New Facebook Impressions Data
It looks like Facebook announced this on November 23rd, but I missed it in the rush before the holiday: the insight data for a Facebook page now includes impressions for each post and an interaction percentage. An attendee of the “Using Social Software in the Library Webinar” mentioned this yesterday, prompting me to go take a look.
Here’s how this looks on the actual Facebook page when you are signed in as the administrator:
As you can see, this post was not particularly popular. I’m still a bit fuzzy on what exactly counts as an “impression.” I thought it would just be any time that your post appears in a user’s news feed. If they have a lot of friends and look at the “Top News” more often than all of their news, it would seem that they are less likely to see your post in their feed.
The insights data for the page also includes new information on impressions per post:
You may have to click on the image for it to be of a legible size, but it does look like the number of impressions varies quite a bit by post. While I don’t have much context for the data at this point, it should help to evaluate what type of posts the other variables that garner larger number of impressions. If you scroll though your wall, you should be able to see the impressions data for each post. Surprisingly, our posts in summer were receiving three to four thousand impressions, while posts during the school year seemed to be around five hundred to fifteen hundred. I don’t even have a hypothesis for why this could be true. If you know any more about how Facebook calculates impressions data, please let me know. I’m curious now!
Edited to add that I just found this explanation of the impressions data from Facebook’s original note when this feature was released to Facebook pages with more than ten thousand fans. They say that:
Q: Is the impression count the number of users who have seen the post?
A: No, the number of impressions measures the number of times the post has been rendered on user’s browsers. These impressions can come from a user’s news feed, live feed, directly from the Page, or through the Fan Box widget. This includes instances of the post showing up below the fold.
Q: Why is the impression count higher than the number of Fans the Page has?
A: This is because many users refresh their homepage, and visit their homepage multiple times during a session, and each time the post is rendered, it counts as an impression.
This still doesn’t explain the huge drop in impressions after the school year started, but it is useful to know. We probably had about a hundred fewer fans then; could it be that our followers were just that much more active on Facebook and constantly refreshing their news feed over the summer?