Facebook Changes for 2014: Who's Ready?
A lot of changes are happening starting from 1st January. However, amidst all the changes, it seems like quite a few people (and companies) have forgotten about one key change that's happening sometime soon on Facebook. No, not just the supposed change in reach, but the change in Facebook Insights that may potentially change the way you report on your Facebook page(s).
Around the same time of the EdgeRank algorithm change, Facebook revamped its Insights dashboard, got rid of its virality metric and introduced a new engagement rate. This new metric distances itself from the "People Talking About This" metric, puts a focus on Reach, and includes clicks as well as interactions that create what Facebook calls "stories".
As part of this change, Facebook announced that it was going to get rid of the old metrics (from Insights and the exports), and that the old reports were going to be available for a limited time only. Till when? "Through the end of the year."
If you manage your reporting from Facebook Insights, this is the perfect time to look at what you're reporting on and how this change affects you moving forward (read here).
However, if you're relying on a third-party application to get your Facebook stats, it's time for you to ask your account manager what they're going to do about this.
As a bit of a social experiment, I've asked a few of the main social analytics companies if they were ready for this change, and the results were...interesting.
Now, there are three things that I gathered:
- The responses are not an absolute indicative of the whole brand: unfortunately, some community managers aren't always aware of what the software developers are up to, or what changes are coming from within the company. Hence, while a community manager might say "I don't know", the brand probably already has a statement ready to go out soon saying "yes, we're here, and we're completely ready for this change".
- If it's not a yes, it's not always a no: some community managers are required not to spill the beans until an official PR announcement has been made. This results in them being either vague or denying the truth (which I personally wouldn't recommend).
- Some of these brands are just unprepared: some forgot about this change from Facebook, while some just weren't aware of them in the first place.
Now, let's see - who's ready for Facebook changes?
While Sprout Social are "not sure of any specifics on this", their platform is actually prepared for the changes: the Reporting dashboard within Sprout Social does offer Facebook's new Engagement Rate:
Well done Sprout Social, you're safe. (But please, let your community manager know.)
A bit vague. Every social analytics tool is actively looking at how to redefine KPIs across networks, especially if Facebook "is not the only platform in development", so their response sounds a bit cliché to me.
I'm not sure whether Falcon Social offers some sort of engagement rate or not, but it's definitely worth looking into it now before it's too late.
Social Bakers are well known for their engagement rate which they use to benchmark Facebook pages, and that is one of their several selling points (e.g. their Socially Devoted score, their ads analytics platform etc.). Now, while I love their analytics platform, the only thing I didn't agree with them about was their engagement rate. That metric was calculated using the number of fans per page instead of a page reach - and there's a big difference between the two. I blogged about it and sent it to them, we shared opinions and we had a nice healthy discussion. I was surprised to find out that my "Engagement Rate" article somehow influenced them to introduce engagement rate out of reach on their platform.
So, in short, Social Bakers does offer an engagement rate in line with Facebook's changes.
Well done Social Bakers, you're safe.
HootSuite is a brilliant tool that I always recommend, and despite my ups and downs with it, it's definitely one of the best Social Media Management tools out there, hands down.
However, what worries me here is that, while Facebook's change is imminent, HootSuite doesn't seem to have an answer. What worries me even more is that the platform is still referring to Virality, a metric that Facebook discontinued back in July 2013.
However, like I mentioned earlier, that tweet from HootSuite isn't indicative of HootSuite as a business - perhaps they're currently working on it, and once it's ready I'm sure they'll announce it. Until then, I wouldn't recommend using the Virality metric, especially since you wouldn't be able to correlate it to anything in Facebook Insights.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
I'm still waiting to hear from Salesforce, but I shall update you on this when/if I do.
Adobe Marketing Cloud
I'm still waiting to hear from Adobe too, but I shall update you on this when/if I do.
Simply Measured offers two types of Facebook reports - a set of reports that use the old metrics ("legacy reports"), and a set of reports that have been updated to match Facebook's changes. This is extremely useful for marketers who weren't aware of this change, or for those who want to compare the new engagement rate with the old "virality" metric, or for those who are gradually transitioning from virality to the new engagement rate (e.g. if you had a list of KPIs for a campaign, including virality, and it's now time to report on that, you can do so).
One of the many things that Simply Measured offers is the freedom of choice - besides the plethora of reports available on this social analytics tool, all of the reports are designed around the user and the platform, and not around sales. Hence, I was not surprised to see Simply Measured adopting these changes as soon as Facebook announced them, while keeping the "old" reports active.
Well done Simply Measured, you're safe.
When exactly will these changes take place? Facebook doesn't say. While we know that the old report exports are still available at the time of writing, they will be taken away from Facebook at any point sometime soon.
This may be in the same way that Facebook dealt with the new Facebook Insights dashboard: while the new version was publicly announced in June 2013, Facebook rolled it to everyone 4 months later, in October.
Here's what we know for certain:
- All APIs associated with the old Page Insights will remain available to Page owners and developers; only the old exports will be taken away;
- Any future changes to the old Page Insights APIs will be announced by Facebook, as they are bound to do so by their Developer policies;
- Facebook will soon announce APIs for the new Page Insights metrics as they become available, so page owners and developers can track key metrics more easily;
- While Facebook is gradually distancing itself from the People Talking About This (PTAT) metric, it will still be available as a public-facing metric (meaning that you can see the PTAT score for any page).
- Quick tip: to see the PTAT score of any Facebook page as well as other metrics, just add "/likes" at the end of the Facebook Page URL.
- PTAT will still be available via the old exports (until taken away) and the old Page Insights API.