Facebook Insights Offers Visibility into 'Like' Button Metrics

Facebook Insights provides real-time analytics for its "Like" button and other social plug-ins to help developers get a better grip on traffic and click-through rates.

Facebook March 8 moved to provide more visibility for developers using its social plug-ins, which millions of Websites use to create a bridge between their visitors and the social network.

Social plug-ins, including the "Like" button, recommendations and activity feed, are software tools developers can install on their Websites to inject Facebook functionality. The company launched the tools last April to extend its tendrils outside the walled garden and boost traffic for itself and publishers.

Facebook Insights for Websites, an extension of its home-rolled real-time analytics for its own Web pages, helps developers get a handle on how people are interacting with their content so that they can improve their Websites.

Developers using Insights will see how many times people saw and clicked Like buttons or saw and clicked Like stories to arrive at their Website.

Websites are increasingly reshuffling their layouts to account for Facebook's social tools, which can foster greater user engagement between Website publishers and the social network.

Facebook is becoming as much an advertising platform as a social network, and publishers with goods and services to sell are anxious to get noticed by the Website's 600 million-plus users.

Facebook Insights engineer Alex Himel said developers can use the real-time data to test button placement on the Like button CTR (click-through rate), or find the Open Graph picture that generates the highest Like Story CTR.

The idea is that developers will use this information to improve Like buttons on their Websites, ideally to boost traffic and monetization.

Facebook also expanded Popular Pages to users for the top 100 pages that people are liking, commenting on and sharing, and provides gender, age range, country and language information for each interaction that occurs on a Website and on Facebook.

This data is aggregated so no personally identifiable information can be accessed, Himel said.

Himel said Insights for Websites also shows similar metrics for the number of times people saw and left comments, saw comment stories on Facebook and clicked through to a Website.

The addition comes one week after the social network launched a new Comments Box plug-in to improve the distribution and quality of comments on your site.