Social Media Analytics Blog

Feature Pitch Part 4 - People Talking About This

Since its introduction the People Talking About This metric is a hotly debated topic. Basically PTAT shows the number of people sharing stories about the page in the last seven days. Facebook built this metric to help page admins and owners to determine the fan engagement. AllFacebook Stats offers two significant analyses to measure the impact of People Talking About This. In this feature pitch we want to demystify this People Talking About This metric and also show the best way to work with it.

First we need to check what exactly is defined as a People Talking About This action.

Breakdown Of Facebooks People Talking About This

The metric is affected by users taking any of these actions with respect to a brand’s wall.

  • like a page
  • post on the page wall
  • like,comment and share a post
  • answer a question
  • RSVP to a page’s event
  • mention the page in a post
  • tag the page in a photo
  • check in at a place
  • share a check-in deal
  • like a check-in deal
  • write a recommendation

So who are these users, that are getting people that talk about a page?

People Talking About A Page

We consider the following hierarchy. It shows the typical interaction funnel where many users view the page's content (Page Total Reach), but less click on them (Page Engaged Users) and only a few actively propagate the content (People Talking About).

The data is available for every day, but each data point contains a moving sum of the last 7 days, as shown in the following picture.

Finally let's check the charts and metrics AllFacebook Stats offers you to get a better overview of your performance in case of PTAT and, of course, those of your competitors.

The People Talking About This Chart

This time we take some well-known retail brands for comparison. In order to identify a long-term performance and excluding short-term exceptions, we consider the data of the first two quarters of 2012.

In this chart we can see the absolute numbers of people talking about for the retail brands pages. Walmart reached its highest peak for 665.2k people talking about their page on the 10th of February. During the course of the months until the end of June Walmart was mostly the leader for PTAT out of this group. Some weeks however Target reached a higher number of people talking about. At the end of the second quarter, Amazon started to mingle into the duell with 485k people talking about the Amazon Facebook page.

Note: Of course, the absolute PTAT numbers deliver a nice overview about the reach of the pages. But as the PTAT numbers are associated with the absolute fan count, benchmarking the retail brands this way can't be interpreted in any meaningful way. And if we look at the table with the number of fans, it's very clear why Walmart and Target are precisely leading this metric. In fact, Walmart has more than 20 times as many fans as Tesco.

So, how to compare the PTAT numbers of pages with different fan counts in a meaningful way?

The People Talking About This - Rate

This rate makes it possible to compare pages of various sizes, because the numbers of people talking about this for a specific time interval are divided by the number of fans. Please note that the PTAT Rate can go beyond 100% as also non-fan activities are counted in the PTAT number.

Now it looks quite different. Tesco, the smallest page in case of fan size, is now leading most of the time. The highest peak for Tesco was on the first March when users representing nearly 13% of all Tesco fans were talking about this brand. Amazon is also doing quite well again. The numbers for Walmart and Target are now mediocre. Like in the chart above Kohl's and Best Buy hardly seem to be a topic for conversation.

And what does that tell us? To put it briefly, we can't say that Tesco is more succesfull than Walmart. Sure, relatively higher percentage of users are talking about Tesco, but in absolute numbers more users are talking about Walmart. We want to show what this means for a randomly chosen day.

We take the 8th of June. On the last 7 days before 8.95% of the Tesco fans were talking about the brand. In absolute numbers that means 71k people for Tesco. Same day, different brand: Walmart. For this worldwide active retailer the PTAT - Rate on the 8th June was 2.92%. But this means in absolute numbers an amount of 480k people. Here you can see the difference. Although the PTAT - Rate of Walmart is obviously lower than Tescos, Walmart still reaches nearly 7 times more people than Tesco. But, of course Tescos fans seem to be more active, this can also be seen at the great interaction rate of Tesco.

What do you think is more important - the absolute or the relative numbers?

Tags: Facebook Fans, People Talking About This, Features, Feature Pitch

quintly Team

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