Five things I learned about “Art of report designing” from Facebook insights.


As you may know, I have a Facebook page for this blog – only because NOT all my friends (on Facebook) want to follow my technology-related activities. But some of them are interested, and so I thought of setting up a Facebook page for the blog which helps those interested in following my twitter (micro-blogging) and blog feed via Facebook.

Now, Facebook provides a nice tool called “Facebook Insights” to view performance of the page, optimize content, among other things. A sample report looks like this:

facebook insight for paras doshi's blogI liked the way they have designed this “line chart” and I thought about what I can learn about “Art of report designing” from this nicely designed report.

Here’s what I liked about the report:

1. Key performance indicators (KPI)

kpi in facebook insights2. “?” (more details) on every “jargon” (term) that CLEARLY explains what each term means.

3. it’s easy to compare “people talking about it” vs “weekly total reach” metric which are inter-dependent in nature.

Now to know why comparing these two metric makes sense, read this:

The next metric, “People Talking About This”, indicates how many people are actually talking about your business to their friends. This metric includes everyone who:

  •  Liked your Page
  • Liked, commented on, or shared your Page post
  •  Answered a Question you’ve asked
  •  Responded to your event
  •  Mentioned your Page
  •  Tagged your Page in a photo
  •  Checked in or recommended your Place

Getting more people to talk about your business allows you to reach more people. You can see how many people your Page is reaching by looking at the “Total Reach” metric.


The report makes it easy for us to “compare” these inter-dependent metrics.

4. The size of the circle depends on the “number of posts”. Very intuitive!

The size of circle depends on numebr of facebook postsThey could have easily opted for “other” formats but they opted for this and to me, it is very intuitive to interpret the report.

5. Horizontal Axis Format for Dates:

Keep interval to 7 for axiskeeping the Interval to “7” looks better! It looks clean!

So, Those were my 5 favorite things about that report

Now, One can export the data too in csv and .xls format! That means, that you can create custom report on top on this data to answer any business question that you may have.

So for instance, I asked myself – Is there a relation between “number of posts i shared” with “People talking about it”. Although this question got answered via the sample report I shared earlier – But I wanted to extend it. Here’s why: The “number of posts” metric was reflected by the “size of the circle” and “people talking about it” metric was reflected in line chart format. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if both values were reflected on a line chart in a coherent fashion? I thought so, and so I downloaded the data on my computer and opened it in excel. And I was quickly created this line chart in excel:

paras doshi's blog on facebookBingo! I learned that more I post on my Facebook page => more likes,shares I am going to generate. Now this is NOT a universal statement, it varies from page to page but at least, my data encourages me to post more on my Facebook page.

So that’s about it. In this blog post, I listed things I liked about Facebook insights and what I learned about “Art of report designing”. Then I extended the data made available to create a custom report on excel. After all, “Information is king“.

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