Why You Should Stop Measuring Reach on Facebook

It may be harder to earn organic reach on Facebook, but perhaps there are other, more important metrics to measure.

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It can be difficult to reach consumers on Facebook because of the frequent changes to the network’s algorithm. According to Buffer content crafter Kevan Lee, one key to improving reach may be to ignore the “reach” stat altogether.

Lee points to data from Social@Ogilvy, which indicate that without promotion, as little as two percent of fans on Facebook will see your post. However, Lee has identified why Facebook makes the changes it does.

“The sheer volume of users, brands and content on Facebook makes it such that the news feed could become a vastly overcrowded place without Facebook’s intervention,” Lee says.

To crack the algorithmic code, Lee cites Edgerank data: Affinity (familiarity with the page), weight (media type in posts) and decay (time since posting) are the determining factors for post placement in the news feed. And these factors are why you may want to ignore organic reach as a metric.

“In essence, Facebook is showing your update to only those fans and followers who are most engaged with your brand and who are most likely to click, share and interact with your content,” Lee says.

Lee provides these six tips for brands and marketers looking to expand their reach, without depending on the “organic reach” stat:

  1. Use strategies used by Fortune 500 companies — positivity, assuring customers their concerns are heard.
  2. Post at off-peak times to get a head start on early morning feed checking.
  3. Share behind the scenes info and pictures from your business.
  4. Engage your community with questions, just to hear from fans.
  5. If you share photos, make them self-explanatory.
  6. Look at metrics other than organic reach.

Facebook has a metric called daily organic reach that’s likely much more informative than individual post data. Keep in mind though, reach isn’t a statistic to chase for its own sake; it’s just a tool. The key is to look at the analytics and take steps to improve the metric in line with the business and campaign goals. Who knows, you might discover that there are other numbers worth chasing.