Andreas Weigend
Data Mining and E-Business: The Social Data Revolution
Spring 2009
Stanford University

Homework 1: Measuring and Driving Engagement on Facebook: (Part A) Metrics (Part B) Implementation

Assigned: Mon Apr 6, 2009
Part A due: 5pm, Sun Apr 12, 2009
Weekly Page report due: 2pm, Thu April 16, 2009
Weekly Page report due: 2pm, Thu April 23, 2009
Weekly Page report due: 2pm, Thu April 30, 2009
Part B due: 2pm, Thu May 7, 2009
Submit to:

10 Second Description:
This is a competition between Stanford STATS 252 and Berkeley MBA 267 to create the most active, meaningful and persistent community on Facebook Pages. To see the current standings, view the dashboard at

Why you should care?
Major companies and even popular individuals are increasingly looking to build brand awareness and engagement through social media. Successful marketers need to conceptualize, launch and run iterative campaigns that effectively build online communities to support brands. After this assignment you should be an expert of Facebook Pages and be able to effectively create organic communities that last longer than spammy apps. Furthermore, we are inviting Fortune 500 companies, start ups and the press to use your Facebook Pages as case studies. The top performing teams will be invited to a dinner with distinguished guests and given the opportunity to present their learnings to Facebook.

How to acquire and retain an active online community using metric-based decisions on Facebook Pages?
[Edit 4/13] How to create a measurable contribution to bringing about a Social Data Revolution?

This is a creative group project and you are responsible for forming teams of 3-8 students. You will be developing a social media strategy for a cause that promotes the spirit of the Social Data Revolution. Let's call this a "brand" which can be anything as long as participants get value out of sharing data in creative and innovative ways. A trivial example would be creating a Facebook Page called "Eaters" to bring together a community who shares eating preferences. Your team would then propose a Facebook Page strategy, key metrics of the community, and an execution plan for running a campaign (or multiple campaigns) to promote "Eaters". Throughout the class you will be able to monitor the performance of your page against other teams and the majority of your grade will depend on how you maintain an active community based on your proposed metrics.
[Edit 4/13] Make sure to keep within reasonable bounds for the sake of Stanford and this course's reputation. Reference the course description to remind yourself of our purpose and the suggested reading: The teaching team understands that sex sells and some causes are simply more popular than other causes- irregardless of social data innovation. We challenge you to think first about the contribution you're making towards creating the Social Data Revolution in the domain you're exploring. Ideally, the new and creative ways you're sharing data will be the key driver or "secret sauce" of the engagement in your community. Key questions to ask yourself are: How can these data sources make our lives easier, more effective, more interesting? How can we get better recommendations, based on our behavior and the behavior of our friends? How can reputation systems help with decisions about who to trust? How can we develop new incentives for sharing data?

Part A: The Facebook Page Concept and Strategy
1. Creative concept for the brand and competitive Facebook Page strategy
  • Clearly state your assumptions and marketing models applied
  • Highlight examples of current successful Facebook Pages
  • [Edit 4/13] Articulate how your brand is contributing to the Social Data Revolution in a meaningful way

2. Propose solid metrics for evaluating the acquisition and retention of your community
  • First, look at the metrics (called "insights") available on Facebook Pages
  • Next, analyze the pros and cons of the existing metrics
  • Now, tell us what Facebook is missing? Evaluate the perspectives of Facebook, advertisers, and consumers
  • Propose a set of 6-10 (total) key metrics which can be existing or totally new.
  • What metrics do you propose that capture the value created for consumers eg happiness, satisfaction
  • Make sure to include metrics both about acquisition virality and retention of fans
  • Put them together in a dashboard for monitoring your campaign(s) and community activity (this could be hand drawn if it's a better visualization)
  • Finally, make predictions and analyze the trade offs between metrics (there is never a single best metric) eg what are the consequences for optimizing for conversion?
  • This is the second most important part of the assignment!
  • [EDIT 4/6] Upon your submission of Part A the teaching team will compile your metrics, propose new ones to Facebook, and announce a baseline set of metrics for all teams. However, you can always implement your own metrics (eg you develop a third-party application) but make sure you report actionable insights from them in part B.

3. Execution plan for the marketing campaign(s) that can be evaluated using your key metrics and dashboard
  • The more effort you put in on this part, the better off you'll be when you actually run the campaign in Part 2

Part B: The Results and Key Learnings
1. Weekly reports of "experiments"
  • Keep it simple and do whatever it takes to build a genuine community
  • Make sure you document the channels you use to recruit fans (eg email, video, SMS) and how you're measuing the entire goal funnel
  • Track any ad spending and keyword optimization
  • Clearly articulate your problem, hypothesis, action, metric, and evaluation in the report
  • We're looking for concise and actionable reports
  • EDIT [4/13] Make sure to try using the PHAME framework
  • EDIT [4/16] Keep your report simple and actionable. Imagine that you are reporting to an executive. We understand that your first report may lack data, so explain how you plan to improve your metrics using the PHAME framework. For example, a problem you may have is lack of discussion threads. What are your hypotheses, actions, metrics, and experiments associated with this problem? In addition, can you further your analysis of the limitations of Facebook Insights and include revisions to your previously proposed metrics in Part A? You can present your report in any format you like including video so long as you submit a pdf (which may include links) for our records.
  • EDIT [4/22] To make things clearer, the default format is 1 page showing visualizations of your metrics (Facebook and/or custom implemented). 2 pages describing your experiments and key learnings as described above.
  • EDIT [4/22] Submit a csv file of your Facebook Insights. To get the csv, go to the page -> view Insights -> export data (under
    "Insights <Page name>"), select CSV, select daily, and hit OK. Make sure to label the CSV by your team name.

2. Final report of key learnings
  • Synthesize the results of your experiments into something generalizable
  • Share how your team was organized and the roles of each member
  • Data analysis and actionable insights is a must
  • [EDIT 4/22] Submit another csv file of your Facebook Insights

Steps to get this done:
1. Create a team of 3-8 diverse individuals
  • Each team should have different educational backgrounds, gender, and international citizenship represented
  • Please post your final teams on the HW1_Teams page here

2. Meet as a team asap to brainstorm a brand
  • How does your cause relate to the Social Data
  • Use whatever methodology works best for you and preliminary market research is a must
  • Define roles and responsibilities
  • Think clearly about your target behavior(s)

Name all your documents by your team name!
1. Put the link to your Facebook Page(s) on the page HW1_Teams Page and email a pdf of Part A: The Facebook Page Concept and Strategy, by 5pm Sun, April 12 to

2. Sumbit weekly Page report pdf by 2pm Thu April 16, to

3. Submit weekly Page report pdf and Facebook Insights CSV by 2pm Thu, April 23 to

4. Submit weekly Page report pdf and Facebook Insights CSV by 2pm Thu, April 30 to

5. Submit a complete pdf package of Part B: The Results and Key Learnings (including any revisions to your weekly reports and Facebook Insights CSV) by 2pm Thu May 7, to

How this assignment will be graded:
1. Creative concept and strategy- 10 pts

2. Metrics- 25 pts

3. Execution plan- 15 pts

4. Performance of Page until June 30th, 2009- 50 pts
  • Weekly Page reports- 30/50 pts
  • Final Report- 20/50 pts

  • Think about creating a brand that can persist
  • Your metrics should include ways to measure fans outside of your immediate network
  • Be mindful of the credibility of your brand and how you reveal that it's related to a class
  • Size isn't everything, measuring, iterating, and maintaining an active community is
  • Fail fast and iterate

Example: Palo Alto Eaters Club (Note that this is an incomplete and bare-bones example with no background research)
Part A: The Facebook Page Concept and Strategy
1. The concept is to aggregate and share the best dinner "specials" in Palo Alto and the strategy is develop relationships with restaurants, businesses, and student groups. This supports the Social Data Revolution because consumers can collectively leverage their purchasing power and create more relevant reviews than Yelp

2. Metrics beyond what's currently available on Facebook might include the # of dinner specials submitted, # of unique dinner reviews, # of dinner invite sharethroughs, # of thumb ups...

3. Marketing campaign through SMS and exclusive Eaters Club dinner specials

Part B: The Results and Key Learnings
1. Run campaign experiments targeting different food genres and measure against key metrics

2. Final report of key learnings

How to set up and use Facebook Pages:

Page Strategy/Implementation:

Optional Reading (more to come):