Growing your Facebook presence is easier said than done.

And if you’re a marketer, you know this all too well.

After all, the Facebook algorithm is consistently throwing curveballs at businesses trying to figure out how to reach customers while sticking to the platform’s best practices.

But despite complaints from consumers and marketers alike, Facebook is actually booming right now.

According to a recent report by Facebook themselves, the network actually closed out 2019 with a significant increase in revenue, user activity and ad impressions.

The takeaway? The platform still has tons of marketing potential.

That is, if you have the right Facebook tools to understand your audience data and maximize your engagement rate. This guide breaks down what those tools look like and how to use them yourself.

Why default Facebook tools aren’t enough

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about Facebook Insights.

Sure, it’s important to understand Facebook’s native analytics platform and metrics related to your marketing goals.

Engagement rates. Demographics. Reach. The list of what Insights manages to cover is truly expansive.

Facebook tools such as Insights are certainly helpful but also limited

That said, native Facebook analytics tools have their limitations. For example:

  • A lack of built-in listening tools for identifying trends and competing content
  • Limited cross-platform publishing and analytics for brands running multiple social accounts (think: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest)
  • A clunky interface that can be awkward to navigate for newbies

Getting to know Facebook Insights makes sense, but brands serious about their analytics graduate to Facebook tools with features centered around audience engagement and growth.

Which Facebook tools are most important?

Great question! Let’s take a look at the variety of growth-centric features baked into Sprout Social’s suite of Facebook analytics and publishing tools, for starters.

The platform provides a bird’s eye view of KPIs and metrics, including audience engagement over time. Reporting in Sprout is clean and easy to understand, making your data share-worthy among your teammates, colleagues and clients. The ability to see your brand health at a glance is a nice added bonus for busy marketers.

Sprout social facebook summary

Recent social media statistics note that 88% of marketers say providing customer service on social is important to their brands. Features within Sprout such as social listening and Smart Inbox ensure that you never miss a @mention or opportunity to engage with a customer.

Sprout’s platform also allows you to manage your customer service on Facebook, Instagram and any other major social network in one location. Cross-platform functionality is a huge time-saver that keeps you from having to bounce from account to account. With a tool like the Smart Inbox, you can stay close to any real-time conversations happening around your brand. The end result is timely, personalized customer care.

sprout social smart inbox

And Sprout’s Calendar tool is a major asset for brands juggling multiple campaigns and accounts, too.

For example, Sprout allows you to see your scheduled social media posts and paid promotions side-by-side in the publishing calendar. In short, you’ll have more visibility on when you’re publishing content or running ads.

sprout social facebook publishing tools

How to translate data from your Facebook analytics tools into action

These features and dashboards are nice to look at if we do say so ourselves.

But what exactly can you do with all of this info?

Here’s a snapshot of how data from your Facebook analytics tools can translate into actionable marketing decisions.

1. Uncover new ad audiences and improve your targeting

Although Facebook’s ad platform is noted for its laser-targeting and engagement opportunities, high-performing ads don’t happen by accident.

Consider the many measurables and variables related to Facebook Ad targeting, such as:

  • Creatives (call-to-action, imagery, copy)
  • Ad types and placement
  • Budget (daily versus lifetime)
  • Demographics (age, location, gender)
  • Timing

Getting the most out of your ad budget means gathering as much data on your customers as possible before you create, let alone run, a Facebook ad.

Cross-referencing your customer data and personas with your Facebook Insights information can help clue you in with what’s likely to perform well with your audience on Facebook.

facebook paid ad analytics

For the sake of gaining first-hand insight, we recommend running a small test ad with an audience before scaling to a full-blown campaign. Also, note that Facebook’s audience errs on the older side according to recent social media demographics.

2. Optimize your organic content and reach

Whether you’re running a hybrid social media strategy or are strictly focusing on organic content, you need to know which types of content actually drive engagement.

Maybe it’s video. Perhaps it’s infographics or back-and-forth Q&As with your followers.

Either way, it’s key to understand how much reach you’re currently receiving through organic content. Reports in Sprout can detail your range of impressions and top-performing content to ensure that what you’re posting is poised for engagement.

facebook analytics tools can determine your impressions and engagement rate

Coupled with scheduling features such as Sprout’s ViralPost, you can schedule your content based on when your followers are most likely to engage with it. You can likewise use this data to figure out which types of content are likely to perform well within your managed Facebook Groups.

3. Figure out your ROI from Facebook

Businesses today have dozens of choices when it comes to social media channels.

As such, marketers must decide which platforms deserved their attention and result in the highest engagement rates.

For example, should you focus on Facebook or Instagram? Are you missing opportunities by neglecting Twitter or Pinterest? Where should you be running ads, if at all?

Paid performance report highlights how one company’s success across channels can vary wildly. By knowing what platforms are your top performers, you can allocate your resources (think: content creation and ad dollars) with some much-needed peace of mind.

Facebook analytics tools cross network performance report in Sprout Social

Facebook analytics tools are crucial for determining if you’re seeing a positive ROI from social media. Specifically, paid social media analytics in Sprout summarize your social spending to justify whether or not your ads make sense across Facebook. Given that Instagram runs on the same ad platform, these numbers can signal paid opportunities there as well.

4. Fine-tune your Facebook sales funnel

Facebook is a massive source of sales and leads for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

For the sake of improving your conversion rate from Facebook, businesses need to monitor the journey between Facebook and their websites.

For example, what promotions and content result in leads and conversions? What’s your conversion rate between paid and organic visitors? Conversion goals in Google Analytics can highlight both as you assess your most valuable traffic sources.

5. Boost brand loyalty and customer engagement

As noted earlier, so much of building a Facebook presence centers around customer relationships.

For example, going back-and-forth with followers is an awesome opportunity to build brand loyalty. Meanwhile, addressing customer concerns in a timely manner is a must-do to retain customers and present yourself as a caring brand.

Some social media management software not only monitor mentions via notifications and social listening but also ensure that your customer care is on point. For example, Sprout’s response reporting highlights the times when your followers are most active. You can also determine whether or not you need to speed up your response time and allocate more resources to customer service.

Facebook day of the week data breakdown

How to use Facebook publishing tools to encourage even more interactions

Sprout’s Facebook tools for analytics and publishing are impressive, but they aren’t the only useful tools out there for encouraging more interactions from your followers.

To wrap things up, let’s talk about some (mostly) free and freemium tools to help give your Facebook presence a much-needed boost.

Image and infographic creators

It’s no secret that visual content is favored by the Facebook algorithm.

Coupling your posts with eye-popping visuals is a smart move to grab your audience’s attention and increase your posts’ shareability.

For example, tools like Canva are staples of social media marketers in need of graphics. From cover photos to stylish promos and beyond, you can upload your own creatives to Canva or use their pre-built templates.

Canva Facebook images

Consider also that infographic marketing is all the rage right now. Tools like Venngage boast tons of free infographic templates that are fair game for pretty much any industry. The beauty of these templates is that they look totally professional but don’t require you to be a design whiz to work with ’em.

venngage infographic templates

Social video creators

Not unlike images, video is among the most-shared content on Facebook. There are plenty of social media video ideas that you can put into action with the help of free social video creators.

For example, Wave.video serves as a cross-platform video editor that you can use to create videos sized for your newsfeed or Facebook Stories.

Wave.video social video example

Allowing you to work directly in your browser, Wave.video has tons of templates and creatives to choose from to make the videos we see shared like crazy on Facebook.

Facebook publishing tools like Wave.video allow you to create video content without being an expert

If you have a company blog, a tool such as a Lumen5 can be a game-changer for repurposing your content into video. In short, the platform allows you to convert blog posts into social videos which are prime for reaching followers glued to social.

Lumen5 video

Facebook ad tools

Again, Facebook ad optimization is a lengthy, research-heavy process that often requires some trial-and-error. Let’s close out with some tools that can help.

The Facebook Ad Library allows you to search for active companies to get a sense of ads from your competitors and other industry players. For example, what kind of creatives are your competitors using? Which ad types? What about call-to-action phrases? The answers to these questions can help guide your own strategy.

Facebook tools such as the Ads Library allow you to see what your competitors' live ads look like in real-time

There also are third-party tools like WordStream’s ad grader which can analyze your Facebook ads as well. Given how many variables there are to any given ad, it never hurts to get a  second opinion. The tool analyzes your ad campaigns based on Facebook’s best practices and assigns a grade accordingly.

Facebook tools like WordStream's ad grader can give you a "second opinion" on your paid ad performance

And with that, we wrap up our guide!

Which Facebook tools are you using to grow your business?

The numbers don’t lie: Facebook isn’t falling out of favor with marketers or consumers. Not by a long shot.

But remember that brands that crush it with ads and drive consistent engagement are knee-deep in data.

As the platform becomes more competitive and the algorithm continues to change, breaking down your customer data is only going to become more important.

That’s why we recommend marketers to own their data with third-party Facebook analytics tools like Sprout Social. The features baked into the platform empower marketers to optimize their ads, build relationships with customers and produce click-worthy content.