3 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Facebook


October 9, 2012

As Facebook finally crosses the incomprehensible 1 billion users mark, we thought it would be appropriate to do a bit of a check-in and make sure everyone was up to speed on the latest news from the social network. Hopefully by now, you’ve heard about the rollout of Facebook Exchange retargeting and their new e-mail list ad targeting. Here’s some nitty-gritty stuff you might’ve missed.

Sharing a link counts as ‘Liking’ something, even in your private messages

TheNextWeb surfaced this a week ago, but it’s worth sharing again. Facebook actively scans for links in your private messages. Anytime a URL shows up in your inbox, Facebook counts it as a “Like” of that particular URL for the sender. To be clear, this adds 1 to the ticker that some sites display next to links and might have a future effect on what Facebook does for that URL based on the number of “Likes” it has received, but it doesn’t mean that the URL will show up in your feed, your Timeline, or any social plug-ins the site itself might have. Additionally, in case you didn’t know already, liking, sharing, or commenting on a link inside Facebook’s ecosystem also adds to the “Like” counter for that particular URL.

They’ve just messed with the algorithm again

First brought to my attention by Jeff Doak by way of Jeffrey Colon over at Ogilvy, it seems that Facebook has been tinkering with their EdgeRank algorithm again. Apparently, sometime around September 21st, they enacted the changes. Pages have since experienced as much as a 50% decrease in reach from their posts, sometimes more. This, coupled with Facebook’s recent crackdown on fake likes and profiles might’ve just really jostled your analytics.

Top-Level Insights are pretty worthless

This is more general knowledge, but given that Facebook downgrading a Page’s reach is something of a big deal I think it’s worth mentioning. The top-level metrics like Reach and PTAT that you see in Facebook’s insights manager are relatively devoid of value. The Reach metric includes reach from paid ads, as well as reach from things like a user Liking your Page. Although interesting to note, these contributing factors are not going to help you determine the value or effectiveness of your content or posting schedule. To get at that, you need to download their Post-level metrics from the Insights manager. Similarly, PTAT includes all sorts of strange data points in its total. For instance, a user “Liking” you’re Page counts into the PTAT score, as well as a user commenting on your Page’s timeline. Again, although this might be interesting data in a broader context, it doesn’t really speak to how much advocacy your page is actively getting from users.

BONUS: They made a TV commercial

In case you hadn’t seen it already, Facebook released a TV commercial as part of their 1 billion users announcement. You can check it out here.

What news have you heard lately about the largest social network? Anything we missed? Let us know about it in the comments.