This is our second post in our Facecook Insights Disclosed Blog. We share ideas, insights and thoughts derived from running 13 pages around movie topics on Facebook with over 10M likes. Last time we analysed whether or not an increased impact of PTAT (People Talking About That) really led to a better user experience. We formulated some doubts, at least from certain perspectives such as those published here. Today we will take a closer look at the interaction between the PTAT value and Organic Reach.
by Jon Handschin
Facebook wants us to understand the importance of PTAT and Organic Reach. PTAT again being the amount of times in a 7 day period somebody comments on one of your page posts, shares or likes them, thus creating a story about you in the respective user’s newsfeed. Whereas organic reach is the amount of individuals from your fans that actually see at least one of your page posts within a 7 day period. In contrast to organic impressions, in organic reach each fan your posts get displayed to will only count once a week, even if more of your stories are being shown to that fan. You can tell how much Facebook stresses the importance of these two values at first glance in your Insights section. PTAT and Reach are the first and foremost curves displayed to you there. The central question for you as page manager should be: “Can I drive the organic reach of my page by increasing PTAT? And if so, what effect do I expect?” In this blog entry we come up with some answers to these questions.
The overview section of Facebook Insights concentrates on your Reach and Talking About it values.
In order to make the performance across our pages accessible, we transformed these values into ratios to likes. This makes it possible to compare our larger pages like moviepilot.com with over 4M fans to smaller pages like Romantic Movies with just 100K Fans. At the beginning of October, shortly after the Edgerank Algorithm update, we plotted these ratios, the PTAT/Likes against Org. Reach/Likes for all of our pages. It showed the following distribution. Note that all values are for the US American market, since PTAT to Organic Reach dependencies vary strongly among different geo-markets.
Fig. 1: PTAT/Like vs Org. Reach/Like Distribution among the moviepilot theme channels in the beginning of October 2012
The x-axis represents PTAT/Likes the y-axis is Org. Reach/Likes
With the usual one or two exceptions you can pretty much see a linear dependency between both values. Now we will apply some math we haven’t used since high school. (Don’t worry - it won’t hurt). Eliminating the extremes, we inserted a trend line and conducted a regression analysis. We came up with the equation:
Fig. 2: Trendline in the PTAT/Like vs Org. Reach/Like Distribution among the moviepilot theme channels in the beginning of October 2012 The x-axis represents PTAT/Likes the Y-axis is Org Reach/Likes
In other words: we could verify the positive impact of higher PTAT/Likes ratios on Org. Reach/Likes. We estimated that for every additional % in PTAT/Likes our pages should be rewarded with approximately 1.71% Org. Reach/Likes.
Throughout November we concentrated more on PTAT, driving stories that focused on call-to-actions such as commenting, liking and sharing our page posts rather than clicking an external link. In this time we nearly tripled our average PTAT/Likes value across all 13 pages.
Fig. 3: Increases in PTAT/Like ratios from October 2012 to November 2012 across 13 moviepilot pages Secondly, we had to assess that our increase in PTAT/like ratios had actually been rewarded with increased Org. Reach/Like ratios.
Fig. 4: Increases in Org. Reach/Like ratios from October 2012 to November 2012 across 13 moviepilot pages
Figure 4 illustrates that the assumption is actually true: If you concentrate on he PTAT values of your pages this will be directly rewarded with increased Organic Reach values. But we also wanted to estimate if our initial assumption had been right that we could even preict the amount of increase in organic reach. At the beginning of November we therefore plotted all PTAT/Likes and Org. Reach/Likes ratios for our pages again and inserted a new trend line.
Fig. 5: Trendline in the PTAT/Like vs Org. Reach/Like Distribution among the moviepilot theme channels in the beginning of November 2012
The x-axis represents PTAT/Likes the Y-axis is Org Reach/Likes
Again you can easily insert a trend line and conduct a new regression analysis for the data gathered at the beginning of November.
This analysis comes up with smaller values than in October: the trendline has become less steep. This means that each additional percent in PTAT/Likes is “only” rewarded with about 0.3% in Org. Reach/Likes in contrast to the 1.71% we had anticipated a month ago.
As a result one can summarize: Yes, you can increase the organic reach of your page by increasing your PTAT values. This correlation is nearly linear. But while increasing your PTAT values you will find diminishing returns on investment. Especially as the page manager of a publishing service that has to balance between PTAT and traffic stories linking to your external site, you should know about the saturation point of your page. You will be able to optimize the traffic to your external site AND the organic reach of your Facebook page by balancing out PTAT vs traffic driving page posts.
Hope this was helpful.
Leave a comment in either case.
Next time we will take a closer look at the second value that has increased impact on your Edge Rank: the negative feedback from your fans.