The latest example of a Facebook Insights change could be problem for big brands and agencies.
Facebook is no longer providing data on daily comments and likes in Insights. The company appears to have stopped showing the number of daily comments and likes made per page and per post sometime this month.
When brands and their agencies view Insights data online or export the data for viewing elsewhere, the information once provided to them showing the number of likes and comments per day on brand pages or specific posts is no longer available.
"Facebook is doing it to push people to look at 'People Talking About This,' " said Jeff Widman, co-founder of Facebook analytics company PageLever.
"I was absolutely shocked," he said.
It's yet another example of a Facebook metrics change that could be problematic for brand marketers and the people who run and track their pages. For agencies providing regular reports on pages to their clients, the lack of daily comments and likes data represents another gap in the information they once were able to track. The reports Widman has seen in the past from clients using PageLever's analytics system have "pretty much always" included daily likes and comments data, he said.
One concern: The people talking metric lumps together the number of people who have liked, commented or shared a brand's post or page, or engaged in some other way. But some advertisers place different values on various forms of interactions - for instance, attributing a higher value to a comment than a like.
"Personally I think that more advertisers will want to know how many [daily] comments and likes they got because comments have different value than likes," said Widman.
Without Facebook-reported daily likes and comments, marketers and agencies will need to track them manually. For those tracking larger pages with multiple posts, that could get tedious. Companies like PageLever could benefit from the change.
Noted Widman, "I expect that we will see a fair number of companies come in and say can you help us with this?"
Facebook did not respond to an interview request regarding the change.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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