These Facebook competitor analysis tricks will get you ahead of the game in 2017

Why should you spend time collecting, organising and making sense of your competitors’ social media metrics? The answer is simple. If you understand the most recent metrics Facebook has to offer, you can build your own social strategy and have absolutely no problem beating your competition at their own game.

A quick glance at your competitors’ social pages can give you a great first impression about what others are doing in your industry. But have you ever thought about digging deeper into their numbers and content, in order to analyze the behaviour of your target customers? It is not as complicated as it might sound. Here’s how to get started.

BENCHMARKING FACEBOOK KPIS

The first step in your strategy planning should be to set up realistic Facebook KPIs based on industry standards. Quite a limited variety of metrics are available on Facebook’s platform but you should make the best out of this data.

FIND THE REAL NUMBER OF FANS

One of the first pieces of information you should see for you Facebook competitors analysis is the page’s followers and likes. And there is a difference between the two metrics.

When someone likes your page, they automatically become followers, too. But a person can also unfollow your page without removing their like, which means that they will not see your posts but you can still include them when you’re targeting the “people who follow this page” audience, among other things. If a person unfollows a page, they will not be able to see its posts anymore and because of this, you should take into consideration the number of followers versus the likes for your competitors’ pages.

For example, in the case of Huffpost’s facebook page, they have around 675,000 less followers than likes, which means that this many people “unsubscribed” from seeing their posts in their newsfeeds.

How? Go to the Facebook page in question and in the left menu bar choose “Likes” or “Community”.

Takeaway: Check both the number of likes and followers of your competition’s Facebook pages. Simply looking at page likes might give you an overly positive impression about the size of the audience who sees their posts.

GET INFORMED ABOUT ENGAGEMENT

You can conduct your own Facebook competitors analysis within the platform itself. Facebook suggests pages by default but these may be irrelevant, so you should research your own competitors, and here is an article about the best method to do so.

By adding rivals pages and comparing them with your own, you can subtract the following data sets for each page:

1. Ratio of increase/decrease in page likes

If, for a given page, this metric is very high in comparison with other pages and the historical average, it means there was a jump in the page’s popularity. Go and take a look to see what kind of activity or campaign attracted such a high number of new fans.

2. Engagement this week

Engagement is tricky as the competitors might be using Facebook Ads for their posts to boost their numbers. Rival IQ’s tool gives you a Landscape comparison option and indicates whenever a post is likely to be boosted through paid services.

If it is common practice in your industry to gain followers through ads, you should consider a budget and dig deeper into the services of the Facebook Business platform, otherwise you will be out of the race sooner or later.

3. Posts this week

This number will help with your content strategy.

4. Average weekly engagement per post

Equation: Engagement this week / Posts this week

By calculating the average of this metric in your industry, you can get a realistic baseline for your engagement expectations per post for the given week, as well as your strategy.

How? Log in through Business Manager, go to your own page by clicking the arrow next to the logo + name and click on “Insights” in the top bar. In this section, you will receive basic data about your page in the hero image. If you scroll further down to the “Pages to watch” part you will be able to add 5 or more pages and track their basic engagement metrics.

Takeaway: Facebook wasn’t built to provide you in-depth analytics about your competitors but if you use the above numbers smartly, you can get a good basic idea about the activities of others. For improved and easier-to-understand data analytics, use Rival IQ’s or Sprout Social’s tools.

Facebook is putting substantial effort into improving their analytics, called Facebook Insights, which is slowly but surely catching up with the quality of data structure you can find in Google Analytics. So it’s no surprise that they are frequently modifying the names and structure of their platform, meaning you need to keep up-to-date with the most recent updates of the platform.

CONTENT STRATEGY

Facebook provides some great tools to see where you are standing versus your competition, but does not provide any context or tools to measure influence, besides the basic Facebook KPIs. Luckily, there are several tools out there that help you understand the social scene better. 
You can read more about the topic here.

This article was originally posted on http://blog.intellyo.com by Fruzsina Peti