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