Analytics is a key to successful marketing, whether online or offline. Anyone who’s worked with Google’s marketing tools can attest to the importance of keeping tabs on site stats, from number of visits to click-throughs to the portion that ends in a purchase. Facebook was a little late in providing good analytics tools for marketers–even today, Google still has far more advanced metrics–but new features now give businesses a lot more insight into how their marketing efforts work.
Most of the activity happens on the relatively new Insights dashboard. This essentially brings together all the information you need to analyze your marketing results. In particular, it allows you to perform analytics for your websites that use Facebook plugins, Facebook apps, and your own Facebook page.
One of the more useful tools is the availability of event-specific information. For instance, you can view statistics on individual updates, links, or videos you posted, so you can see which ones generate the most traffic and where this traffic comes from. Besides views, you can keep track of how many comments, likes, and shares were made. What you get from this is an idea of what people find interesting, which in turn will tell you where to put most of your efforts. For user privacy reasons, you can only get the numbers–there’s no information that will make users personally identifiable.
If numbers aren’t your thing, don’t worry: under the new dashboard, the data is given in easy-to-understand graphs. This is great for spotting patterns in activity, such as periods where visits and comments tend to be high, or where most of the traffic comes from. It also tells you which of your outlets–a Facebook app, a Facebook page, plugins on your own website–are doing most of the work, allowing you to redistribute your time and budget accordingly.
To get Facebook analytics to work for an external website, you will need to link your domain to a Facebook ID that you use to administer your Facebook page, app, or plugin. This can be done through the “Insights for your Domain” button, which you will find on the dashboard. This generates a meta tag that is then inserted into your website code. Note that you’ll have to do this on the root file for subdomains, if you are using them. Once you’re past the initial hurdle, most of the work will be fairly automatic: all you need to do is check the numbers and put your marketing plan to work.