In this series, we’ll take a look at how you can increase traffic to your website and improve engagement with readers. In particular, Dash is a great way to build an audience for your content. Real time data and simple, information rich graphics make it easy to identify opportunities and take action. Check back every week for more in-depth tips on building an audience:
Last week, we talked about building an audience by trailblazing new Twitter networks. On Dash, it’s easy to see which Twitter users are interacting with your content. We’re able to extract that information because Twitter is an “open” network. Unfortunately, Facebook is not. Facebook is like a burger shop—no shirt, no shoes, no service—except that every customer (developer) is rolling shirt- and shoe-less. Although we can collect information about aggregate Facebook activity, we can’t parse that data out to reveal which specific Facebook users are interacting with your content how. Our CEO Sachin Kamdar wrote a great piece for GigaOM on “the shares problem” and how to approach it. As a content creator, an editor, or a publisher, you are a general staring into dark and uncharted territory: Facebook’s fog of war. What we can show, however, is the total click-through traffic from Facebook for any given author, post, section, etc. on your site.
Here are two ways you can see through the Facebook fog of war:
1. Make comparisons: Understanding your baseline Facebook activity, or what an average day looks like, can help you identify areas of weakness or strength. If your site usually attracts 10% traffic from social sources, and 60% of that traffic is from Facebook, but one of your articles is not performing well on Facebook, you can promote that article more or evaluate its share-ability. Or if one author is performing better than others on Facebook, you could hold a meeting to workshop Facebook networking. The possibilities are endless. Say articles from your news section are performing better on Facebook than opinion articles—maybe the presence or absence of a compelling thumbnail image is affecting share rate. Machined analytics aren’t enough: human intelligence is the key to making accurate and insightful comparisons of Facebook activity between authors or sections.
2. Link longevity: Besides the sheer number of Facebook shares, it’s valuable to know the duration that a link is driving traffic and whether your old content is resurfacing on Facebook. On Dash, you can view selected time periods of traffic for any referrer For example, you might see an article, originally published a week ago, ranked third in total Facebook referrals for the current day. Those observations can help you anticipate future content performance and take action on unexpectedly surging posts.
Instead of wishing and hoping that Facebook would cut the no shoes policy, we like to focus on what we can do with the data we have. With proper reservations and an eye for detail, we can do a lot.