The Facebook Response Ratio

I've come to love Facebook Insights these days. They can provide you with an incredible wealth of data, particularly about what type of content resonates best with your fans. One of the ways that I've been measuring this is by the Response Ratio: The number response a post has received (comments + likes), divided by the number of fans the page has (often I then multiply this final number by 1000 just so its easier to work with...I'm sure there's a mathematical statistical term for this).

While Facebook provides you with the number of impressions your post has had, and the Feedback percentage for this post, you can't easily get this information for pages your competitors or pages in the same category. However,  Response Ratio allows you to do this, so that you can easily compare the amount of engagement your page has compared to similar ones, regardless of fan size.

Part of what started this thinking was a debate we had at work about how much engagement National Geographic's Facebook page has. Their status updates average something like 3,000 comments and Likes each. This sounds huge, but not compared to their 4.5 million fans.

In fact, despite the amazing content that National Geographic is sharing, their level of engagement is much lower than that of the average brand page (at least, the ones Radar DDB is working on ;-) ). An example of the Response Ratio for their last ten updates is as follows:

As you can see, there are a couple of troughs and peaks. The big spike at 9 is for a post they had linking to a photo gallery Iceland, while other spikes represent a post linking photos of pagodas in China and a post linking to an article about Pi Day. The low point for National Geographic? A link to a picture of a man with his cattle.

In this (very small) sample, our basic analysis says  that National Geographic fans are interested in compelling photo series, rather than articles or single photos. If we extended our reporting period to the last month (instead of the last ten posts), we'd probably be able to build a much better picture of the type of content these fans enjoy. Comparing the National Geographic page to similar pages  (for example, Discovery Channel's Planet Earth) and doing an analysis of the Response Ratio might even give some insight into what types of new content National Geographic should be posting.

In the below chart, I also looked at the Fox News Facebook page

So what was that post on the Fox News Facebook Page that got so many comments and likes?

And with that, I think I've proven my point that the Facebook Response Ratio is a valuable tool for measuring the types of content that resonate well with a page's fans.

However, it will always be necessary to measure the sentiment and types of responses that a page's are updates are getting. While on-page engagement is great, it might not necessarily be the right type of engagement for a brand, nor will it necessarily drive business results.

Do you think you will use the Facebook Response Ratio? Are there any other ways to measure the success of yours or competitor Facebook pages, besides pure fan numbers?


PS: If you like this post, you might like this other post I wrote about the Best Time To Post On Facebook