How to Find Out If You Have Good Facebook Reach

When we first wrote this post in early 2015, the average Facebook reach was about 4.11% of total Page likes. Meaning for every 100 people who liked a Page, only four of them actually saw a post in their News Feed. In January 2017, the average reach was 8.92% – more than double! – which you’d think would be SUPER exciting news.

Despite Facebook inching ever closer to the 2 billion users mark, overall engagement (meaning, people reacting, commenting, clicking, or sharing) on Facebook Pages has plummeted: from 15.58% in April 2015 all the way down to 4.32% this January. What happened?

In short: the algorithm. Changes in how Facebook sorts updates to users’ News Feeds means reach is in a steep (albeit natural) decline. The new News Feed algorithm prioritizes user sharing, and aggregates multiple shares. This means that each user share = more competition for business shares. (Bummer.) 

The good news? These fluctuations can occur on a month-to-month basis, depending on when Facebook implements new changes (they typically roll out new features gradually). This means you can (and should) review your Facebook metrics and adjust your Facebook marketing tactics on a regular basis.

Yet one constant remains: Writing quality content that people want to engage with – while varying that content and posting it on a regular schedule – has literally never been more important!

This update to a classic post talks about what is a “good” reach on Facebook and how to think about reach in the brave new world of the latest algorithm updates. 

Everybody wonders it sometimes.

You peek at the organic reach for every Facebook update you post, and the numbers aren’t what you’d hoped. They aren’t even what you expected. You’ve seen people with higher bowling scores. And you can’t help but wonder:

Does my Facebook Page suck?

How Good Is Your Facebook Reach Really?

It’s frustrating when it feels like nobody is seeing your posts. Sometimes it seems like you’re the only person who doesn’t have the whole thing figured out – like there must be one simple, glaring thing you’re doing wrong and just need to fix, like plugging the hole in a sinking rowboat.

That’s when it’s time to get a little perspective on your Facebook reach – and here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can do it.

How does your Facebook reach compare to other Pages?

Want to know how your Facebook Page is really doing? You can’t just look at your own stats – you need to have something to compare them to.

Today, we’ll use these findings from February 2017. The social media analytics experts at Locowise compiled the statistics for thousands of Facebook Pages, and came up with results you can use to contextualize your own. (Hint: If you need a refresher on how to access Facebook data beyond what you get on your Insights tab, this shows you what to do.)

Here’s an example.

According to their study, the average reach for a Facebook post in January was about 8.92% of total Page likes – down from 9.53% in December. Here’s how you can see how your Page stacked up.

Facebook engagement summary

Source: Locowise

First, use the Post Data spreadsheet you can download directly from Facebook (again, here’s how) to add the reach for every update you post to your Page over the last month. (Remember to look at organic reach, not total!) Let’s say your total organic reach for the month is 50,000 users. Divide that by the number of updates you posted (let’s say 20 updates), and you’ll get an organic reach of 2,500 users per post.

Because your Page’s number of likes is probably different at the end of the month than it is at the beginning (let’s say yours grew by more than 2,000), again, make sure you average your Page’s likes over January’s 31 days. Add up the numbers in your “Lifetime Total Likes” column (in the Page Data spreadsheet) and divide by 31 to get your average.

Divide the average number of users reached per post by the average number of total Page likes, and you’ll have your average reach. Don’t be discouraged if you get a result below the average of 8.92%!

You could look at a disappointing post reach and feel disheartened, but engagement is the lowest it’s been since Locowise began doing their studies – so there’s more to the dip than simple mathematics, and there are many reasons why:

Facebook’s algorithm famously (and drastically) changed over the summer, affecting reach in ways that are still being felt by anyone with a business Page. While the change is pushing more businesses towards paid advertising, the upside is that Facebook is planning a LOT of changes for 2017 that don’t require any spending, including a continued focus on video, CTA buttons just for business Pages, prioritization of messaging for businesses, and new features meant specifically for mobile.

In short, there are a ton of opportunities for your Page – and Facebook’s prioritization of quality content has remained consistent for over four years!

There’s more to life than Facebook reach

So now you know how your reach compares to the average – but reach isn’t the only thing that matters, either. Not by a long shot.

[Tweet “You need to pay attention to your engagement rates, too. Engagement means clicks – comments, shares, likes, and clickthroughs.”] It means people seeing what you post and actually taking action, instead of scrolling on past without a second thought. And it’s easy to measure your own.

On your spreadsheet, look at the Lifetime engaged users column. This gives you the engagement for each individual post. Add them up (hint: use the sum function instead of doing it manually) to get your total engagement for the month, then divide that number by your total number of people reached to get your engagement rate.

Spreadsheet Sum Function

Enter a sum formula into a blank cell to calculate a total. For example, if you want to add every number in a column between cells B3 and B50, you would enter =SUM(B3:B50) into an empty cell.

According to the study, the average engagement rate in January was 4.32% of a Page’s reach – so again, you can compare your own engagement rate to the average.

And what if yours is really low? How can you get a better engagement rate?

Well, that’s the other nice thing about spreadsheets like this – they make it easy to identify what’s working and what isn’t. For example, you can sort all of the updates in your sheet in order of engagement rate, so you can easily pick out patterns in what people liked the best, the least, and so on. Pay attention to factors like:

  • Type of update
  • Time of post
  • Day of the week
  • Message phrasing (A question? A statement? Funny? Serious?)

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t recognize any immediate patterns – especially if you’re looking at a relatively small period of time, like a single month. Try going back to your Insights page and exporting data for a broader range, like several months, and you may notice things that weren’t apparent in a smaller data set.

Now see how you’re performing

That’s all there is to it – now you know how to figure out your own average organic reach, as well as your average engagement. So download your data from your Facebook Insights tab, compare it to the average, and see exactly how you’re doing compared to the other Pages out there!

How to Find Out If You Have Good Facebook Reach
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How to Find Out If You Have Good Facebook Reach
What's the average organic Facebook reach for a page? Is yours good or bad? This step-by-step guide will show you how to compare yours to the average.
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  • Thank you for sharing! Am I missing something about the Lifetime Engaged Users column? I can’t seem to find it.

    • Tom | Team Edgar

      When you export from Facebook Insights, first make sure that you’re choosing the “Post data” option. Then, in the spreadsheet, Lifetime Engaged Users should be column N! (It’s easy to miss. They cram a lot of data into these spreadsheets.)

  • Thanks! Got it now!

    • Tom | Team Edgar

      Awesome! Glad to hear it!

  • I love how you guys geek out on this. Have to be honest though – doing all that made me feel like going back to sleep! Thank God for Edgar so we don’t have to spend so much time doing the boring stuff.
    So my question is – how does this relate to the fact that Facebook is just not giving our posts the reach we used to have unless we run adverts? Am I missing something here?

    • Tom | Team Edgar

      You’re not missing a thing! The relation is really just that the problem of decreased organic reach is something that affects everyone. Is it still extremely lame that reach numbers have plummeted the way they have? Absolutely. (Who here wouldn’t prefer their numbers to be what they were a year or two ago, right?) But a lot of the conversation we see around that issue is focused inward instead of outward – people asking, “What am I doing wrong here? Why is my Facebook reach so low?” And that’s just not a fair question to ask yourself, sometimes! I would hope that someone can compare their typical reach to the average among other pages and be able to say, “Well, it’s still too bad that it’s as low as it is, but at least I’m not alone.” Nobody should be left scratching their heads or beating themselves up about how they’re performing on Facebook when the issue is Facebook itself, and not necessarily something they’re doing wrong.

  • This is way awesome. Thank you!

    On a related note: My reach is temporarily high due to a bigger page sharing a couple of my posts. Do you know any way I can make the most of high reach before it plummets again?

    • Tom | Team Edgar

      My advice would be to focus on posts that’ll drive engagement – even if that engagement is “invisible,” like clicks! For one thing, FB engagement in and of itself is a good thing (in the case of clickthroughs, for example, it’s more traffic to your site, which is obviously awesome). Additionally, though, FB factors in engagement when determining reach, so the more people interacting with your posts, the better off you’ll be when it comes to sustaining good visibility. I’d say use the instructions in this post specific to ranking Facebook updates by engagement, so you can see the things you’re sharing on this particular network that do the best in terms of clicks, likes, comments, etc. For example, if you shared a link to a blog post that got way more clicks than average, you might try sharing it again for anyone who didn’t see it before! (And don’t forget, you can use your FB Insights to learn about the people your page has been reaching within a specific timeframe. If you want to know more about who you’ve been reaching over the past week or so, for example, you can do that – it’s under Facebook Insights –> People –> People Reached.)

  • I’m struggling with the math here because I’m not 100% sure I’m pulling the correct data from the correct column! This math problem is worded so awkwardly! Do you have a step by step that’s less wordy and references columns?

    • Tom | Team Edgar

      Did you see this post, too? Should clear things up!

  • Where can I go to find the sites in my area that have the most engagement, so that I can begin to see posts and comments that are worth of high engagement? I know the #1 site in my area, and I use buzzsumo to look up the most shared posts for a topic, but I’d like to learn more about the conversations that are drawing the most buzz online. Is there a tool or solution for finding the local online buzz?

    • Tom | Team Edgar

      So you’re looking for a way to see the Facebook pages for businesses in a certain area that get the most engagement, is that right? Now, I’m not sure about a tool that necessarily does that exactly, but you might have some luck using Facebook’s Pages to Watch feature. This will allow you to “watch” certain analytics for pages of your choosing – in this case, you would choose those in your same geographic area. You can then keep tabs on who’s having the most success, which posts are getting the most engagement, etc. – it’ll take a bit more investigative work on your part, but it could be just the data you’re looking for!

  • Jo Kennedy

    I’m sure until recently there was an ability to compare one time period to another on the same graph. Has this gone now? Think it was reach…..

    • Tom | Team Edgar

      Not sure about that one, Jo!

  • Do you have a post like this for Twitter analytics?

  • kaynichole

    Question. You said “About 45,182 users. Divide that by the number of updates we posted (91), and we get an organic reach of about 497 users per post.” In your screen shot of the Facebook page above that paragraph, I noticed there was 13k “likes,” so where are you getting the 45,182 users?

    • Tom VanBuren

      While the Facebook page had 13k likes at the time, we got to 45,182 by adding the organic reach for every update we’d posted over the course of a month. (Which averaged out to a reach of 497 users per post.) In any case, your reach isn’t limited to just people who have liked your page! For example, if one of your Facebook fans shares one of your posts, it could be seen by a whole bunch of that person’s friends – all those people would count toward that post’s reach, whether or not they’ve liked your page!

  • Stefanos Doudountsakis

    I have a question. What would you say regarding adding paid reach from different posts on the same page ? I believe that since its unique users those who we are talking about, there should be no adding to present a grand total paid reach, since we might have users who repeatedly engage with each post. What is your opinion to that ? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Tom VanBuren

      There’s nothing wrong with paying to get more reach for more than one post at a time!