Facebook is the world’s biggest social network. As of the third quarter of 2018, it has 2.27 billion monthly active users. To put this in perspective, that’s about a third of the world’s total population. With such a huge audience, Facebook is the ideal online platform for the connected world.
There are a lot of ways to get in touch with people on Facebook, whether you’re an individual, an organization, or a business. However, as Facebook has grown, it has also negatively changed the effectiveness of users’ ability to “reach” other users.
Here is the truth about Facebook reach and how it affects you.
What Is Facebook Reach?
According to the official Facebook resources, reach is defined as “the number of people who had any content from your Page or about your Page enter their screen.” Facebook clearly uses reach as a metric for pages. However, the concept of reach also applies similarly to posts from accounts, as well as advertisements.
Simply put, reach is a measure of how many people see a certain Facebook post. In the case of overall page reach, it is the number of people that have seen any content from your Facebook page.
One could argue that, at present, Facebook is more of an advertising company than a social media company. All of its official resources talk about reach from the perspective of a Facebook page, rather than a personal account. The classification of post reach into organic and paid is exclusively for pages too.
Organic reach is the natural reach of the page, according to Facebook’s algorithm. However, you can boost the reach of your page post by paying Facebook. The boost in the reach of a post gained this way is called paid reach. Paid reach has been prioritized by Facebook for a long time.
If you are someone who would like your Facebook feed to be free of promotions, check out our article about why a paid version of Facebook could be the better alternative.
The News Feed and Personal Post Reach
Facebook is constantly changing your home screen feed, also known as the News Feed. A lot of factors affect this change, especially your preferences.
For every friend you have on Facebook, you have the option to change the visibility of their posts from the normal algorithm based appearance, to “see first,” or to unfollow their posts entirely. Similarly, Facebook will let you pick the setting for every page you have liked.
Basically, Facebook will take your preferences into account, and display posts in your feed according to what you have selected to see first, and the rest according to its algorithm. Just like Facebook alters the news feed for you, it also alters the reach of your personal and page posts.
Every personal post you make will not reach all your friends in the same manner. Similarly, every post you make from a page will not reach all of the fans either.
A regular Facebook user who posts only personal posts will not get the exact numbers and other relevant data about their reach, however. Facebook has reserved data tools like post insights strictly for page posts.
The Current State of Facebook Reach
Facebook being bigger than ever now means that organic reach has taken a hit. Advertising space on the social network has a lot of value these days. As you may already be aware, Facebook has been prioritizing advertisements over user content for a while now.
However, the social media giant made a big change to the news feed in 2018, which is good for users, but not so good for brands and businesses.
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According to Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, this new change focuses on making the news feed about “meaningful social interactions.” The new update prioritizes content from pages based on a few key factors. These include link sharing over Messenger, and repeated interaction on posts.
This means that Facebook is trying to backtrack on its prioritization of advertisements, paid content, and page posts. It will not prioritize page posts unless it knows you’re really interested. With this update, your news feed is now more focused on posts from your friends, and groups you’re a part of. Or at least that’s the promise.
This is obviously great for your personal post reach, as the status updates, pictures, and check-ins you share on your Facebook account are more likely to be seen by your friends. However, for Facebook pages, this is a bad news, as page posts are taking a back seat.
Facebook Reach for Businesses
As of now, Facebook is giving top priority to personal posts, followed by paid posts. Any Facebook page that isn’t paying money to boost its reach, will find its posts mostly missed by its audience.
One particular comment by a social media manager left on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook post announcing the latest change, sums up the frustration of brands and businesses with their declining Facebook reach.
Brands and businesses now have to make their content more interactive and user-friendly than ever. That seems to be the only way they can get a space in more and more users’ news feeds. With a few adjustments to the way content is delivered, brands and businesses should be able to improve their reach.
If you’re new to the concept of Facebook pages and groups, and trying to decide between the two, check out our article pitching Facebook Pages vs. Facebook Groups.
The Future of Facebook Reach
Facebook has been involved in a lot of controversies in recent times. So user trust is low right now. Given that fact, this change to the news feed model is one of the things the company has done right; for everyone except brands. However, as far as normal users are concerned, it’s perhaps the best change Facebook has made to reach in a long time.
Moving on, we are bound to see more changes to Facebook reach. Looking at Facebook’s current strategy, it seems like the social network’s next move could be to let users precisely tailor their own feeds, or maybe even give them the option to have multiple customizable versions of news feed per user.
For now, you can share status updates and pictures on Facebook, and expect more of your friends to see them. In the meantime, if Facebook’s stance on privacy is a concern for you, you might want to check out our handy guide explaining how to view and delete your location history on Facebook.
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