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Facebook Following Google, Adding Real-Time Analytics To Pages


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If you’re a big time Google Analytics fan like I am, you know that last year they added real-time analytics to their popular web analytics service. Once in the realm of either paid services (or more limited, single use type services), real-time gives you visibility into what’s popular now. And by now, they meant right now. It’s a great resource.

For those using their Facebook page to advertise jobs or even just as a branding exercise, you know how much Facebook Insights, the name of their analytics service, rarely lived up to its name. It looks like at least one component of this service will improve dramatically: the timeliness of updates.

Facebook to add real-time to their vocabulary

In an announcement slated for Wednesday, Facebook will announce that their analytics product for pages will improve. From Techcrunch yesterday:

Facebook’s analytics tool Insights will soon begin showing Page performance data in real-time or near real-time rather than on average 48 hour delay, the company Facebook plans to announce at Wednesday’s Facebook Marketing Conference in New York City according to our sources. Work on preparing for the switch to real-time reporting is apparently the cause of recent atypically long delays of 4 days or more, chronicled by one-off website WhyIsFacebookInsightsNotWorking.com.

Impressions, reach, negative feedback, “people talking about this”, and demographics of engagers could all start showing up live in the graphical Insights interface as well as the API.

While everything about Facebook Insights won’t be fixed by this change, the aspect of a near real-time look at the statistics of how Facebook pages are being used is an intriguing possibility.

Reaction time

So what does this mean to folks working in talent acquisition?

Let’s say a particular job is getting a lot of shares and views on Facebook but isn’t getting as many click-throughs to a lead form or application than you’d like to see? With real-time statistics, you could make an additional post the same day with more or alternative information.

While you may be able to make some decisions based on clicks to your own website, it is hard to tell how effective it is without comparing the relative reach of each update until well after the initial update went out. That’s problematic for an industry that prides itself on being able to turn on a dime.

Other possibilities?

I’m hoping that this isn’t the only improvement they announce when it comes to their Insight product though. More information on the behavior of users, whether they are interacting in their own feed or coming directly to the page and how they are sharing would all be useful information to page owners.

With an IPO down the road though, here’s a guess that it won’t happen. Facebook has had privacy flaps before and they’ll want to avoid the possibility of getting accused of being careless with privacy again. More data about how users are interacting with pages, even if anonymized, could ruffle privacy advocates feathers.

Even just real-time will be an improvement over the status quo. If Facebook can build an even better analytics platform overall, it will increase the valuable nature having a sustained, engaged presence on the site.

Lance Haun is an editor at The Starr Conspiracy, a marketing agency focused on the enterprise HCM market. He spent three years as an editor at ERE Media and seven years in the recruiting and HR trenches before joining the agency. You can follow him on Twitter, circle him on Google+, check out his blog or contact him directly at lance@coug.rs.
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