What Facebook Reach Means & How to Improve It

By Tinuiti Team

Metrics are crucial to any online campaign, giving you detailed insight on what’s working, what’s not and what needs to be changed in order to see success. While Facebook provides you plenty of metrics with which to do this, its metrics can also be a little overwhelming and, sometimes, just downright confusing.

What’s the difference between total reach and organic reach? What about impressions and reach? Which one is most important?

Unfortunately, these questions are common, and they make it incredibly hard for marketers to truly get the most from their ads. Want to better understand your Facebook metrics? Let’s provide a little clarity on the issue.

What Does “People Reached” Mean on Facebook?

“People Reached” on Facebook refers to how many people saw either a specific post or any content posted by your page.

“Post Reach” is the number of users who saw your specific Facebook post.

“Page Reach” is the number of users who saw any content posted by your page.

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facebook reach

What is the Difference Between Paid and Organic Reach?

Post reach and page reach are pretty simple in themselves, but each is divided into two distinct categories: paid reach and organic reach. Let’s look at each one in more depth:

What “Paid Reach” Means

This measures the reach on a promoted post, telling you exactly how many people saw your post after you started promoting it. This is a helpful metric if you want to determine the ROI of your promotional efforts.

Factors That Impact Paid Reach

The main factors that impact paid reach are your ad settings – who you chose to target, what geographic area you chose to focus on, etc. The more drilled-down you get on your targeting, the fewer people your ad will reach. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though; it simply means only highly qualified leads – people in your exact target audience – will see your ad.

What “Organic Reach” Means

Organic reach measures the number of users who saw your content (post, photo, video, etc.) of their own accord. It includes views on users’ newsfeeds, as well as ones from your page itself. This metric also takes into account the number of users who see your content thanks to a like, comment or share by someone else, which can give you real insight into the power of your Facebook fan base.

Factors That Impact Organic Reach


This isn’t an end-all-be-all list, of course. Facebook’s algorithm changes constantly, and with the recent uptick in fake news, it’s likely going to see some additional updates as a result.

facebook audience network“Organic reach is going to be entirely based on the engagement on your individual post,” Sarah Rogers, Manager, Performance Social at CPC Strategy said.

“You can test days, time periods, and content types to determine the best reach – but for the most part that actual number is out of your control. On the paid side though, you can choose to optimize and bid against the reach of your ads (if that’s really important to you).”

“With paid, advertisers can essentially choose the number of people they want to reach, which gives them a lot more control.”

Pro tip: While the organic reach metric will show you how many people saw your post – it won’t say how many of your actual followers saw it. Fortunately, there are other metrics that can tell you how many fans were online around the time you posted, and with your own manual calculations, you should be able to determine how well your post reached your audience.

nii“We’ve seen success by leveraging a hybrid approach when it comes to reach,” Nii A. Ahene COO at CPC Strategy said.

“Look back historically to see how much reach each of your pure organic posts have received.”

“Once you’ve have a sense of the range of reach that Facebook has given each of your post you can establish baseline engagement threshold, e.g. any posts that organically gets more than 1000 views to be a leading indicator of where you should invest advertising dollars.”

It Possible to Boost Your Organic Facebook Reach?

Not quite. One of the many limitations of organic reach is that it’s based largely on what Facebook thinks its users want to see. Because of this, it’s possible that even the most well-timed, well-crafted post won’t reach your target audience – at least not for free.

While it’s nice to think the perfect content strategy will help you reach your target audience organically and without extra expense, the truth is it’s just not likely with the site’s current algorithm. In fact, organic reach is at record lows. Across the site, page posts only reach about 2 to 6 percent of their audience.

Today, the best way to expand your Facebook visibility and reach leads in your target demo is to supplement your content strategy with paid advertising. Thankfully, Facebook advertising offers advertisers some serious targeting capabilities, which let you really drill down and reach the people your brand finds most qualified.

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