If you go to the Timeline section of your ActionSprout account you'll see a menu filled with information and metrics. But what does it all mean? 

Let's start at the very top with Engagement Rate and Virality.

Engagement Rate is the number of people who've engaged with a post compared to the number of people it reached.

In the example above, 22% of the folks who saw this post also engaged with it. Anything over 11% is pretty good, so this was a highly successful post!

Engagement should always be your number one goal when posting on Facebook. It's the data most closely related to action (whether digital or physical), and thus it's the most likely factor to move the needle for your cause.

Virality measures how many people saw it because someone they knew liked it, shared it, or commented on it, versus the number of people who simply saw it because they already indicated an interest.

Any of the following can help make a piece of content go viral:

• Someone shares your post in their newsfeed, serving up your content to all of their network in addition to your cause's network.

• A supporter likes or comments on the post, causing it to show up in their friends' newsfeeds. If one of their friends sees the post and then also engages with it, that’s called viral engagement.

• The link somehow gains traction of its own accord, without you making additional efforts or paying for reach.

Engagement Summary  

Now let's move down to Engagement Summary, which provides a more granular look at the post’s engagement than the previous metrics.

In the first row of data you'll see the post’s likes, comments, and shares. Depending on your goals and mission, your organization may weigh one these higher than the others.

In general, likes reflect the lowest level effort and interest from your supporters. A like is better than nothing, but it typically indicates minimal effort and minimal engagement.

Comments take a more time than likes. They require thought, attention, and a clear interest. They also indicate that the people commenting don’t mind weighing in publicly on the issue. This is a biggie on Facebook, as users are hyper aware of how their interaction with content directly affects how they're perceived (and how they want to be perceived).

Lastly, you have shares. Though sharing a post may take less effort than commenting, it's arguably the most valuable of the three. That's because, if a person shares something, it indicates they've really connected with the post in such a way that they want their network to see them sharing it. They want that content to be linked to them as an individual and to be stamped into their personal timeline.

The next two metrics, People Engaged and Views/Clicks, contain info that’s typically less referenced, but it’s good to have nonetheless.

 People Engaged is the raw counterpart to the Engagement Rate we discussed before. It’s simply the number of people who engaged with your post in any way, not taking into account the number of people it reached who did not.

 The Views/Clicks metric is unique to the format of your post. With an image post, for instance, Views reflects the number of times people clicked on the image to see it larger. In the case of a linked post, Clicks reflect the number of times people followed your link to learn more.

 Then in the last section you’ll find People Reached, which is divided into three buckets of info:

Organic Reach is any reach you earned without paying for it. You simply posted a piece of content to Facebook and your audience engaged with it.

 Viral Reach is also free, but unlike organic, it disperses your post well beyond your supporter base. For whatever reason, people are quick to interact with it and want pass it on.

Paid Reach means you gave Facebook money to reach more people with your post. You may have clicked the Boost Post button on Facebook, created an ad, or used ActionSprout and SmartAds to boost the post.

 All of these stats come down to people seeing your content and taking action. But it's important to understand how and why the numbers differ, so you can use that info to track your outreach over time and create targeted goals for future posts.

 

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