If you’ve been active on Facebook for a couple years, you’ve probably seen the huge drop in Facebook reach & performance.
It’s fair to say that everyone wants their posts to reach as many people as possible even if it became a big challenge for most.
The only way to do this is to understand that affects your Facebook reach and set up good practices.
In this article, we’ll strive to:
- Tell you what Facebook reach is
- Explain what affects your Facebook reach
- Give you a plan of action to increase your Facebook reach
What is Facebook reach exactly?
Facebook is known to always roll out new features to constantly improve the experience of its users.
After all, they make most of their money with advertising so anything that keeps people on their app and gets businesses to spend more is good for them.
Of course, there’s a reason why their stock price has continuously improved since the organic reach of business pages diminished.
A few years back, they started rolling out features that literally destroyed the reach of Facebook pages. It is said that most pages reach around 6% of their total fans (even less on some occasions).
Facebook reach is the number of unique individuals who saw your posts on Facebook. It’s a metric that affects your engagement, likes, clicks and so on. Why? If people don’t see your posts, they can’t do anything.
It’s different from impressions which amount to the number of people who saw your posts but they also count if people saw it 10 times. Facebook reach only counts unique views.
There are five different types of reach:
- Post reach
- Page reach
- Organic reach
- Viral reach
- Paid reach
Post reach & page reach are probably the most important reach metrics out there. Your post reach is the number of people who saw a particular post in their news feed from your page, and your page reach is the number of people who saw any posts from your page during a specific period of time (daily, weekly or monthly).
These two metrics can sometimes be intertwined. In some cases, you’ll have a post with a lot of reach, but a low reach on your overall page. You might on the contrary have tons of posts with bad reach but together they give you a big page reach.
The big question remains, which one should you focus on? To answer this, you should think of this question like the following: do you want to reach as many unique people as possible or just reach the same individuals more regularly? By answering this question, you’ll be able to choose the most important metric for your company.
Inside your Facebook page’s reach and posts reach, there are two categories of Facebook reach:
- Organic reach
- Paid reach
Organic reach is the reach given by Facebook for free. It’s when your fans see your posts in their news feeds. They can see your posts in their news feed but also by going on your page and looking for your latest posts.
Inside organic reach, there are two types of reach:
- Viral reach
- Non viral reach
Viral reach are people who see your posts because somebody else shared it. For instance, one of your fan shared your post and 10 of his friends saw the post in question even though they aren’t fans of your page.
The same happens when you launch a Facebook ad to reach a larger audience. You might get someone who is not your fan to share your post and get his friends to see it as well.
Non viral reach represents the people who saw your posts directly from the posts you’ve made. Those are generally people who are already following your page and see your post either in their news feed or by going directly on your Facebook page.
Finally, Paid reach is essentially the reach of individual posts that you paid Facebook to promote. Since you pay to promote them, you can have access to a lot of data and reports such as demographics data, engagement rates, etc. With paid reach, you should get unlimited reach (unless you’ve reached 1.6B people).
One thing that seems a tad more complicated is the timeframe around the reach (1-day, 7-day and 28-day).
For example, a user can see your content once today and once tomorrow but with a 1-day increment, you’ll have two unique reaches instead of the accurate one. It’s why we always recommend choosing a 7-day or 28-day window to track Facebook reach.
What are the reach factors?
Why does Facebook only allow certain content to reach people’s newsfeed? Why doesn’t Facebook just show in chronological order the latest posts from the people & pages you follow?
There are two reasons. The first one is that Facebook makes almost all their money from paid advertising and the second one is that the better, meaning more high quality, theirs news feed is the more people will stay.
The more people go and stay in the news feed, the more Facebook makes money. In other words, the better the experience the users have, the more ad space in the newsfeed Facebook has.
The goal is to show just the right amount of new relevant & personalized content in the newsfeed of the user. With new ads and posts appearing every day, Facebook was forced to filter the quality of them.
When you go in your Facebook feed, you might look at 30 posts and if you don’t like them, you probably won’t come back. It’s why it’s key to create the best experience for the user.
In 2010, your Facebook reach was quite simple. It depended on three factors that anyone called “Edgerank”:
- Affinity Score
- Edge Weight
- Time Decay
If you scored the highest within all these factors, you would show up first. Those few who knew the factors were constantly winning space in the news feed.
Others, who didn’t understand the factors, were spending a lot of energy but not getting. a lot of traction. We’re talking about the Facebook page and personal profile in the same category.
From now on, there are more than 100 factors that Facebook weighs on to show your post to your audience. I don’t think anyone wants a gigantic checklist before making a single Facebook post.
Of course, the Edgerank still matters but other factors have been added throughout the years.
Factor #1 – If you interacted with person or page
For instance, if you like, comment or clicks on every links every time your post on your page, it’s safe to say that these users have an affinity your content. Based on that, Facebook thinks you want to see more posts from those people or pages.
If you haven’t interacted with certain people or Facebook pages in a while, you’ll start seeing them less. Of course, sometimes you won’t interact but still want to see the Facebook posts. Facebook isn’t perfect on that end of the spectrum.
Factor #2 – The type of posts you interact with
This one if pretty straightforward, but you might interact more with videos than images. Facebook will, therefore, prioritize video content over image content from your the people and pages you follow.
For example, Facebook videos were already taking almost 82% of the Facebook feed in 2018, imagine today in 2020.
It’s why we recommend all our clients to use videos because most people interact mostly with this type of content and Facebook will make you pay less to reach those audiences.
Factor #3 – Initial interaction pool
When you make a post on your Facebook page, Facebook shows it to a small group of people (in the range of 25 to 100) and these people will determine the fate of your Facebook reach.
If they interact with it, you will get a higher score in Facebook’s algorithm and you will reach more and more people. It’s why it’s key to post content that sparks conversations. If you even ask your best followers to go like your post when it’s made, you have a much bigger chance of reaching more people.
Factor #4 – Keeping a high positivity score
While the quality score doesn’t exist anymore, it still matters what people think about your posts. People can decide to ask Facebook to not show your posts on your Facebook newsfeed anymore.
For instance, if you post something provocative and you get tons of people saying I don’t want to see this then this will negatively affect your Facebook reach.
On the flip side, if you get positive feedback you will have a higher score and reach more people. Positive feedback can be for instance when people share your post, spend time watching your video or even save your post.
Factor #5 – Time decay
The more time goes, the lower the score of your post. Essentially, the score of your post goes down as it gets older. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do about this factor, but it’s great to understand this
How can you measure Facebook reach?
Back in the days, we were measuring the reach of our posts based on the total amount of fans and this would give us a satisfying number. The problem is, nowadays, if you do that you’ll fall off your chair. You would probably get 0.4%…
Facebook insights give you access to numerous metrics inside the business manager. If you have a business page, then you can go under insights and select reach.
The best way to analyze your reach is to compare it to your own benchmark. You can select a graph and see for instance your organic reach.
You’ll then be able to gauge your posts performance against the other posts. In a way, your total reach doesn’t matter because it depends on the quality of your Facebook page.
For those who still believe so, your Facebook reach is not the amount of fans you have on your page. It’s only a fraction of your fans that should see your post in a non viral way. If you are lucky you might get organic viral reach and paid reach.
How Hard Is It to Get Good Reach?
Since 2013, there has been a drastic drop in Facebook reach. Today, it’s been 7 years marketers don’t seem to care about organic Facebook reach anymore. The drop took quite some time to arise, for a few years, some pages were still successful but they got rarer by the years.
An article in AdAge also said that Facebook told them the reach would keep diminishing. It’s essentially Facebook saying if you want Facebook reach, you’ve gotta pay to play.
Fortunately, the pages with the highest post engagement were less affected. Pages with tons of negative feedback but high engagement were hit hard. This move made sense because Facebook wants to keep users on the platform.
All this beautiful history to say that everybody is affected, but if you are able to create a community of people who don’t hide your post and actually interact positively. You might gain Facebook’s love again and generate more organic reach.
Can I find better reach elsewhere?
Of course, when the Facebook reach news arrived, people were looking for other avenues. It’s funny to say that some even started saying that Google+ was the new social platform. Today we know it isn’t because it closed down.
The truth is any platform now knows they make their money from paid advertising, organic reach is not their priority unless you get people to positively interact with your page.
A lot of companies started hating Facebook because of the drastic decrease in Facebook reach with the new algorithm. They were saying that they were out of money.
Truth is Facebook isn’t doing such a bad job. They are trying to conciliate their need to keep users online and generating money with their paid advertising features. Of course, the organic reach is dying but the efforts they’ve put in creating one of the best advertising platform in the world is amazing.
When we look at Google who has made tons of algorithm updates such as Panda, Penguin & Hummingbird that have literally made loose tons of traffic to websites that now needed to spend their money on Adwords. The algorithm updates of Facebook don’t seem so bad.
Imagine having a website that brings 10,000 visitors per month and generates $50,000 and then it goes to 1,000 visitors and the company needs to fire employees because they aren’t growing anymore. It takes a lot of time to rank with SEO, a shorter time to build an engaging audience on Facebook.
In our reality at SH1FT, all those social media platforms should be used in an integrated strategy, not in a separate one. Every company should leverage all related social media platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram & Youtube. A good social media agency can help you accomplish that.
Should you pay for Facebook ads reach?
In reality, some Facebook pages won’t really have a choice if they want to get visibility. Should it make you afraid? No. On the contrary, figuring out paid ads for your company can help you boost sales or generate more leads in a more efficient manager.
In reality, some Facebook posts might deserve to go on paid and others don’t, but for the content that is paid-worthy, it can help you target the right people. If your Facebook reaches the right people then you have a better chance of making money.
The first step in the right direction is to know which type of content you want to promote. Our answer? It depends on your goals. A post about your company being featured somewhere could be awesome if you want to gain credibility but bad if you want to generate sales.
Here are a few objectives companies have:
- Generate as much visibility through viral reach
- Make sales
- Get new prospects
- Connect with their audience
If you spend a lot of time creating a Facebook post such as a video, it might be worth it to consider putting a small budget on it so that people see it.
In our experience, it’s nice to put a little budget on almost every post. You might be surprised to find a post that generates amazing results such as cheap clicks or cheap engagement.
You can even aim for the reach objective which would make Facebook optimize to give you the most cost-efficient reach possible. They recommend it for companies that want to build awareness around their brand.
With this objective, you can also set a Facebook ad frequency cap which would maximize the amount of time someone can see your ad. It’s a super useful feature.
What can you do to get more Facebook reach?
If you want to get more Facebook reach, then we have a few recommendations which we are sure will help.
#1 – Evergreen content
The biggest hurdle with posting content is actually creating content. You might start creating really basic Facebook posts, but you’ll realize that your results are really bad and it’s even worth it.
The best solution is to use a source of curated content or using evergreen content you’ve created in the past. Having a library or a bank of Facebook posts is a great idea to never run out of things to post.
#2 – Increase post frequency
The more you post, the better your chance of reaching your audience. Overall, this strategy can have a great impact on your overall reach and brand awareness. Some of the Facebook pages that get the best results usually post more than three times per day.
Posting often can be hard, because creating quality content is a tedious task but if you have a large enough audience it might be worth it because it brings quality results.
For example, this is what happens when you only post once a week and results increase by 106,493%.
The only caveat is that if you post too often and you have a small audience, your posts might compete in the feed for your audiences. The solution is to test for yourself and track your results if you post once a day or three times per day. Data is king.
#3 – Find a content curation strategy
There are literally thousands of websites posting quality content in your industry. While you might not want to make posts from your competitors, you’ll realize that posting their content is still better than not posting anything at all.
Other experts in your industry are posting quality content that could benefit your audience and your audience will thank you for the right resources. This creates a great relationship with them with low efforts.
Although we recommend posting quality content, finding content from other quality sources can do the job as well. It can help position your brand as a thought leader that is always up-to-date with new resources.
As an example, you could post some of your old articles or even articles from other experts that you think your audience would really benefit from.
#4 – Creative posts
When it comes to Facebook posts, you need to stand out and being creative is one of the best way of doing that. The truth is that if people have seen something in particular too often then they won’t look at it anymore.
To be creative and bring new ideas to your Facebook post can really help improve your Facebook reach. Here are a few Facebook post ideas:
- Adding motion design
- Creating podcast/interview video’s
- Celebrate things in your company with your audience
- Craft a nice giveaway
#5 – Post genuine & transparent content
Facebook isn’t a place where you want to be too cold in your posts. In fact, social media is a place for brands to be more personal and transparent to connect with their audience.
Some companies share things such as the achievement of company goals of the behind the scene of an event. It’s why it’s key to always have ideas as to which type of Facebook post you could make about what’s going inside your company.
One word of advice: make sure the content is still exciting. Showing what’s happening behind the scenes of your company with your employees working might not be really exciting for people to see but showing your team at an industry event is a different story.
#6 – Leverage paid Facebook ads
The best way to get more Facebook reach is to spend your money on Facebook ads. Facebook has one of the most precise targeting options you’ll find online. This means if you crafted a really awesome Facebook post, you could choose to who you want to show it and how many people see your post.
We’ve written tons of articles on Facebook ads, so we recommend you take a look at our blog if this interests you.
Finally, for those who don’t know, here’s how Facebook ads appear normally in your Facebook news feed:
From the Facebook ads manager, you can launch multiple ad formats such as videos, carousels, collection, stories and even Instagram ads!
#7 – Create better images & videos
Quality is king. Arguably, posting low-quality content is dangerous. Why? Well, it could diminish your score in Facebook’s eye meaning that fewer and fewer people would see your posts and secondly you could tarnish your brand’s image.
It’s why we often recommend talking to social media experts if your Facebook reach isn’t quite where you want it to be because taking actions could have a negative impact on your company. If you aren’t sure if your Facebook reach is good or not, we recommend taking a look at the Barometer from Agorapulse.
How can I export my Facebook page data?
It’s quite simple. First, you need to head over to your Facebook page and click on insights.
Once you arrive on the insight section of your page you should see a button called export data. Exporting your data is a good way to analyze in a deeper, more meaningful way.
After this, you’ll be able to select amongst these options: page data, post data or video data. You’ll also need to choose the file format, the timeframe and the date range.
We usually keep the layout, file format and change the date range according to what we want. It’s also interesting to download all three options of data types.
Here you go, you’ve got your Facebook page data in a format that you can analyze and play with more easily. You’ll see the different time increments there and be able to better know if your marketing efforts are actually yielding results.
Let’s reach new heights
Your Facebook reach is quite important to understand. It’s a metric that affects all other metrics. It might not be a bottom of the funnel metric but it’s a good metric to build awareness.
You can, for instance, decide to not measure your Facebook ad performance until you’ve reached a minimum amount of people. This way you’ll find conclusions that make sense to you and your brand.
I hope that the six different ways to increase your organic page reach. I recommend you test some or all of them if possible.
One last thing, never forget that metrics matter but connections matter more. You could have a large following and audience but zero interactions because you haven’t connected with your audience.
Although reach is an important metric that does have an impact on your business, you should also look at the comments or messages people send you when they interact with you.
Are people talking about your business positively? Are they commenting on your posts? If you have a gigantic audience & good reach with no interactions, something is definitely wrong.