The simplest Facebook metric to remember

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Quick, what Facebook metrics actually matter? Likes? Comments? Shares? The answer is… all of the above, and yet none of the above. What actually matters is engagement, which is a composite number of likes, comments, shares, re-shares, etc. Facebook sums all of this up in a number in your Page Insights called People Talking About This. Here’s what the official text says:

“Daily: The number of people sharing stories about your page. These stories include liking your Page, posting to your Page’s timeline, liking, commenting on or sharing one of your Page posts, answering a question you posted, responding to one of your events, mentioning your Page, tagging your Page in a photo or checking in at your location. (Unique Users)”

Facebook’s algorithms pay close attention to these behaviors, these activities. If you’re a Page manager, you’ll find this in the Insights download:


Download your spreadsheet of Page metrics and open it up in the spreadsheet software of your choice. Look for two columns, Daily People Talking About This (PTAT) and Lifetime Likes:


Think of these two columns as the number of people you did reach and the number of people you could have reached. Divide Daily PTAT by Lifetime Likes and you get a sense of how much engagement you’re actually getting on a day to day basis…


Take a look at those numbers. On my best day, my Facebook page is getting 1.47% engagement. Now you might say, well, that’s because maybe I just suck at Facebook. I did a bit of digging, though, and looked at a well-respected non-profit: 0.14% engagement on day to day engagement vs. total potential audience. Major consumer brand with big audience and a beloved product? 0.95% engagement. Super-hot consumer startup with a product that’s on fire and getting major coverage? 1.65% engagement.

Is it any wonder that brands simply have resorted to getting out the credit card and paying to play?

If Facebook isn’t delivering results for your brand any more, if your numbers look like these, you have two basic choices: you can either reduce the resources allocated to it, or you can pay to play. Either way, what you’re doing right now probably isn’t working as well as you’d like. Run this simple engagement math on the Facebook Pages you manage and see how your day to day engagement is really doing.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


3 responses to “The simplest Facebook metric to remember”

  1. Ed Alexander Avatar
    Ed Alexander

    Thanks for this, Chris. I manage online channel engagement for several major brands – media, consumer and B2B. It is encouraging to find that my clients’ engagement results are either on par or better than the examples you cited.


    1. Glad it was helpful, Ed!

  2. Vanessa Penagos Avatar
    Vanessa Penagos

    This is really helpful! I work for a brand and this was a quick way to see how our posts are measuring up.

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