Success on Facebook is all about visibility. It’s all about getting your updates in front of people.
So if you care about your page and making the best of it, you should definitely care about Facebook Reach. And by care we mean understand it, keep track of it, and work to improve it based on the data.
What is Facebook Reach?
To put it simply, Facebook Reach is the number of unique people who saw or interacted with your page or posts. And it is the first metric you should start tracking (if you’re not doing that already of course).
It might sometimes be confusing because there are different types of Facebook Reach and different ways to measure and monitor it.
The different types of Reach
1. Page Reach vs. Post Reach
First of all you could measure the Facebook Reach of a particular post you’ve made or of your page as a whole.
Post Reach is a metric that is specific for each post and tells you how many unique people have seen it (usually in their News Feed). This is the metric that Page Admins see under each of their posts, so Facebook wants us to value it and care about it. No matter if you still have the old Page look or if you’ve already been switched to the new one – you’ve all seen that metric under each post on your page (you can see the new and old look below).
Page Reach on the other hand is not measuring each post individually, but it’s about the unique number of people who have seen or interacted with your Page for a certain period. So in this sense Page Reach can be daily, weekly and monthly. In it’s new redesign for its Pages Facebook has made significant changes in what it displays to you even if you don’t have the habit of looking into the Insights section. In the past all you saw was your Post Reach under each post, but now, even more prominently – next to your cover image – you also get your Page Reach for the week.
The correlation between Post Reach and Page Reach depends on how often you post. If you post more often, it is going to help you boost your Page Reach because your will get more chances to get noticed and included in the News Feed. But it’s important to notice that your Page Reach is not the sum of the Post Reach for all your posts for a particular period. No matter how many posts of yours a person has seen, they are still going to be counted as one in your Page Reach. So if want to reach as many people as possible, no matter the way, you should post more often and track your Page Reach. But if you have posts that are more important than others, it is going to be a very good idea to track their individual Post Reach, so you’ll know how your post is doing.
2. Organic Reach vs. Paid Reach (vs. Viral Reach)
Additionally there are different types of reach depending on the way and the reason that your post managed to pop up in front of somebody. In the past there were three types of Reach – Organic, Viral and Paid. Organic Reach was the number of people who saw your post because they have liked your Page. Those are your real fans that usually interact with your Page on regular basis. Viral Reach was the number of people who have seen a post of yours in their News Feed, but that haven’t liked your page yet. Those were people who have seen your post because a friend of theirs has created a story about it (through liking, sharing or commenting). Right now these two types of Reach have been combined. I guess Facebook has done this in order to make things more simple, but if you are a power user, you might miss those metrics. So now Organic Reach is the sum of these two older metrics.
So now Organic reach is all the people you have reached without paying for it. Which leads us to Paid Reach which is pretty obvious – the number of people who saw a post of yours because you paid for Facebook Ads. There is one important clarification to make here though. Organic Reach is actually calculated by taking your Total Reach and subtracting your Paid Reach. This means that the people who have seen your post both organically and through paid advertising will be counted only in your Paid Reach and not in your Organic Reach. Facebook does this to make their own analytics simpler, but I actually think it makes a lot of sense.
Would You Like To See The Old Organic And Viral Reach?
Sure thing. There is a trick to do that. It’s simple and effective, but it requires you to export your data. When you are on your Reach tab from your Insights section on you Facebook Page, you need to click Export Data at the upper right corner of the page and make sure to select the old format before you click Download.
Of course you need to deal with the spreadsheet, but if you want to know how much of your Reach comes from your fans and how much comes from people that haven’t like your Page yet – this is the only way. Use it while you can because we don’t know when Facebook will decide to pull the plug on it.
Making Sense Of The Numbers
A lot of people simply look at the Post Reach for each of their posts and they are happy when they see a number larger than usual. It’s a good way to get a general feel for how your posts are doing, but this is an apraoch that is going to allow you to miss a lot of information.
There are different schools of thought on how you should measure your Reach and both of them make sense, but what you need to understand first is why it is useful to measure your Reach. Like all metrics and analytics, the only reason to dive deep is to uncover information that is going to help you do better. This means that we need to track our Reach in order to be able to see what helps us increase it and to do more of it, so it continues to climb. So we need to be able to understand causality as much as possible. This is not always easy or certain, but we have to do our best.
Tracking your Weekly Page Reach
There are a few thing we can care about here and it really depends on your own strategy. You should only strive to increase metrics you care about. Tracking your Weekly Reach (or your Page Reach for another period) is all about making sure that the circle of people you reach is as wide as possible. Here the quality is a bit lost in the mix, because this number would not change if you reach the same person once, twice or ten times. You have reached this person for the period and it counts as one – that’s it. This metric is good way to take the health pulse of your Page. If you are reaching a high number of people, it means you are sitting well with Facebook’s algorithm, you are posting at suitable times and your posts are being liked and shared. But this metric is highly dependant on the frequency of your posts as well. If you want to increase the unique number of people you manage to reach each week, increase the number of posts that you make and make sure you add variety to the timing so you can reach different people at different times. One thing that many Admins do is share their evergreen or best content at times that they usually didn’t use to post at, so they can allow it to reach a new audience. If you usually post in the morning, at noon and in the early evening, you can take your best post from yesterdays and repeat it at 1.30AM late at night so it would reach brand new people most of whom might not have been reached by your page otherwise. Now let’s move on to the posts themselves.
Tracking your Post Reach
What you want is each post to be as successful as possible – to reach people and to increase your engagement. The raw number of Post Reach is usually not enough to really understand the full story. Many people convert their post reach into a percentage. They take it and they divide it by their total number of fans. In that way they understand what part of all their fans were reached by each post. The percentage is usually not very high, but this is something that would allow you to experiment with different types of post and at different times and to have a way to compare the success of each. This also allows you to look at historic data about your Page and to compare it to the current situation despite the fact that you surely have more total likes now.
But some people say, that this is not very accurate and they have devices another way to measure the success of your posts. They also use a percentage but they don’t use the number of fans your Page has on the whole. What they do is divide the Post Reach by the number of fans that you had online at the time of posting. This will give you higher percentages and those numbers are going to give you a lot of information on the quality of your posts. The type of posts that do well with this adjusted metric are the types of post you should do the most. Always repeat what works.
The Problem(s) With Facebook Reach
Ok, you understand what Facebook Reach is and how to measure and compare it, but there are some cautions that you need to keep in mind.
1. The Reach numbers are higher than the actual people who have really seen your post
What the Reach metric tells you is the number of times your post has been displayed technically. But this doesn’t even mean that your post was onscreen or that the user actually saw it. When you scroll down your News Feed, Facebook loads new posts in batches and whenever a post is loaded, the Reach for that posts gets increased, but there are posts that users never scroll down to and never see. Additionally, Reach gets incremented and when your posts appears in the Ticker as well and most of the users on Facebook do not pay attention to that at all. So always keep in mind that the actual number are lower. Use them for a guideline, a metric, but not a number that represents the reality fully.
2. Reach is not everything you should care about.
Reach is the chances Facebook gives you to connect with your fans. This depends on how well your page is doing according to the almighty Facebook algorithm, but it by no means tells the whole story. Because reach is just a proxy to what you really want which is genuine interaction. You want not just your posts displayed in front of people, you want them to really see them, to enjoy them and to spread them around.
After all, Reach is one of the most important metrics to monitor and it’s important because you can use the information you get to improve the way you handle your page. Don’t get too hung up on metrics, but monitor them and use them to your advantage by learning what helps you and what hurts you and acting accordingly.