You’re brilliant. You know you’re brilliant. You have a fantastic new Facebook marketing campaign for your product, and it’s the most brilliant thing you’ve ever come up with. It just shines with brilliance. So you launch the campaign, and you wait for the rampant success that should always come with this high level of brilliance.
But how will you know if the public thinks it’s brilliant? How will you know if your campaign really is destined to become that rampant success? Ideally, of course, you should see an increase in sales. After all, what is your hard work for if not to increase your company’s bottom line? But it can take time for your marketing message to translate into a customer purchase, and before that money starts flowing, it’s helpful to know how many people are actually seeing your message. Enter Facebook impressions.
The number of impressions your post makes is basically how many times your message makes its way through the vast social network. It’s one of the analytics Facebook offers via Facebook Insights, the company’s built-in analysis suite. Facebook Insights can tell you who’s viewing your page, where they live, how many people have commented on your status over the last six months, and more.
The number of impressions your post has made is located right below the post on your Facebook page. (Note that it takes several hours before Facebook can gather enough data to give you your impressions. Don’t panic if you post and it doesn’t show up beneath—just give it a little time.) Every time someone views your page, or every time your post or video or image shows up on someone’s news feed, that’s another impression. Every time one of your fans likes or comments on your post, it shows up on their friends’ news feeds, and that’s more impressions. Impressions, impressions, impressions; you’re getting all kinds of impressions! Absolutely everyone is seeing your brilliance! Ten minutes later, the boss is popping a champagne cork over your tens of thousands of impressions, and you’re riding the wave of brilliance all the way to the top!
Or are you just getting carried away? Let’s take a look at what the number of impressions actually tells you.
Contrary to what your excitement may allow you to believe, “impressions” doesn’t indicate how many people have viewed your post. It indicates how many people have had the opportunity to view your post. If you post something on Facebook and I “like” it, a notification about it automatically posts to my wall. Let’s say 100 of my friends log on to Facebook in the next few hours. Technically, that’s 100 impressions. But some people have their wall filter set to show only the most popular, and what if your post doesn’t make the cut? Others have their walls set to show only the most recent, but what if they have 500 friends who post like crazy, and your message slips way down to the bottom where they’d have to work to find it? What about the people who gloss over anything that shows up attached to my name because they’re not too terribly concerned about what’s going on in my life? What about the people who don’t even bother checking their news feeds, but go straight to their messages, or their profiles, or their friends’ pages?
You may have gotten 100 impressions, but how many of those 100 people are actually seeing your message in their feeds? Ten? Maybe 15? It’s really difficult to say.
Rather than rely on impressions to tell you exactly how many people are seeing your marketing message on Facebook, use them as a comparative tool to learn what type of content is being shared the most. If your photos receive 100,000 impressions, but your videos receive only 2,000, your Facebook fans are more interested in your photos than your videos. If your new campaign gets five times as many impressions as your last campaign, you’re doing something right.
Facebook’s impressions should be just a slice of the overall statistical pie. Pairing them with other numbers, like total clicks and percentage of feedback, help flesh out your analytics and give you a better idea of the big picture success.
What are some of the Facebook Insights statistics you find most helpful in analyzing your campaigns?