Practical Ecommerce

7 Keys to Facebook’s ‘People Talking About This’

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.

In “10 Ways to Improve EdgeRank on your Facebook Page,” my previous post, I covered how Facebook sorts content in users’ News Feeds using its EdgeRank algorithm. This article is a follow-up and covers a metric that closely ties with EdgeRank: “People Talking About This,” or PTAT.

What Is ‘People Talking About This’ — PTAT?

Here is how Facebook defines the metric.

“People Talking About This is the number of people who have created a story from your Page post.” Stories include:

  • Sharing. Shares of your page’s updates, videos, images, and activities.
  • Page Likes. Every instance when Facebook users click “Like” on your page.
  • Commenting on your post. Comments to Facebook posts and updates.
  • Mentions and photo tags. Users tagging your page in their post updates or tagging you in their photos.
  • Check-ins. Facebook local check-ins to your Places page.
  • Responding to an event. Responding to events — attending, not attending, or not sure.
  • Claiming an offer. Redeeming a Facebook page offer — the process would involve Facebook emailing the claimed offer.

So whenever any of the above actions are carried out by a unique user, and as a result, a News Feed story is generated, your page’s “People Talking About This” metric goes up by one.

In short, “People Talking About This” is all about fans creating stories about your page.

As an example, if your fans or even non-fans Liked, shared, commented, participated in a poll, attended a Facebook event you hosted, or claimed an offer from your page, each unique person that carries out these actions increases your PTAT number by one. Each person adds a point — so a Like and a comment by a fan on a post would add one point to your PTAT count.

A mention of your page as a status message on fans’ or non fans’ pages without tagging your page is null; however, tagging your page in their status or in a photograph they post creates a PTAT point.

The Basics of ‘People Talking About This’

Here are seven key points to bear in mind.

1. People Talking About This reveals only seven days of engagement data. The first point to note about PTAT is that it only shows your page’s engagement performance over seven days and does not give full insight into your page’s overall performance. If you had been inactive on Facebook for the last week, then your PTAT would reflect it — but this would not indicate that your EdgeRank or potential reach is low.

PTAT only shows 7 days of data.

PTAT only shows 7 days of data.

2. PTAT summary data is public. Your PTAT number is publicly displayed on your page for all to see. It’s an easy indicator to decipher recent activity and engagement on a page. In-depth data, however, can be accessed via Facebook Insights.

PTAT data is public.

PTAT data is public.

3. Compare your page’s PTAT with your competitors. Because PTAT data is publicly available, you can compare your PTAT against your competitors, to get a better understanding of your page’s wider performance. You can use this especially when you want to go beyond comparing page Likes as a comparison metric.

Use PTAT data to compare with competitors.

Use PTAT data to compare with competitors.

4. Expect 1 to 10 percent of your fans to create stories about your page. Even hugely popular Facebook pages expect only a minute fraction of their fans engaging with their posts and activities on Facebook. Depending on the kind of content you share, your page’s PTAT would likely be 1 percent of your fan base. Consider anything above 1 percent, without the aid of advertising, above average. Anything above 3 percent without promotion indicates good engagement.

5. A detailed breakdown of your PTAT metrics can be found in the older Facebook Insights. If you are still using the older Facebook Page Insights tool for your analytics reporting and have not opted into the new Facebook Page Insights tool, then you will find a more in-depth ‘Talking about this” report in your Facebook Insights. The image below shows the first set of statistics that would be displayed when you log into the Insights tool.

Talking about this breakdown in old Facebook Insights.

“Talking about this” breakdown in old Facebook Insights.

Scrolling further down reveals a list of all your recent pages posts with detailed post level “Talking about this” metrics.

A list of all "Talking about this" metrics.

A list of all “Talking about this” metrics.

Clicking the “Talking about this” tab on the top left corner of your Insights page would reveal even more in-depth demographic data for your fans that have engaged or “talked about” your page in the past week. You are also able to navigate on a 7-day basis, over the last 90 days.

View more "Talking about this" data and browse in 7-day sections.

View more “Talking about this” data and browse in 7-day sections.

Below this is a “Talking About Your Page” graph with five data filter options for a specific story type: “All Stories,” “Page likes,” “Stories from Your Posts,” “Mentions and Photo Tags,” “Posts by others,” and “Check-ins.”

"How People Are Talking About Your Page" graph.

“How People Are Talking About Your Page” graph.

The data above gives an insight into what is generating your PTAT metric. For example, a Facebook page for a restaurant might find that “Check-ins” generate 50 percent of its PTAT and might look to increase this figure by encouraging visitors to “Check-in” to the Facebook page by offering a discount at the restaurant. A different Facebook page might find that its “Stories from Your Posts” engagement form the majority of its PTAT figure.

6. The new Facebook Page Insights has broken down PTAT. On June 19, Facebook announced that its Page Insights Tool had been overhauled with an update that has fundamentally changed PTAT. In the new Page Insights that is currently optional, PTAT is no longer a single figure. It is not available as a viewable option and has been broken down into the following key components within Facebook Insights.

  • Page Likes.
  • People Engaged — the number of unique people who have clicked on, Liked, commented on, or shared your posts.
  • Page tags and mentions.
  • Page check-ins.
  • Other interactions on a page.

Facebook says that the aggregated PTAT metric will still be available in the old Insights interface. What is unclear is if Facebook will still retain the publicly available PTAT metric next to page Likes. I’ve found the reports in the new Insights to be thorough.

7. Sponsored stories and advertising can help boost your PTAT metrics. Increasing the reach of your Facebook page through advertising or sponsored stories can especially help with creating new stories about your page. A strategy of compelling content is the cornerstone of success with Facebook marketing.

Increasing total reach can boost our PTAT Metrics.

Increasing total reach can boost our PTAT Metrics.


Facebook could, perhaps, eliminate the new “People Talking About This” metric after the full launch of the new Page Insights and Graph Search. Regardless, what is critical for effective Facebook marketing is better understanding the kind of people that interact with your page and the type of content that drives engagement.

PTAT in Page Insights has helped us better understand this thus far. The new Page Insights also thoroughly and more intuitively unravels page, post, and audience engagement metrics.

Kunle Campbell

Kunle Campbell

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  1. nalu July 23, 2013 Reply

    Sadly, this article is a moot point, for artist/businesses/brands/etc… (especially those that have a lot of engagement), Facebook no longer displays this metric… Admins of pages are able to see the results of this metric under ‘Engagement’ in the new Insights panel…

    • Kunle Campbell July 25, 2013 Reply

      If you check Facebook now, you’d find that PTAT has started to show on pages again. It is erratic to say the least – whether or not it is retained as a metric is still uncertain.
      We can only wait and see!

  2. Kunle Campbell July 24, 2013 Reply

    @Nalu – I have checked a few pages and PTAT appears to have stopped displaying (good find and I suspect this is a fairly recent development).

    Point to note: At the time of writing this post i.e. on the 15th of July 2013, those screen-grabs of the Mashable, Social Media Today, McDonald’s and Burger King pages were taken with their respective PTAT figures publicly displayed.

    In the concluding paragraph of my article, I did mention that:

    “Facebook could, perhaps, eliminate the new “People Talking About This” metric after the full launch of the new Page Insights and Graph Search.”

    From these posts, PTAT does seem to have the habit of disappearing from time to time:

    8 months ago:

    9 months ago:

    Let’s sit tight and see how things pan out!

  3. Michael Philips September 9, 2013 Reply

    Hello Kunle, Great insights very useful. Thanks for sharing

  4. Cygnis Media November 26, 2013 Reply

    This is a really good article and gives great advice on how to stay on top of the ever changing Facebook settings and defaults and how to work with them to our advantage.

  5. Angela Dickinson January 15, 2014 Reply

    How is it possible for a page to have an incredibly high PTAT, much higher than the number of likes for the page?

    I’ve been monitoring 1 particular page where the number of likes is approx. 20k but the number of PTAT is over 200k. Is this some kind of marketing scheme? Given it’s a known fact that PTAT is usually a max of around 10% of the total number of page likes I’m curious on how this particular page has been able to pull this off.

    Thanks for your help and knowledge.