Combining Google Analytics with Facebook Insights for Better Marketing
Facebook Insights Reports
To get started, let’s look at the main People reports available in Insights to see how they differ and what they offer you. You’ll want to click the Insights option above the cover photo for a page you manage to view this information.
The “Your Fans” report in Insights shows demographic data on the people who like your page on Facebook. You can see age, gender, location and language categories. In this example, we see men aged 25-34 represent the largest age/gender category, with women in the same age bracket close behind. Albany, NY represents the location with the most fans, with New York City next. This is helpful in generating a baseline understanding of who makes up our Facebook audience.
The “People Reached” report shows the people who saw your posts, whether they like your page or not. Reach can actually include your fans, friends of anyone who’s liked or commented on a post, or people targeted with promoted posts – anyone who may have encountered your content on Facebook. Because of this, demographics of the audience actually reached will often vary a bit from the people who like your page, especially if you’re running paid promotions. Note in this example that women aged 25-34 slightly outnumber men in the same age bracket, whereas the reverse was true for fans.
The “People Engaged” report shows demographics for people who liked, commented on, shared posts or engaged in any other direct interaction with your page. The numbers here will be the smallest of any report, but will best reflect the people taking an interest in your brand. Note that in the example below, men aged 45-54 actually make up the top category, while this category was less represented in fans or reach.
Comparing to Google Analytics
The information covered above is helpful in identifying the demographics you’re reaching and engaging on Facebook. But now you want to compare that data to the data you’re receiving from people who click through from Facebook to visit your website. Let’s take a look at demographics in Google Analytics, segmenting to specifically focus on people visiting from Facebook.
First, you’ll want to create a Facebook Segment in Google Analytics. For help doing this, revisit the Who Are Your Facebook Users section in this article.
Once you’ve created a segment to include Facebook sessions, apply it to your view and navigate to Audience > Demographics > Age. We’ll now ensure we see data broken down in the same subsets as Facebook Insights, by both age and gender.
Select the “Secondary Dimension” and search for “Gender” and choose this dimension. Now, you can see a complete breakdown of Facebook visitors by age and gender.
From this data, we can see the most website Sessions are coming from females aged 25-34, followed by females 35-44 and males 25-34. So even though males 25-34 slightly outnumber females 25-34 as fans, significantly more females in that age bracket are actually coming to the site from Facebook.
Interestingly, this data reflects the same highest bracket as the People Reached report. Also, while the People Engaged report shows men aged 45-54 as the highest category, these people rank near the bottom in people actually coming to the site, showing that while men 45-54 are more likely to interact with the Facebook page, women 25-34 are more likely to click through to the website.
One takeaway from this analysis relates to Facebook advertising. If your goal is to use Facebook ads to drive traffic to your website, this analysis suggests you’d be most successful targeting women 25-34 rather than men aged 45-54.
Determining Times for Post Engagement
Facebook also offers a section in Insights to show when your fans are online. This data can help inform when to post content, as to when they are most likely to click through to your site. To view this information, go to Posts > When Your Fans Are Online.
In this example, we can see that day-to-day usage does not vary much, but time-of-day usage dips from evening to the next morning. Page fans are online at a consistent level for a large portion of the day.
We can also note slightly increased activity taking place at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., with the most volume of fans online. This may be the result of people checking Facebook right at the end of a workday and later in the evening after getting home. This report can help to provide general guidance as to when to schedule important posts such as those containing links to blog articles on your site. It indicates that posting at around 9 a.m. is best to maximize the chance of reaching your fans over the course of the day, while subsequent posts around 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. may also prove effective.
Once again, we can go into Google Analytics to cross-reference data about people who are actually reaching your site. We’ll apply our Facebook segment again to specifically filter sessions from Facebook.
Navigating to the Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages report, we can break down the performance of specific pages from Facebook visitors and further segment by hour. This way, we can see not only what content was most popular but at what time people were most likely to click through to view that content.
Within this report, select the “Secondary Dimension” dropdown and search for the “Hour” dimension to add. Note that hours will display based on military time or a 24-hour clock.
Now, you can see a breakdown of landing pages from Facebook, with sessions broken down by hour. The top landing page was an article on 5 Tips to Reduce Inflammation viewed at 3 p.m. (shown as “15” when based on a 24 hour clock).
This data meshes with mid to late afternoon being a good time for posting links back to the site. You can also see midnight (00) as well as morning times (08 and 09) reflected. Based on this data, you can begin test posting more content at these times to see the impact on engagement. In addition, you can see what types of content perform best at what times. For example, you may see that a post targeted to moms may be more popular in the morning, while a post targeted to web developers may be more popular later in the evening.
Facebook Insights offers a large amount of reach and engagement data segmented by demographics to help marketers understand who their audience is on the social platform. However, if driving Facebook users to your site is one of your primarily social media goals (and it should be!), Google Analytics can offer an additional level of insight to optimize your marketing. When targeting by demographic, consider not just the segments Facebook indicates as being most engaged, but drill down into Google Analytics to understand who is most likely to click through and continue that engagement. Look not only at when Facebook says your audience is online, but when Google Analytics shows people are more likely to visit your website. By considering both Facebook Insights and Google Analytics data, you put yourself in the best position to optimize your Facebook marketing for better results.