I wrote a piece about how Marketers should calculate their real organic Fan Reach last December but it has become outdated because of multiple changes Facebook has made to Facebook Insights.
Worse, the definitions of those key metrics lying in their Excel spreadsheet have not caught up with the updates, leaving many, including myself, confused.
This spurred a collaboration between Emeric and I to clarify some of these terms not only for ourselves, but for all the marketers and Page managers who might not have the time or ability to dig in and understand these metrics.
In this article, we will cover all the Reach metrics found in your Post-level Insights’ exported data:
For clarity, let us first define 2 things in this post.
Now, let us look at what Reach means to Facebook before we dive into the Reach metrics.
Reach refers to the total number of people who your post was displayed in front of, whether they have liked your Page or not.
Reach does not mean that the users have read your post, it just means that it’s been displayed before them. This is like how emails opens don’t necessarily mean that users have read the email, it just means they have opened it.
Keep in mind that every time a user goes to her newsfeed, whether on mobile or desktop, Facebook will display anywhere between 6 to 10 posts right away, and as the user scrolls down, Facebook will automatically add 6 to 10 posts at a time. As soon as these posts are displayed, they are considered as having reached the concerned users, whether or not the user has scrolled down to them.
Now we’re ready.
Let’s break this lengthy metric down:
(i) Total number of people: Total number of people includes people who liked your Page and people who have not liked your Page, as mentioned earlier
“Who saw your page post” has 2 aspects to it, (ii) and (iii)
(ii) Why the post was displayed to them. This could be due to 3 main reasons:
(iii) Where they saw your page post. So far, I’ve seen page posts displayed to users on 8 places (if you know of more places, let us know):
To understand why your post was displayed in the ways mentioned above, you need to gain another perspective – the actions taken by you, users, or other Pages. Your post is displayed because stories were created through 5 different kinds of actions. They are:
Now that you have understood the first Reach metric comprehensively, the rest of the metrics will be a breeze.
Organic Reach: This refers to the number of people who see your post because either:
Just one thing to note: if you pay to promote your post, your organic reach might drop. Before you JUMP at me, let me explain briefly:
When you pay to promote your post, Facebook does 2 things:
Facebook does not measure every single metric that it shows on their Facebook Insights’ exported data. In this case, Facebook does not measure “Lifetime Post Organic Reach”.
Instead, it measures Total Reach and Paid Reach. Then it deducts Paid Reach from Total Reach to obtain Organic Reach.
This explains why the organic reach count is deducted if the same person sees both your post and promoted post.
Paid Reach: This metric refers to the number of people who see your post because you paid to promote your post to them. This Reach count will continue for as long as you pay to promote the post.
It will count the number of people who have been reached via a display of the post in the newsfeed itself (on mobile and desktop), but also in the sidebar (on desktop only).
Note that if you promote posts in the sidebar, the reach will quickly become huge (these ads get displayed an awful lot) but the conversion metrics (like engagement, clicks, purchases, etc.) will be ridiculous when compared to the enormous reach generated.
The first reason is that people tend to focus on their newsfeed much more than on ads and the second reason is because when a promoted post is displayed as a sidebar ad, the amount of text is so limited that most of the title and text get truncated, thus greatly reducing the appeal of the original post. When promoting a post, make sure it will render well in the sidebar if you choose that placement.
This metric is pretty self-explanatory; it refers to the total number of people who liked your page and saw your post. In other words, this metric refers to your Fan Reach. It includes both organic and promoted post reach.
If you do not pay to promote post, then this metric reflects your Organic Fan Reach. It is also the metric that businesses and marketers alike have been bashing Facebook about in recent months.
We are nearing the end, hang on for a while more!
This metric refers to the total number of people who liked your page and saw your promoted post. In other words, this metric refers to your Fan Paid Reach.
This metric can be useful if you promote your post frequently and you wish to see how much of your ad spend is on promoting post to existing fans. Coupled with lead conversion tracking, this metric may be used to calculate your ROI during a period or at an individual post level.
If you promote your post frequently, then you may want to calculate a separate column to know your Lifetime Post Organic Fan Reach.
To do so, simply deduct metric no. 5 (Column V of your Excel Spreadsheet) from metric no. 4 (Column T). This metric refers to how many fans you reach when you publish a page post.