagram”.
Giving something that is worth remembering and sharing and also something that brings discussion/exchanges. Being provocative or doing a stunt can be good if you like short-lived fame. You should ask yourself: “Is it the type of people you want to attract?”, "What kind of engagement do you want for your brand, from your followers?

Do you believe in analytics? Do you use them to grow your page and grow your social network? We would love to exchange on this topic.

Share it, like it, it will be awesome. Leave a comment below or tweet me @philnpa

Philippe London
Phil is one of the co-founders of ReponseIO and works on building the best product ever. Living in London, he enjoys drinking whisky & coffee, discovering new places, good food and hitting the gym.