Characteristics of public Facebook Fan numbers

This article is about certain characteristics of Facebook fan numbers depending on the type of the page and whether the data is publicly available or not. The definition of Facebook fan numbers is the number of active users who liked your page. A Facebook page can be liked by any Facebook user. However Facebook automatically removes inactive users and deleted accounts from the page’s fan count. This makes sure the page is showing a realistic fan count.

Insights Fan number vs. public Fan numbers

For admins of a page and users who have permissions to view insights, Facebook offers a daily fan count. However publicly there is only the current fan count available. This means that quintly needs to check the public fan count of every page every few hours and write it in the database. To be more precise quintly checks the fan numbers of Facebook pages every 6 hours which means that it’s 4 times as often as Facebook provides the fan numbers in their insights.

Public Fan numbers for normal pages vs. country pages

For normal Facebook pages that are not part of a global page the import of the fan numbers works just as described above. However for country pages the import works different.

If a page has a lot of fans Facebook allows to split it into several country pages. Facebook automatically subscribes fans to the respective country page according to their permanent location. For this Facebook takes into account the IP location, current city, hometown the users added to their profile etc. But country pages can also have Fans from different countries because users can change the country page they want to be subscribed to.

In the following you see a screenshot of the German country page of Volkswagen.

Please note, if you want to track multiple country pages in quintly, please switch the region and use the URL link to find the specific country page.

The Fan number you see for country pages in Facebook is always the sum of Fans of all country pages also known as the global Fan count. This is also the only Fan value Facebook makes publicly available. By clicking on “Switch Region” users can change the default country page they want to be subscribed to. This won’t change the global fan count but the Fan count of the country page.

The screenshot below shows the country page of the United States

As you can see the content of the page is different but the global fan count shows the same number for every country page.

Beside knowing the global fan numbers it is also important to know the number of fans for every country page if you want to analyze the audience of the country pages.

In the public “Global Fans Total” line chart in quintly you always find the global fan count of the selected country pages. The public “Fans total” line chart however will show an estimation of the country page fan count. This estimation is based on the “Fans by Country” metric. For every page Facebook publicly provides fans by country which lists the 45 countries that have the highest amount of fans. By summing up the fans of the top 45 countries we get an estimation of the real fan count of country pages. This estimation usually misses some fans because pages can have fans from more than 45 countries.

Also there is a limitation of the “Fans by Country” data. Facebook offers this data with a delay of 2-4 days meaning the “Fans Total” line chart wouldn’t show any data for the last 2-4 days for country pages.

Please note, a normal Facebook page which is not part of a global page will show the fan count as shown directly on the page in the “Global Fans Total” and “Fans Total” line charts.

Things to note:

  • Public fan numbers for normal Facebook pages work without any limitations
  • For country pages the public fan numbers are an estimation based on the “Fans by country”
  • There is a delay of 2-4 days for public fan numbers for country pages

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