What´s wrong with Facebook´s People Talking About This metric?
Yeah, we all know it: the ‘People Talking About This’ (PTAT) metric is a public metric – and as a public metric, we all watch it and like to see it go up, but here are some of the things that are wrong with the People Talking About This metric as a true indication of Engagement:
1) PTAT Also Includes Fan Growth
It also includes the numbers of new fans in the last seven days.
2) It Is Two Days Behind
The People Talking About This metric is calculated with a two-day lag time, unlike ‘likes’, which are constantly updated. This can create data inaccuracies.
3) Different PTAT Numbers
There are weekly, daily, and monthly numbers. The public one is a weekly number (last 7 days), but it’s typically not so accurate as a public metric as it is in Facebook Insights and there is a huge discrepancy, so when you compare apples to apples – for example your Insights and your competitor’s public metric, it is often misleading.
4) It Can Be Easily ‘Gamed’
We have seen brands gaming the People Talking About This metric with things like questions and advertising, of course. The PTAT metric can be manipulated, so that even brands with very poor Engagement can have a very high PTAT score through fan growth, for example.
The bottom line is that the People Talking About This metric as it stands cannot be considered a reliable metric of Engagement. It’s not a purely qualitative metric, and also looking at the last seven days (before the last two) is a constantly moving challenge. We are closely monitoring all metrics to give you an inside scoop and the latest market buzz. We have received several questions about PTAT recently, and wanted to clear up some of the confusion.
What Do We Suggest Instead Of PTAT:
- Number of weekly / monthly interactions – absolute number of interactions
- Engagement Rate – number of average daily interactions relative to the number of fans on an average per post basis (most comparable with anyone of any size)
- Looking at volumes of wall posts