Sunday, 4 March 2012

[How-to] Benchmarking Competitors on Facebook Timeline

Competitive Analysis is always a big topic in market research, particularly on Facebook landscape, companies like SocialBaker has been trying to provide analytical insights by clawing and massaging fanpage data automatically, such that they could help you to close the gap between your own Facebook Insights data and your competitors'. The problem is, they're usually not free. :(

True that all these solutions are affordable, but not every marketer may have the budget (or just ask for it) for similar service. Luckily with the new Timeline for Brand feature from Facebook, finally we could spy our competitors much easier.... Facebook has made some of those data opened to us!

Let's start Spying.... 

The trick is simple. Go to your competitor's fan page, which as long as they've timeline feature activated, click on the box that shows how many Likes that this page has.

Ta-Da ! We have the data along with trend lines (which are supposed to be exclusive to page admin) !! Now we're talking....

Now we've the data, what could we do with it?  Here're two directions for you to consider...

1. Benchmarking for Social KPI

The most basic and convincing angle in leveraging the data: Are you doing better than your competitor? In terms of community management, personally i treat facebook as a place for deep conversations with loyalty fans rather than broadcasting channel. In other words, i value the quality of the fans much more than just the number of fans. Regardless the difference of such definition in the market (indeed, people treat the same set of data so differently, but i think it's fine because we are looking into something more conceptual than numbers. :) ), here're the two metrics i would use for a proper competitive analysis:

People Talking About This - equivalent to the summation of proactive interaction from fans, which includes all the Likes, Comments and Shared collected within the period.  The higher quality the fans are, usually the more engaging they're, so this (moving) metric provides us a basic understanding on the volume in interactions that the fanpage could generate in last 30 days (thus a moving metric).
Engagement Rate - Calculated by "People Talking About This" divide by "Total Likes". Ratio or average are usually another tools for analyst to abstract a difficult concept. The Engagement Rate could provide us the idea that on average, how many engagement (Talking about This) that each fan is generating. The higher the value, the more quality the fans are. 

How could we turn these into proper analysis? Try a Rational Map !

No worry Marketers, these are mock-up data. :)
With a map, now we could try to think this way:
Why Habour City has the same Engagement Rate as TheOne and K11 even though it has more interactions (People Talking About This) ?
Why Taiko Plaza has so high Engagement Rate? Is it temporary? Is it due to any special event? 
Now why HabourCity is less engaged than Taiko Plaza even with similar numbers in interactions? Does this mean that HabourCity is under-performed?
Looks like we've even more questions... :\   Why not take a step further? :)

2. Event/Conversation Annotation 

While benchmarking is always an effective way to let you learn about the positioning among all different data, we usually need a way for deeper understanding for the true answer that buried deep down in the data. With a trend line that Facebook Timeline provides as, one could easily map the key events or conversations (on fan page) to the trend line in order to create an additional angle for analysis. This is very useful for answering question "why did their interaction peak at that time?". And indeed the "Most Popular Week" is exactly the field that you should go first as it tells you right away where the interesting part is. "Hey, look at this period!". :)

Oh, but Can We Disable This (on Our Page)?

No, sorry, at least not now. Though one could easily hide it by removing it from the favorites, such that people need to click the small drop-down button to view more. Not too bad for a solution i guess. :\

Move the "Likes" to the 2nd or 3rd row to hide it, though sacrifice the achievement-like fans number. :(

Bonus - If you want to learn how to benchmark the performance across other owned channels, have a read on my other more advanced post "Advanced Multi-Channel Funnel Analysis using Google Analytics ". :)


Well i guess that is for today. :)

What do you think about the new Timeline for Brand? Do you have the similar concerns in letting your competitors' know about your performance? Now it's your turn to leave us the comments!

And don't forget to  us and subscribe us if you enjoy the post ! 

See you again soon. :)


Stuff that you will be interested:

Advanced Multi-Channel Funnel Analysis using Google Analytics 
6 Steps to Crack a Complex Business Report into Actionable Infographics
4 Approaches to Estimate Cost for Multi-Channel in Google Analytics  
5 Lessons DrawSomething teaches on Visualization for Presentation

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