Facebook Audience Insights (#23)

Today I want to explore New York State, so I enter “New York” in this region selector.

This chart tells me that of all the New Yorkers Facebook can advertise to, the largest cohort is 25-34-year-olds. It also tells me that advertises to 54% women and 46% men in New York state, which is off by just 1 percentage point as compared to the whole nation.

This powerfull tool is uniquely valuable when buying Facebook ads, but has even more implications for market research and understanding target markets.

Take a look at this chart of the top categories of interest for New Yorkers:

Finally, look at this side-by-side chart of New Yorker’s relationship status and education level, and notice that Facebook has also included the change in these things.

According to this chart, people are currently getting divorced relatively a lot (the number of individuals who marked themselves as married changed by negative 13% and the number of people who are single is up by 19%). Education level also appears to be rapily changing, with a 29% uptick in people who are going to grad school.


Facebook Page Insights (#22)

If you have a Facebook Page, did you know that Facebook offers you a sophisticated set of tools to gain insights into your page?

Here’s a quick summary of the Facebook page associated with this blog, which you can find at (Incidentally, if you could head over there and give the page a ‘Like’ I would be most grateful.)

Some vocabulary:

Actions – are when someone interacts with the post, either by liking, commenting or sharing

Pageviews refers to how many times people saw the page.

Page previews refer to how many times someone saw a preview of the page (like in the newsfeed).

Likes refers to how many times people it the “like” (or another of the reaction options on Facebook) button.

Reach refers to how many people saw this at least momentarily, in passing, or at all. (that is, the “total reach” of your post or story.)

Recommendations refers to someone recommending your page when a 3rd party asks for recommendations in a post.

Engagements refer to any kind of interaction with your post. Videos show you how many people watched at least 3 seconds of your videos. Followers show a chart of how many new followers you accrue over time. And finally, Orders shows you how many orders were placed through this page (for example, for a Facebook-supported service.) Note that if you are advertising an external website, you’ll want to use the Facebook Pixel to correctly configure the tracking to capture the order and associate it back to the ad that Facebook shows to your customer.

Installing the Facebook Pixel on your website requires a developer, so it is beyond the scope of this introduction.


Facebook OG Debugger Tool (#21)

Have you ever been on Facebook scrolling through the wall and see someone’s post linking to an article? You probably saw the message your friend shared when he or she posted the link, followed by a large image that seems to represent the page. Below the image are the article’s title and the first line of a description (shown truncated with ellipsis if it is too long.)

Here’s a post in my feed shared by Senator Elizabeth Warren about the housing crisis.

Notice the large image, above the website’s domain, above the headline of the article, above a portion of the intro text.

Today we’re going to cover how to set all of that for your page. In fact, there isn’t much you as the marketer do— this is a job for the web developer. When your CMS or blog correctly publishes what is known as “open graph” tags, all of this information is set for you: the image, the headline, and the description.

Meet the Facebook Open Graph Debugger, also known as the Sharing Debugger.

These things can be examined, debugged, and re-scraped if you want to clear Facebook’s cache. That’s correct: this unique tool both lets you examine how Facebook looks at your page and will display the preview when shared.

In particular, you’ll note that by default Facebook only re-scrapes and looks for changes to this URL once every 24 hours. However, if you use this tool, you will actually be making Facebook re-scrape the page in realtime (near realtime), which will affect the previews for all users across Facebook.

That’s an interesting quirk to be aware of.

For developers, the open graph protocol is documented here. In short, the HTML markup of the page should contain meta tags which determine how Facebook (and other social networks like Twitter) pull the preview content and display it.

Take for example this example from Facebook’s developer documentation. Notice there are 5 open graph tags: og:url, og:type, og:title, og:description, and og:image.

These five element insturct social media platofrm how to display the preview in the social media feed.

You will notice that both the title and description appear in the preview box, but sometimes the description is truncated for size, as is the case with the example above.

What great about the OG debugger is that you can use it to correctly confirm that your webpage is generating the right tags. Also, if Facebook scrapes it once (for example, if you share it in your Facebook timeline), remember that Facebook won’t re-scrape it again for 24 hours unless you use the OG debugger tool. When you do Facebook re-scrapes the content — changing the cache for all users of Facebook — immediately.

Beucase the preview is stored within the post, you’ll want to make sure your OG tags are correct before you start to publish or promote your article or page to social media.