Can’t quite trust Facebook data yet

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The price of moving fast is that you have more mistakes. So you may have noticed some weird stats in your Facebook analytics. For example, today is November 26, but we have a post that is on December 1st:






And then there’s one of our client pages that reports almost 300,000 new fans in one day:

Though we all wish we did get 300,000 new fans in one day, it turns out to be a bug.






Sometimes there are holes in the data. In this case, we show a zero for one metric for one day.  The impact of this is that it looks like we lost all our fans in one day and then gained them back:






Moral of the story– watch your stats carefully. Don’t trust data blindly. If you see one stat that is off, check the related stats to corroborate. For example, if we really did get 300,000 new fans in one day, you’d see a massive increase in impressions, likes, storytellers, and other metrics.

This is a common issue with pulling data Facebook API data, as well as what you see in the web-based insights. But a strong data analyst won’t be fooled.Two of the above images come from our tool, which pulls from the various Facebook APIs, while one is a screenshot from the web insights.

What have you seen in the data?



About Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is the Chief Executive Officer of BlitzMetrics. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also a regular contributor for Adweek's SocialTimes column. Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at, his blog, or on Facebook.

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