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Facebook Analytics Social Media Marketing

Facebook Post Reach Explained

by Julian Gottke on March 06, 2018

This article has been updated for you on October 17, 2019.

Our "Facebook Post Reach Explained" article will give you a profound overview about the different kinds of reach and shows you how you can use these numbers to optimize your own social media strategy. Facebook Reach is one of the most important social media KPI’s for marketers when it comes to measuring the success of Facebook pages or posts. However, Facebook offers a lot of different kinds of reach that can be used for this. As reach is a private metric, you always need to have insights permissions for the pages you want to analyze.

What is Facebook Reach?

Reach is the number of people that have seen your content within a certain period. Compared to impressions, reach is always a unique number. Due to this fact, reach is also often called unique impressions. However, impressions show how often content was seen by people you reached. As one user can view the same content several times the impressions are always equal or greater than the reach.

Page Reach vs. Post Reach

When we talk about reach there are two categories that we need to distinguish, page reach and post reach. Page reach always gives you the number of people who viewed any content associated with your page. This not only includes users that viewed your posts but also users that viewed e.g. a photo album or users that saw any stories about your page in their news feeds. Other than that, the page reach also includes users who have been reached by your ads (so called dark posts).

Post reach describes the number of people who saw a certain post of your page. So for every post a page posted, you can see the number of people you reached.

Always consider this when thinking about your Facebook analytics strategy. 

Facebook Reach needs to be analyzed in intervals

Facebook provides three different intervals for reach. The first interval they provide is a daily interval. This means they provide one value per day showing how many people were reached on that day.

The second interval is the weekly interval. Here Facebook also offers one value per day. But compared with the daily interval, it doesn’t show the number of people reached on that day but the number of people reached in the last 7 days. So the value we get e.g. on Dec 31 gives us the number of people that were reached between Dec 24 and Dec 31, whereas the value on Jan 01 gives us the number of people that were reached between Dec 25 and Jan 01.

The third interval is a 28 day (days_28) interval. This interval is similar to the weekly interval as Facebook also provides us with one value per day but instead of showing the number of the people that were reached in the last 7 days, it shows the number of people that were reached in the last 28 days.

When you analyze Facebook reach, it’s important to understand that you can only analyze periods that are either 1, 7 or 28 days long. As Facebook reach is a unique number you cannot sum up the daily values. 

Why does summing up Facebook reach not work? Imagine there is a user that was reached on Jan 1 and also on Jan 2 - the reach for both days would be one. If you sum this up you would have a Facebook Reach of two, although you only reached one person.

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Organic, viral, unpaid and paid Facebook Post Reach Explained

The following paragraph will help you to differentiate between organic, viral, unpaid and paid Facebook reach in order to get an in-depth knowledge of which content performed best. Now, let’s get into detail.

Marketers usually define organic reach as the number of people who were reached by content of a page that wasn’t sponsored (unpaid). So the commonly known organic reach equals the unpaid reach which equals the total reach minus paid reach.

However, Facebook has a slightly different definition of organic reach. Facebook defines organic reach by the number of people who visited your page, or saw your page or one of its posts in news feed or ticker. Sponsored posts or ads are not included here.

Beside the organic reach, Facebook also offers the possibility to analyze viral reach.

Viral reach is the number of people who saw your Facebook page or one of its posts from a story published by a friend. You can quickly identify stories in your newsfeed as they always say “XXX liked this”, “XXX commented on this” etc. right above the post. These stories include liking your page, posting to your page's wall, liking, commenting on or sharing one of your page posts, answering a question you posted, responding (RSVPing) to one of your events, mentioning your page, photo-tagging your page or checking in at your place.

Facebook Post Reach Guide

Although Facebook offers two different kinds of non-sponsored reach, it doesn’t mean that the sum of both equals the unpaid reach. As already mentioned, the unpaid reach equals the total reach minus the paid reach. The sum of Facebook's organic and viral reach is always the same or greater than the unpaid reach as users can be both present in organic reach and viral reach if they see pages posts and stories published by a friend in their news feed. However, in unique reach Facebook will only count the explained once.


Types of Facebook Reach

Beside the page level and post level reach, Facebook also distinguishes between different types of reach (See Facebook documentation). As discussed in the paragraph above, the organic, viral, unpaid, paid and total reach are the most common types, but there are as well a lot of other and more specific types.

Reach by City
The reach by city gives you the number of people who have seen any content associated with your page by city.

Reach by Country
Similar to the reach by city, Facebook also offers the reach by country, which can help to identify successful campaigns in different countries.

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Reach by Demographics
Another interesting type of reach is the reach by demographics. This basically gives you the number of people who have seen any content associated with your page by age and gender grouping. This can help you a lot while creating content for your page. Based on these numbers, you can target your content better to your community. More quality content can mean higher interactions long-term.

Reach by Page Fan

The reach by page fan gives you the number of people who have liked your page who saw your page post. Using this metric, you quickly see if your posts are reached by page fans or if you also reach a lot of people who are no fans of your page. This could help to identify the virality of your content and adjust after campaigns.

Takeaways for marketers

To sum things up, we can say that there are some things to keep in mind while analyzing Facebook Reach correctly. Our goal was to give you a better understanding of some important differences. All of these are essential when taking a look at whether a post or campaign was successful or not. Facebook Reach as a metric should be a standard social media KPI for every Facebook marketer as it reveals a lot of insights on how content is being perceived.

Do you have any questions regarding our "Facebook Post Reach Explained" post? Just let us know! We are happy to chat either in the comments below or on Twitter. So long and happy analyzing!

Ps.: For a well performing and holistic strategy not only think of metrics like Facebook Post reach but also see listening and other modules of the whole Facebook analytics process. The following short ebook gives you more insights on how to use listening and analytics features together. 

3 KPIs Social Media Manager

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