The term “reach” often dominates conversations around Facebook marketing.
And rightfully so. After all, we want our posts to reach as many people as possible.
But when you’re up against competitors’ content, Facebook ads and even updates from friends and family, getting more eyes on your own posts can be daunting.
That said, growing your reach on Facebook is possible. It’s equally important for brands to understand how “reach” functions as a marketing KPI.
In this guide, we’ll break down the basics of Facebook reach, how to measure yours and increase it ASAP.
What is Facebook reach, anyway?
In short, your Facebook reach represents the number of unique users who see your post or page (regardless of whether they’ve engaged with it).
Let’s say you publish a post and 100 people look at it. Your reach is 100 people. Simple enough, right?
Facebook reach is always measured within a specified time period (think: 28 days). That means a metric for your overall reach doesn’t exist. Instead, marketers should be concerned with their daily, weekly or monthly reach.
Below is an example of weekly reach measured in Facebook Creator Studio:
Obviously, Facebook has no way of tracking how many literal eyes see your posts while scrolling through their newsfeed. The platform simply tracks how many unique screens your post displays on.
Keep in mind that Facebook reach can be measured by post or Page. In short, if your Page’s reach is up that means more people are seeing your content (and vice versa). Meanwhile, individual posts will vary when it comes to their reach.
Why? Because reach is influenced by a number of factors much like the Facebook algorithm, including:
- Engagement and interactions from both followers and non-followers
- Content-type and optimization factors (video versus text posts, captions, timing and so on)
- Paid ads versus organic posts (the former has a reach determined by budget)
And yes, reach can vary wildly from post to post. This speaks to why marketers should track long-term trends with their Facebook reach.
What are the different types of Facebook reach?
Below is a quick breakdown of the three specific types of reach on Facebook and how they differ.
Facebook organic reach
When most people talk about Facebook reach, they’re typically referring to organic.
Organic reach measures how many people saw one of your normal, non-sponsored posts.
This type of reach is the hardest to earn. Between competition from ads, viral posts from major accounts and constant changes to the platform’s algorithm, many marketers note that organic reach has been falling for years now.
Facebook viral reach
Viral reach refers to how many people saw your content because someone else engaged with it via “Likes,” comments or shares.
This type of reach is based on interactions from other accounts, including followers and non-followers alike.
You’ve probably had content pop up in your newsfeed because someone else “Liked” it, right? That’s viral reach in action.
Facebook ad reach
Ad reach refers to the number of people who saw your Facebook ads at least once. According to Facebook themselves, the metric is estimated.
This type of reach is unique because it’s primarily based on budgeting and audience targeting. Ad reach is both a measure of how well your ads performed but also how well you managed to hone in our audience.
The difference between Facebook reach, impressions and engagement
The terms “reach,” “engagement” and “impressions” are often used interchangeably.
However, they each represent totally different KPIs. Here’s how:
- Reach measures how many unique people saw your content.
- Impressions measure the number of views on a piece of content. This metric factors in repeat impressions or someone checking out the same piece of content twice. For this reason, impressions will always be higher than reach.
- Engagement measures the individual interactions of your content such as reactions, comments and shares.
Ever wonder “What does ‘people reached’ on Facebook mean?” It means exactly that: the number of people that saw your content.
In Creator Studio, you can compare side-by-side interactions and people reached on Facebook.
Marketers should measure all of the above. Although Facebook reach and impressions are obviously important, you ideally want to boost your interactions alongside your reach.
Doing so means exploring new ways to drive engagement and sending signals to Facebook to ensure your posts are being presented to as many people as possible.
6 proven tactics to boost your Facebook reach
Despite popular belief, greater reach on Facebook isn’t totally in the hands of the algorithm.
Below are some key Facebook best practices and tips to ensure that your content is getting the exposure it deserves.
1. Optimize your content formatting and captions for Facebook
This is especially important as crossposting across Instagram or Twitter has become more and more common.
Simply put, you can’t treat Facebook as a dumping ground for content meant for other platforms. Specifically, make a point to:
- Craft unique captions (think: don’t include needless hashtags or use the exact same captions)
- Avoid posting only external links: focus on formats that keep people on Facebook (videos, infographics and so on)
- Consider including a call-to-action (“comment below”) or question to drive discussions
These tips are crucial for Facebook organic reach and getting more love from the platform’s algorithm.
2. Schedule your posts for the sake of consistency
It’s no surprise that many of the most engaged-with accounts on Facebook post on a daily (or near-daily) basis.
That’s because consistency matters for the sake of growing your presence and letting the algorithm know that you’re active.
Apps like Sprout Social and native tools such as Facebook Studio allow you to queue up content to ensure you’re regularly publishing fresh posts.
3. Time your posts to perfection
We’ve seen firsthand from reaching the best times to post on social media how post timing and engagement correlate.
Optimizing your content timing isn’t the be-all, end-all of engagement, but it does increase the likelihood that your latest posts are soon.
Given how fierce competition is for organic reach, anything you can do to increase your content’s visibility is a plus. Using tools such as Sprout’s ViralPost, you can fine-tune your publishing times based on when your unique audience is most engaged.
4. Use videos and Facebook Live to encourage engagement
Facebook has been pretty explicit in recent years about how well videos perform.
Whether it’s a Live session or bite-sized promotion, integrating video into your content strategy is a smart move regardless of whether you’re concerned about Facebook reach. Note that many posts that earn viral reach via “Likes” and shares are often videos.
5. Get in front of fresh followers with Facebook ads
Depending on your business or industry, paying for reach via ads is a matter of “when” and not “if.”
The fall of organic reach has resulted in a direct rise in Facebook ads. While your potential reach is largely based on your bidding strategy and targeting, ads do represent a direct way to get your audience’s attention.
And for many brands, the investment is absolutely worth it.
6. Use Groups and third-party engagement to increase visibility
Supplementing your page with activity engagement from Facebook Groups or individual accounts (think: employees or partners) is yet another way to earn viral reach.
Consider that any given account or Page is limited in terms of who can see any given post. Engagements from outsiders, however, can create a snowball effect where content is recommended to non-followers again and again.
How to measure your Facebook reach effectively
As noted earlier, Facebook reach can be assessed Page-wide or on a per-post level.
We recommend keeping an eye on long-term reach and spotting trends (either upward or downward). There are always going to be outliers in terms of your content, so obsessing over an individual day or week isn’t going to mean much in the long run.
The good news is that you have plenty of options in terms of how and where you monitor your reach. For example, Facebook Insights provides a solid breakdown of post reach alongside page interactions:
Meanwhile, you can measure impressions and engagement versus people reached for individual videos in Facebook Creator Studio:
But again, it’s important to monitor trends and takeaways rather than obsess over individual numbers. For example, think about questions such as:
- Is my Facebook reach growing or going down? Why?
- How does my organic reach compare to my paid reach?
- Which individual pieces of content earn the most reach? Is there a connection between them (think: format, length, timing)?
Identifying the common threads between your top-performing posts is a must-do for marketers. With a platform like Sprout, you can easily monitor your impressions and reach over time to see how you’re trending and whether changes to your content strategy are moving the needle.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
How are you growing your Facebook reach?
Getting more Facebook reach doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.
That said, it’s important to understand how reach operates as a metric and what you can do to increase yours over time. Use these breakdowns and pointers as a starting point for grabbing the attention of your target audience and keeping it long-term.
And if you haven’t already, snag a trial of Sprout Social to more closely monitor your Facebook reach and uncover new opportunities to grow it.