Facebook Starts Weekly Email Reports For Page Administrators
While the social network hasn't formally announced the new reports, word about email updates started spreading across the blogosphere and Twitter this week as Facebook Page managers began receiving them.
A Facebook spokesperson Thursday confirmed that the company started sending out the email updates last week as a test to help Page managers "stay up-to-date with their fans and improve the admin experience."
The email reports essentially digest basic information from Facebook's Insights analytics service, which provides demographic and interaction data to managers directly through their pages. Among other features, Insights also generates a "post quality score" based on the number of posts, total number of fans and fan interactions, among other factors.
While many Facebook Page managers and owners commenting online this week seemed to welcome the new email reports, they weren't met without criticism. In a post on HubSpot's Internet marketing blog, for instance, Kipp Bodnar called the email summaries a "good start" but suggested Facebook could improve how the data is presented in messages as well as the extent of data provided.
"One link at the bottom of the email to the general analytics dashboard is not a practical solution for busy marketers and business owners. This point brings up a bigger issue with Facebook," he wrote. "For a company that has an abundance of data and information, they share little of it with the business users of their site. The analytical data for page admins is minimal."
In an interview, Bodnar, in-bound marketing manager at HubSpot, added that a weekly email may not be frequent enough to be useful to many businesses. And as far as additional data Facebook might offer, he suggested information of what kinds of site content were most engaging to users. "That's something really simple that could help marketers make better decisions" about how they operate fan pages, he said.
Most of the roughly 15 comments to Bodnar's post expressed being "pleasantly surprised" by the email reports, while sometimes also chiming in on wanting more detailed data. "It would be great if Facebook would develop something that would work similar to Google Analytics or something so we can create more custom 'real time' analysis on the performance on our business pages," wrote Matthew Nelson. Another replied the Google service could already be used to track Facebook Pages.
For its part, Facebook said it will look at the feedback it gets to the weekly email updates and make any changes to the service accordingly. The social network boasts more than 3 million active brand pages, half of which are run by local business.
Many large companies have established a presence on Facebook as well. According to a recent Burson Marsteller study, 54% of the largest 100 international companies have a Facebook fan page.