The sales pitch goes something like this: you’re on Facebook, congratulations on joining the social revolution! Now you need to capture as many fans as possible and get them to like you. Wonderful. How do you do that? One of the recommendations is to use your media strategy (that is, your ads) to drive traffic to the page. In other words, “visit www.facebook.com/YourBrandHere to learn more!”
Some brand marketers might wince at the suggestion, preferring instead to drive people to their website. But the strategy does work and it’s a good one. The problem with it is this: have you ever actually used Facebook’s native analytics platform, Facebook Insights? It doesn’t exactly replace your existing web analytics platform.
For example, traffic to your own website results in a multitude of data being streamed into your analytics platform (such as Google Analytics or Omniture). Things like unique users, their computer OS and language, the time they spent on your site, what they did once they were there. It’s the cornerstone of any good digital marketing program and without that data you’ll be severely restricted in what you can learn, report and measure.
Back to Facebook. Now, they’re not exactly in the analytics business. They did revamp their Insights platform last year and included some good new features. Some of those features mimic what you see in other analytics platforms, such as number of unique users and what they’re engaging with on your Facebook Page. It also reports referring URLs and that, my friends, is pretty much where the insights stop.
I’m not going to rag on Facebook. They’re busy building an empire that currently represents the majority of the world population. Providing data analytics to advertisers is not exactly a core business. That said, to effectively measure the impact of including a Facebook link in your marketing efforts you really do need as many of those insights as you can get your hands on. You need to know what worked, what didn’t, where you can improve placement of the link and where you can consider dropping it. In short, you need analytics.
How do you get them? There is a simple and elegant solution that many advertisers are not using, one that will keep the initial set of analytics available to you for analysis.
Ready for it?
Try using www.YourBrandHere.com/Facebook instead of www.facebook.com/YourBrandHere. The resulting landing page can simply redirect to your Facebook Page, thereby giving you access to the initial referring data. As far as knowing what happens once your fans get to Facebook you’ll unfortunately need to use their Insights platform. You can use this same method for any social media platform you’re engaged on, FWIW, and you’ll be glad that you did. It’s your money, it’s your fan base. Keep as much of the data as you can.