Facebook reach is a metric that represents the total number of unique users who see a given piece of content. Sounds simple, right? But wait! There is actually more to reach than most of us ever imagined. There are a number of different types of reach: paid, organic and viral, post vs. page. Reach factors into all the other metrics that social media marketers track. It is a fundamental component of terms like user engagement, likes and click through rate. In this post we will try to help you understand reach and what the type of reach you have says about your marketing efforts.
Let’s look at five types of reach that are essential to your brand. Keeping them straight and looking at each metric separately will help you understand what is really happening with your social media marketing program.
1. Paid reach is a feature of Facebook that many brand builders are very familiar with. If you use Facebook’s boost feature, you can pay to put your post or page in front of people who would never see your content otherwise. Although it is fairly easy to track this number in Facebook Insights, using a third party tool to track your ROI on all paid campaigns is a great way to make sure you are getting good value from the money you spend on paid reach.
2. Organic reach is everything that your fans or users see for free, mainly in your news feed. Facebook is always innovating and changing its algorithm for organic reach. This can sometimes make defining what gives your content organic reach feel like a moving target. However, strong organic reach is a sign of engaged fans, so don’t give up. Definitely keep an eye on this metric and work to improve it.
3. Viral reach is content that your fans share with or promote to other users. Facebook calls this a story. Whenever someone creates a story about your content (comments, likes, shares) and it is seen by someone who isn’t a fan or the direct target of a paid campaign, that is viral reach. As the name implies, good viral reach indicates healthy content that people want to spread.
Now let’s look at post reach vs page reach. This is another area of analytics where digging into the details can yield some valuable information.
4. Post reach is exactly what it sounds like. It represents the number of unique people who saw a given post. If you post infrequently but offer your fans very compelling content, you may have a very high post reach, even if you have a limited number of people engaging regularly with your page. This essentially means that you are seen by many people, but not all that often.
5. Page reach is the number of unique people who saw your post content during a specific period of time. If you post frequently, you may have lower post reach, but higher page reach. This means that your posts get seen by fewer total fans, but that your brand is is regularly in front of the people you want to reach.
Whether you choose to focus on post or page reach will depend on what your goals are and what reach pattern works best for your specific type of brand and fan.
Measuring your reach is often done by dividing reach by the number of total fans your brand has. A more sophisticated and useful way to approach this is to use the Facebook Insights tool to determine how many of your fans are on Facebook at a given time and divide reach by that number instead. The post scheduling feature will help you figure out the time that maximizes reach and then calculate reach to available fans. Another great approach is to measure reach against your engaged users rather than your fans. Both will give you better information about the effectiveness of your efforts than measuring against fans.
Over the years Facebook has generated plenty of controversy about the pay-to-play nature of its reach and its constantly changing algorithms. However, Facebook still offers better reach metrics and support tools through Insights than other social media platforms. It is clear that Facebook understands the fundamental importance of reach to its brand clients. If you have a page with plenty of engaged users and are tracking your reach metrics carefully, surfing changes that Facebook makes will probably continue to be manageable and profitable for your brand.