Facebook announced its new brand page metric on Sunday night, “People Talking About,” with Mashable breaking the news and analysis from Clickz. The new “people talking about” metric is designed to measure FB engagement and a raw number of user-initiated activity related to a Page, including posting to a Page’s Wall, “liking,” commenting, sharing a Page post or content on the Page, answering a Question posed to fans, mentioning a Page, “liking” or sharing a deal or checking in at your Place. That number was also going to displayed to the public, along side the other meaningless Facebook metric, number of likes.
A few hours ago, it went public – at least on your FB page for the world to see, but it isn’t yet visible to page administrators in the insights program.
The people talking about this metric tallies:
- Liking a page;
- Posting to a page’s wall;
- Liking, commenting, or sharing a page’s status update, photo, video, or other content;
- Answering a question posted by a page;
- RSVPing to an event hosted by the page;
- Mentioning the page (users must formally tag the page);
- Tagging a page in a photo;
- Liking or sharing a check-in deal, and
- Checking in at a place.
My first reaction was – what does that stupid number mean? How is it calculated? Why the heck should I even care? After all if Facebook likes are not a victory, certainly “People talking about” isn’t better. Are they saying good things about the brand or bad things about the brand? More importantly, is “People Talking About” motivating or encouraging “People To Take Action” or “People to Donate” or ” People to Volunteer” or “People to Call their Legislators” or “People To Stop Drinking Bottled Water”?
The next action was an uncontrollable desire to compare my “People Talking About” with my peers, realizing that benchmarking of meaningless data is well, meaningless. Before I even set up this quick flash poll, I received an email from a colleague who had already compared and benchmarked their page with peer organizations using “PATP” – dividing the total People Talking About number by the total of Facebook likes. All national organizations with multiples of 10s of 1,000s of fans, had percentages ranging from 1-3%. His take:
“It is a very shallow metric. And it does feel somewhat gratifying that I think we’ve been right all along. Size has never mattered to us. I’ve never run an ad for more fans, or done silly contests or anything else, you know? The people that we have, we want them to be there because they care about what we have to say and take action – and measure those results with metrics that mean something to us …”
Here’s the spreadsheet of small number of nonprofits who took this quick survey reporting number of likes and “People Talking About.” You can see that smaller fan bases had higher percentages – but of course that is meaningless.
I wonder if impressions and feedback percentages will continue to be included in Insights? That’s been useful to at least test content and engagement formats.
There’s a lot of confusion. For now, one thing is abundantly clear: Spend your time on a good strategy for an integrated campaigns with real and measurable results and have high quality content, engage your network, and cultivate of influencers and for now, don’t waste time on this meaningless metric.