This hidden Facebook page feature is key to getting your content seen

by Steph Parker on Jul 24, 2012
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Facebook InsightsBy now, using Facebook Insights to gauge your page’s health is commonplace.

But, relying solely on how many fans your page has, and how many likes your posts get can only tell you so much.

As a social media manager, you’re essentially in a relationship with your page.

As a good mate, you have to know what your counterpart likes. You also have to know what they don’t like, and how you can turn those negatives into positives.

It’s easier than it sounds, I promise.

Uncovering Negative Feedback on Facebook

Anyone familiar with Facebook Insights has probably exported data into spreadsheets before, at both a post level, and a page level. A little gem called “negative feedback” stats are available on both. And the ones reported at a post level are the most helpful for tightening up your messaging.

In case you haven’t, go to the “Insights” section of your admin dashboard.

From there, click “Export” and select “Post level data”, as well as the dates you’d like to analyze.  Once you click “Download,” you’ll have your spreadsheet.

Within the “Key Metrics” tab, you’ll see two things: Lifetime Negative Feedback Users, and Lifetime Negative Feedback from Users. Pay attention to the first, since it’s a unique number. The goal in this case is to see how many fans aren’t feeling your messaging.

Here, negative feedback refers to the amount of times a fan has hidden your post, or marked it as spam. You can see what specifically your fans are doing by checking out the “Lifetime Negative Feedback Users” and “Lifetime Negative Feedback from Users” tabs. Especially important is how many people are choosing to hide all of your posts based on just one – that’s the most dangerous.

If no one has hidden a post or marked it as spam, consider that your positive feedback.

For example, one client of mine used to post links to a monthly sales flier, as well as content about the things you could do with the items in the flier. We noticed that the links to the flier were constantly hidden by fans, whereas the informational “how to use this” posts were not. To make a long story short, we stopped posting flier links, and noticed a jump in likes, shares, and comments on our other commentary.

Analyzing Your Work

Ideally, you’re saturating your page with equal amounts of each content area. Say you’re a pet food brand that usually posts about pet health, things to do with your pet, and the health benefits of your product. You want to make sure you’re balancing the amount of content from each area, or else your page might fall flat.

If you’re not balancing your content, it could explain why certain post types are being hidden more than others. In general, you should adjust your content when you notice the following patterns:

  • Content about the same subject is hidden more frequently than content about other subjects
  • Posts that don’t receive many likes, comments, or shares are hidden more frequently than other posts
  • The same post-type is hidden more often than other post-types (i.e. your links posts are hidden constantly, whereas your photo posts are not)

Don’t forget to compare negative feedback to your interactions (likes, shares, comments, or answers) to paint a more complete picture. It’s nearly impossible to please everyone all the time, and chances are, most or all of your posts will receive negative feedback. Your fans are all individuals who have different preferences.

Calculate Your True Negative Feedback Percentage

To see what percentage of people exposed to your post gave it some type of negative feedback, divide the number of people who gave a specific post negative feedback by its lifetime reach, which you’ll find on the “Key Metrics” tab of your exported post-level data. This will help you figure out which posts may have been less successful than others.

Why look at reach instead of impressions? Because reach is an organic number, whereas impressions is not. One person can see a post multiple times, but it won’t change how they feel about it (most of the time).

Where Do We Go From Here?

Incorporating analytics about negative feedback may seem daunting at first, but they’re an important piece of a more thorough report, so don’t stop there!

You know your community best, and managing one is part art, and part science. Using negative feedback as a component of your overall work can strengthen it, but don’t lose sight of your goals, initiatives, and purpose for being on Facebook in the first place.

Post Author

Steph is currently a community manager at Neiman, a brand conversation agency in Philadelphia. She gets her hands dirty with digital strategy, content creation, & researching emerging trends. Steph also contributes regularly to several industry publications, & has been known...

  • Great post Steph. I didn’t know there was a negative feedback feature. Checking on it now…

  • Steph, thanks for giving insight into uncovering negative feedback. But as a Social Media Manager, it’s also essential to check the performance of your Facebook competitors. With such a benchmark you can also gain new awareness what content works best.

  • Thanks for this. I have been looking through our negative feedback and this clarifies what exactly it is! 

  • Glad the article helped! Thanks for reading.

  • Definitely agree with you – negative feedback is just one of many items that make a good performance audit. 

  • You can also get a quick look per post from your Insights overview by clicking the “engaged users” number for the post you’re interested in. It will tell you how many people (if any) gave negative feedback.

  • Really useful Steph, I’ve been debating how to layer this Insights analysis with our own third party negative sentiment data. Thanks for helping to answer my question :-D 

  • Very useful. Glad I looked closely. 

  • Deb Ng

    One of the more useful posts I’ve read in a while. Thanks, Steph.

  • Thanks for posting this Steph. I’ve been looking for a deeper understanding of Insights. I never thought to dive deeper into the excel file! Most of my clients just want to know how many more people are connecting with their Page, but this metric will (hopefully) show them a more interesting response action.

  • Hannah Bernhofer

    This is a great post.  Thank you!

  • Excellent resource. Thank you!

  • Excellent. I’ve looked at those tables more than once. Would be so epic if someone would…on their own, just create a useful graph for some of those subtler data points. Hint, hint. : ) 

  • Jessica

    I had no idea!! THANK YOU

  • Rfrank


    Thanking you! Recognizing negative feedback is hugely helpful. Helps take off the rose colored glasses, so to speak, and give it all a more realistic, manageable dimension.

  • Thank you so much for this post! This is extremely useful. Although I knew ‘negative feedback’ existed, I wasn’t sure how exactly it can be utilized to ‘read’ your community behavior. Our team is adding this to our monthly analysis for sure! :)

  • Excellent post. Very helpful to both experienced marketers and newbies alike.

  • Ann Kamenicky

    Thank you! I hate when I see negative feedback at the bottom of my posts that I
    so carefully write. Thank goodness it’s only one all the time. I think to myself, why in the
    world would anyone hate that post. It was well written and there is nothing to
    not like about it. I just wish we could remove that one person or better yet
    remove themselves. If they are so negative about it why would they want to be a
    fan of your page? I guess there is no answer to how we feel about negative
    responses other than to stick to what we feel is good content and as long as
    you are not losing fans then keep up the good work and shake it off.

  • Griselda

    Hi thanks for this – looks v useful – BUT I cannot access the Export facility from ‘my’ page, only from my subsidiary pages, and that leads to a loop saying I can only access it as myself. How do I get to the ‘Insight’ section for my own personal pages?

  • You cant please all the people all the time, but what if the you cant please the same person most of the time. It would help if there is a tool to identify it more like action on the audit. But I suppose as long as the nos. are low compared to the Reach, one can ignore it.

  • bsjut

    I always wonder if the negative feedback users are actually counted towards the engaged users in Facebook Insights?

  • Hi Steph, thanks for the post and info. Like Ben Teoh, I’ve been doing the quickie overview of negative feedback. What I want to know is, what’s normal? As Fernandes Dennis points out below, if they’re a small % of total feedback, how much weight do you give them? Every post on my Page has anywhere from 1-15 negative feedbacks (with the average being around 5), which range from .5 (or less) to at most 3% of the total feedback. And when I review those posts, there’s really nothing offensive/off-brand/weird about them… in hindsight, I wouldn’t take them back or change them.

    In your experience, what % indicates trouble?

  • Thanks – this is useful. I can see where to find negative feedback amount in the export, and where to see it on-screen in Insights, but they don’t match up. For example, the export will say 9/14/12 (2) daily negative feedback. When I review my insights (pop-up the pie chart), nothing on that date of 9/14 indicates negative feedback. How can I find for certain which posts are being hidden? Which data do I trust?

  • Right – it’s also important to stress how negative feedback numbers can be funneled in from fans who have chosen “hide all” instead of “hide this post.” Be careful not to count too heavily a blanket thumbs down from a disgruntled fan!

  • I did what you said and I ended up downloading an example of an editorial calendar three times.

  • Thanks for the excellent post. Clear, well-written, and helpful.

  • This is a goldmine of information for monitoring fan response – on various update content. Thanks for the very useful article, Steph.

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  • PMH

    Is there anyway to actually see who the negative feedback came from?

  • Charly

    VERY helpful post…thanks Steph!

  • innovations

    how to see that who has unlike/Hide the post ?