Your Facebook content gets better with data

The Timeline tab in your ActionSprout account is your main source of Facebook page metrics through the ActionSprout tool. This tab gives you both a rolled-up high level view of how your page is doing as well as a very granular view on a post by post basis. Recently we added even more data to this section of the app. Now when you select a post in Timeline, a right hand drawer opens displaying even more data for you and your team.

Using this tab is a great way to get into Facebook metrics if you’re not a numbers person or to simplify the metrics process and save time.

timeline drawer gif

Let’s take a look at all this new data in turn: what it means, what you should do about it and rules of thumb.

Engagement rate and virality

At the very top of the drawer you’ll find your first two pieces of data, Engagement rate and Virality:

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Engagement rate: The Number of people engaged with the post over the number of people reached.

In the example above, 22% of folks who saw the post in their timelines also engaged with the post. Anything over 11% is good for an engagement rate. Engagement is one of the most important metrics you can track on Facebook, so be sure to pay attention to this one! Engagement, more than anything else, will move the dial for your cause. Whether digital or physical, engagement is most closely related to action. Engagement should always be your number one goal on Facebook.

Virality: The percentage of reach that was viral compared to the percentage of reach that was organic.

In the example above, 35% of the post’s reach was viral. That means 35% of people who saw that post, saw it because a friend liked, commented or shared it. A few factors help make a piece of content viral:

  • Someone shared your post on their timeline. This meant the post reached their network in addition to your own.
  • When supporters engage with your post, by liking or commenting, their networks can sometimes see this activity in their feeds as well. If someone saw this activity from a friend and then also engaged with the post, that’s viral engagement.
  • Without you paying for reach or your own doing, the link gets out anyway beyond your normal audience.

Post performance

Next you’ll find the overall performance of your post compared to the average of your last roughly 500 posts:

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This is how your post compared to your past content not the content on Facebook in general. In other words you’re racing against your personal best, not anyone else’s.

This section will appear in a few different colors for quick reference. In the example above, the post is above average by 34%. All above average posts are green.

The following post is at average, or 100%. You’ll see it appears grey:

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The last post has performed below average and is thus red:

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This section acts as a quick reference to show you the overall success of your post. The more green you see the better; grey means you’re being consistent or plateauing; red is not something you want to see too much of.

A quick note on underperforming posts: this is something that can be minimized but not completely avoided. Facebook and your audience are always shifting and changing. Sometimes a post is too new to have much engagement yet. What worked one day won’t work the next. You may have bad days, post at the wrong time or be overshadowed by a tending story outside of your cause. This is all normal and should be expected. As such, there will always be an element of trial and error when using Facebook. Having underperforming posts isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

When you should be alarmed is if you notice an ongoing trend of underperforming posts with little else. If this goes on for more than a week or so you’ll want to reevaluate your posting strategy.

Engagement summary

The second to last section is your Engagement Summary. This is a much more broken down, granular look at the post’s engagement than the percentages above:

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The first row of data are your likes, comments and shares. These metrics are pretty straightforward. Depending on your goals and mission, you and your organization may weigh one higher than the others.

In general likes reflect the lowest effort and expressed interest from your supporters. A like is better than nothing but is overall the least effort to give.

Comments come next. Comments take a lot more time than likes and require more thought, attention and interest to your cause. They also reflect the fact that the supporter(s) in question don’t mind weighing in publicly on the issue. This is a biggie on Facebook, as users are hyper aware of this fact and how they act on the platform.

Lastly are shares. While sharing a post takes less effort than commenting I would argue it’s the most valuable of the three. Sharing means the person connected with the post in such a way that they wanted to be seen sharing it by their network. They wanted it to be linked to them as an individual and appear on their personal timeline.

The next two metrics, People engaged and Views/Clicks are a bit less commonplace.

People engaged is the raw counterpart of the percentage at the top. This is the raw, unprocessed number of folks who engaged with your post in any way.

Views/clicks will be unique to the format of the post in question. In the example above, you can see we’re looking at an image post. This view count reflects the number of times folks clicked on the image to view it.

In the case of link posts clicks reflect the number of times someone wished to read more:

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People Reached

The last section you’ll find is People Reached. Reach comes in three buckets reflected in this section.

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Organic reach is any reach you earned without paying for it or earning it through virality. You simply posted a piece of content to Facebook and your audience engaged with it.

Viral reach is similar to organic in that you didn’t pay for it. The difference is you reached well beyond your “normal” audience base. Someone shared your post or the activity on the post was seen by others. The key here is the post was seen by many people outside of your fan base.

Paid reach means you gave Facebook money to reach more people with your post. You may have clicked the “boost post” button on Facebook, created an ad or used ActionSprout and SmartAds to boost your post.


This data is in no way all of your Facebook post metrics. Instead it is a rolled up, condensed view of your need-to-know information. These metrics, at a glance, will give you the information to make better posts and learn from your mistakes.

The New Profile Image Campaign Builder from ActionSprout

We have seen Facebook profile overlays used to support a variety of causes and used to show solidarity is the face of tragedy. These profile campaigns are a great way for people to show their support to the world. Now you can create your own profile image campaign for your organization, mission, event and more!

How is this possible? With the new Profile Campaign Builder in ActionSprout Labs!

Check it out now at

What’s more, it’s super easy. We have included a set of images at the bottom of this post for you to follow along, if you like.

Let’s create a campaign! The Tool The tool itself is relatively simple. It consists of four parts: the Profile Overlay, Share Info, Preview and Share Link. Let’s go through them in turn.

The Profile Overlay

Profile Overlay

This section consists of two parts. First, the header; this part is not included when someone applies the overlay to their profile. It is only a “banner” of sorts to make the application page look snazzy (customized to your needs) when your supporters see it. It can be your logo or a banner about the purpose of the overlay. Whatever you do here, make it specific to your organization and your goals, and make it fun! If you are following along, click “Choose File,” and select the “Banner.png” file.

The second part is the overlay itself; this is the part that will show up as your supporter’s profile picture. It is a square (450px X 450px), and it is where you get to show your creativity. Keep in mind that this is a situation where simpler is often better. A busy overlay looks cluttered and, worse, you may not be able to distinguish the overlay from the original image. If you are following along, click “Choose File,” and select the “Star overlay.png” file.

Profile Campaign Files added

The overlay has two additional features: grayscale (just for aesthetics) and an opacity adjustment. The opacity adjustment is, by default, set to 50. For the moment, leave it there—you can use it to fine-tune in a minute.

The Share Info

Profile campaign share options

This part is specific to sharing on Facebook. These are the elements that will pop up in the Facebook post when you share the link. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

The Share Title and Description are as they sound. Make sure that your title is short, catchy and lets your supporters know what’s going on. The description is where you can add a bit more detail, such as what the mission is and why it’s important.

The Share Image is the image that pops up when you share the link on Facebook, next to the title and description. A good idea here is to share an example of what the final profile image will look like, or the overlay image alone. You can add whatever you like, but showing the finished product is an excellent way to add a bit more context. If you are following along, click “Choose File” and select the “Share Image.png” image.

Profile campaign share options files

The Preview

Profile Campaign Preview

The preview shows a generic avatar silhouette with your overlay. To see an updated preview, click the blue “Save” button. If you are following along, now is a good time to save.

Campaign Profile Example

For a more contextual preview, click the “Share Link” above. A new tab will open and show the overlay on your current profile; this is what the page will look like when your supporters click the share link. Your profile won’t change until you click the “Update Profile” button at the bottom of the page and the “Confirm” button on the next page.

Profile Campaign example

If you want to make changes, close the tab, make the changes you like (different images, grayscale, opacity), click “Save” and try the share link again. Repeat until you’ve dialed it in.

The Share Link

Share link example

To share your new and awesome Profile Image Campaign with the world, copy the share link and paste it into Facebook, Twitter and email—have a skywriter scribble it in the clouds if you like! Want to see what it looks like as a post? Paste our test into Facebook and have a look.


Technical specs: Use .png or .jpeg files Banner dimensions: 1028 x 180 Overlay dimensions: 450 x 450 Share image: 1200 x 628

Need design tools for free? Try these:

Assets (right click then “Save Image As”:

Banner Star overlay Share Image