Niche brands boost Facebook campaigns with analytics, but still desire more data

Marketers’ use of Facebook has exploded in recent months, and brands with niche audiences have begun to use the site’s social media analytics to better understand their fans. However, some niche brand marketers say these analytics capabilities fall far short of their need to understand how Facebook campaigns affect the bottom line.

Access to the analytics is helping companies better target Facebook posts and other marketing material distributed through the social network. Ludus Tours, an Austin, TX-based company that organizes excursions to international events like Oktoberfest and the Olympic Games, has used Facebook data to reach specific consumer segments. 

“We did a post about the World Cup announcement that got no feedback — much less than events like Oktoberfest or the running of the bulls in Spain that our company is better known for,” says Victoria Whyte, social media manager at Ludus Tours. “That tells me we need to establish ourselves as a World Cup company.”

John Squire, chief strategy officer at Web analytics firm IBM Coremetrics, says the change to the website’s analytics policy is valuable for brands trying to reach very specific demographics. 

“Facebook analytics are really going to help to identify what that audience looks like and where I can find more people who are just like them,” says Squire. 

Many niche brand marketers gained access to Facebook user data, including per-post impressions, comments and feedback, when the social network made its analytics results available to all businesses in late November; prior to that, a company needed more than 10,000 “likes” to obtain the data. The move also provides marketers with the ability to measure their initiatives on a day-to-day basis. Brands with niche audiences can now glean information on total daily views and feedback, as well as how that data is changing. 

Scrubadoo, a company that sells scrubs and labcoats to nurses as well as consumers in scientific fields, has found Facebook valuable for targeting specific types of consumers. It has acquired more than 1,600 fans by reaching out to anyone who “likes” subjects like “nursing.” The company also uses Facebook for targeted promotions, such as a $5 discount for consumers who become fans of the brand on the social website. 

Despite its value, marketers say they need far more data from the social network to understand how the money they spend on social media marketing is benefitting them. Brett Brohl, CEO of Scrubadoo, says Facebook’s new analytics offerings are an improvement over what was previously available, but he uses Google Analytics to gauge the metrics he really cares about: conversions to sales. 

“Getting Facebook fans is great, but how do you transfer those to actual purchases?” he says. “Facebook is getting better and better, but Google gives us much more information and is so transparent.”

Carmen Sognovi, co-owner of Brooklyn, NY-based Urban Martial Arts, says the new Facebook analytics are better than previous iterations, but she is still forced to look elsewhere for a full range of analytics about her customers. 

“I’m better off just creating a Facebook-specific landing page on my website and using Google Analytics to track how many hits that page gets,” she says. “If you post a link to a non-Facebook page, Insights doesn’t seem to offer any information on the number of clicks those links receive.”

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