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How to Spy on Your Competition Using Insights Facebook Feature

  • Erik Emanuelli
  • 26/11/2015

One of the most exciting features available for each Facebook fan page is “Insights”.

But how can you use it to spy on your competitor?

Let’s see into details.

Pages to Watch

This section is quite easy to find.
Just visit your fan page and click on “Insights”


Now you just need to scroll down to find “Pages to watch.”

How does it work?

Simple: add the fan pages you want to follow, with which you want to confront. Obviously, it makes sense if you add fan pages of your competitors and companies that offer content or services similar to yours. With similar, I also refer to equal business size and proportion.

For example, if you are a small artisan producer of handmade shoes, it probably makes little sense to add “Nike” to the pages to look. It’s much more meaningful to compare your business with other artisan producers, even more experienced than you, or other activities that make the “hand-made” their peculiarities.

Looking at this section, in the right sidebar, you will also see the most successful posts from your competitors. This way, you won’t miss any movement of your “enemies”, in real time.

Now, I would like to specify one thing. The spirit of using this feature is as important as the functionality itself: it must not be considered an instrument of jealousy or envy, but it should simply be a system to professionally manage Facebook, with the aim to improve your business, based on concrete numbers, quantitative and qualitative analysis of the content posted.

How to Use This Tool

Social media can be an effective way to communicate and promote your website.

Take for example the popular author Tim Ferriss. His website does not have a wonderful design, but he has a huge audience, included his social media channels, with tens of thousands of followers. His Facebook fan page has 0,5 million of fans.

Like the work you do on your website in terms of positioning on search engines, also on social media it’s essential to adopt a strategy to study the competition, identifying good practices, winning content and new ideas, observing your growth in relation to your competitors.

In short, it is increasingly common that readers, brands or digital PR professionals can find you more easily on social media than search engines; that’s why you need to focus on optimizing your profiles with patience and proactivity.

Among the rich functionalities of Facebook Insights, these are three areas that you have to focus on to beat your competitor.

  1. Deepen The Posts And The Engagement Weekly Report
    The last two columns of the “Pages to Watch” section that you can find in the general overview of Facebook Insights report two data: “Posts This Week” and “Engagement This Week”, for the pages you follow.


    Knowing how many posts are published each week in the pages that you follow has a low interest and the same goes for the weekly engagement (which takes into account number of likes, comments and shares obtained from various posts – this number, therefore, will proportionally increase the content published on a fan page).

    To find a bit of quality in these numbers, you should make a relationship between the engagement and the amount of posts published in the week, so that to understand what is the average engagement for each post of each fan page.
    I moved the data in an Excel file, to find out what follows:


    In this example, we simply divide the number of posts with the engagement this week:
    Tim Ferris page-> 26.700 : 34 = 785,3 (good engagement)
    Gary Vaynerchuk-> 34000 : 25 = 1360 (awesome engagement)
    Amy Porterfield-> 315 : 12 = 26,3 (little response from fans)

    The advantages to discovering the average engagement for each post are numerous:

    • have a quick glance which pages are the most healthy, in terms of authority.
    • understand which fan pages are perceived better by users in terms of quality of the content published.
    • understand where to improve, learning from the best competitors.
    • getting an interesting average data in your market.
  2. Who Has The Most Growth of Fans?

    If you focus on the first two columns – “Total Page Likes” and “From Last Week”, you can find out which pages are in health in terms of steady growth of fan base.

    The total figure of the likes, as you see, is not accurate to the last decimal, but by calculating the growth percentage in the second column on the fans, you can have a total increase of fans for each page, in absolute terms.

    For example, starting from the first fan page in our analysis, considering:

    Total Page Likes: 473.800

    From Last Week: +1,1%

    The following is the formula we apply:

    (473.800/100) * 1,1

    to get the weekly number of fans gained for this page (in this case, approximately 5211 new fans).

    Again, you can easily set up an Excel file and update the data from week to week.

    Despite the criticisms that rains on a spurious metric as the number of fans, often, this is the first thing that catches your audience attention and it’s seen as a form to judge a fan page (or the brand/business itself), at first glance.

    Of course, we need to consider that often businesses and companies purchase fake fans to boost their social presence (but Facebook seems to be already working on this problem).

  3. Analyze The Top Posts From The Pages You Are Tracking:
    This function can be found by following this procedure: Insights -> Posts -> Top Posts From Pages You Watch.


    It should allow you to go more in detail and quickly check what content worked more in the strategy of your competitors.

    If you scroll down until “All Posts Published”, you can then click on the menu to filter what you posted on your Facebook fan page and received more engagement:


    Analyzing the results, you can then replicate the success of your posts with most engagement rate.

Final Words

I found these three Facebook functions very useful and simple to check (when you know where to look in your fan page).

Of course, you don’t want to spend the entire day working and analyzing these data, but sometimes it’s good to see what your competitors are doing, with their strategies and social media activities.
This way, you can continuously improve your content curation on Facebook.

Are you familiar with the Insights Facebook feature?

Are you investing the right time working on your Facebook fan page?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, thanks!

And don’t forget to share the content, if you enjoyed it.