Reach on Facebook might seem like a pretty easy topic. We’ve all heard about it and we all talk about it almost every day. But here at Sotrender we still receive regular questions about Facebook Reach. Is it different from views? How so? What are the different types or reach? How are they measured?

In order to clear any doubts you still might have, we’ve gathered all the information you need to know below.

Reach and views

Let’s start by explaining what reach is, what views are, and the difference between the two.

Reach represents the number of people who have seen any post published by a Facebook Page (regardless of the place where the content was seen, e.g. on mobile, tablet, computer, or any other device). Reach includes both paid reach (from ads) and non-paid reach (organic and viral reach). Reach only counts the number of unique users – each person, no matter how often he or she saw a piece of content, is counted only once.

On the other hand, the number of views represents how many times each piece of content was actually seen. That’s the main difference between reach and views – the total number of views includes every single time a piece of content was viewed. It doesn’t matter if a single person has seen it 1 time, 3 times or 12 times. Each time they saw it counts as a view.

Another metric is impressions. Impressions represent the number of Page views from both Facebook users (users who are logged in) and users who are not logged in or don’t have a Facebook account at all.

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Types of reach

Organic reach – the number of Page and post views published by a Page without any paid (promotional) activities.

Paid reach – the number of Page and post views published by a Page which are a result of a paid activities (ads).

Viral reach – the number of Page and post views published by a Page which are a result of other user activities (e.g. sharing). Information about viral reach is available only within the Sotrender tool; you won’t find this metric in Facebook Insights, for example.

You get viral reach when a post receives thousands of likes, comments, and (typically) shares on Facebook. Or, to put it simply, when Facebook users engage with it a lot.

A piece of content which has gone viral (as you say it), could have gained results as seen below:

viral reach on Facebook

Example of viral reach on Facebook

Total reach refers to either a Page or to a single post.

  • Page total reach – the number of unique users who have seen any content published by a Page during a selected time period, regardless of the place where he/she saw it.
  • Post total reach – the number of unique users who have seen a post.

Total reach (for a Page or for a single post) includes both paid and organic reach.

Information about total reach is available only for selected periods: 7 days, 14 days, 21 days, and 28 days (max. 1 month). For other periods, the given reach will always refer to average daily reach. That is because it’s not possible to know the exact amount of total reach for periods longer than one month, e.g. for a quarter or for a year.

It’s also important to know that reach includes dark posts – content which functions like an ad but is not available from the Facebook Page as a standard post.  

Still, for many marketers the total number of fans is thought to be equal to the amount of reach a published post gains. Unfortunately, with all the current changes being made within Facebook, this assumption is completely wrong. That’s because posts will never be seen by all of a Page’s fans. That’s why the number of fans is currently very weakly connected to the actual reach your posts have.

How are unique users measured?

Let’s go back to reach and unique users for a moment. How are they measured? Let’s take a look through two examples:

  1. A Facebook user sees a post 2 times during 1 week – on Monday and on Friday. He will be counted towards the average daily reach for Monday and the average daily reach for Friday. But in the total reach for the whole week he will be counted only once.
  2. A similar situation arises when a Facebook user sees a post organically (without paid promotion) and then sees the same post but as an ad. He will be counted as a unique user once in organic reach and once in paid reach. But in total reach he will be also be counted only once.

That’s why, unique users taken into consideration, it is not possible to sum up, for example, organic and paid reach to get total reach. You also cannot sum daily reach to get weekly reach or multiply daily reach, e.g. by a number of days in a month, to get total monthly reach.

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Explanation of all the metrics and definitions we use in our reports and the Sotrender tool can be found in our glossary.