Why Our Obsession with Facebook Page Post Reach is All Wrong

Facebook Post Reach Obsession

Facebook marketers are a demanding bunch. That’s fine, unless we’re unreasonable.

In the case of micromanaging the Reach of individual posts, we are being completely and insanely unreasonable.

Part of this is Facebook’s fault. Part of it is due to an old thinking hangover while more advanced strategies have evolved. And some of it is due to pure ignorance.

If you can’t tell, I’m beyond annoyed by the Reach topic. I was annoyed more than a year ago when it was the reason of the day to revolt against Facebook. And I’m well past exhausted these days.

Reach is only one small, peripheral metric that means very little in the grand scheme of things. And the way most of us are using it is completely wrong.

How We Are Using Reach Now

Facebook Post Reach

Ask the typical Facebook marketer what metrics they follow, and they’re bound to mention Reach near the top of the list.

Why? It’s displayed on every post. You don’t need to go into Insights to see it. You don’t need to download an export. And you see it in real time.

We can’t ignore it. We’re obsessed with Reach to the point that it paralyzes and manipulates us.

So currently, the discussion around Reach is always about how “I only got X Reach on this post” or “I usually reach X% of my Fans.”

We micromanage the hell out of it. And whenever that number dips, we freak.

How We’re Being Unreasonable

So many reasons. Where to start?

First of all, we need to understand how Facebook works. The typical user could get 1,500 stories in a given day, but Facebook only shows 300. So that would be the 300 stories from the friends and brands that a user interacts with most.

Based on my recent experiment, I saw 106 organic brand stories in a 24-hour period. That’s a lot. And they came from 38 brands. They became preferred because I interact with them in some way.

You’ve gotta be good to break into that 300. You’ve gotta be real good. And since the user base is constantly growing (now at 1.19 Billion) and more active than ever, competition increases on a daily basis. Oh, and did I mention more brands are jumping in on a daily basis as well as advertising more?

Facebook needs the News Feed to be a good user experience. And you can’t doubt that they’re doing something right given how insanely active it is. They’ve tested a filtered Feed vs. a non-filtered feed (countless iterations), and the current version results in the most engagement.

Live with it. That’s the way it works.

But beyond the filtering, you can’t reach everyone. You can’t reach close to everyone. Only about half of your Fans are online every day. And if you post once, you’re only going to reach the small percentage who were on during a two hour window or so.

You’re angry because you aren’t reaching more than 5% of your Fans? Or 10%? Or sometimes more?

Do you know what percentage of followers you reach on Twitter with a single tweet?

But we also wrongly assume that the Page Like means that a user wants to see everything we post. This is complete bull.

I like a few hundred Pages. Mainly because I like a musician or movie or TV show or product. I couldn’t care less if I ever saw a post from them.

And that’s the way the typical user feels. Not the marketing user like you and me. The typical user.

We’re unreasonable because we assume everyone wants to see our stuff. And they want to see every post by every brand they’ve liked. And apparently, they even want to see every post they missed when they weren’t online.

We seem to expect that every post we publish will be gift wrapped and hand delivered to each of our Fans. Handle with care…

Why This is Facebook’s Fault

This is Facebook’s fault because Reach is a metric in the first place. They don’t have to make it so obvious how many users we reach with each post. They don’t have to make that data available at all. But they do.

Not only do they make it a metric, they make it THE metric. You can’t avoid it.

Beyond showing it on each post, it’s everywhere in the web Insights. It’s here…

Facebook Post Reach

And here…

Facebook Post Reach

And here…

Facebook Post Reach

And here…

Facebook Post Reach

And here…

Facebook Post Reach

And here…

Facebook Post Reach

Facebook convinces you it’s important by making it the focus of nearly every chart and graph. And this doesn’t even mention the dozens of times Reach is mentioned in the export files.

It’s a risk on their part. While it can be motivation for advertising, it’s also the source of an awful lot of confusion, outrage and unreasonable expectations.

Twitter doesn’t even make this data available. I don’t know of any social network that does. But since we know our Reach on Facebook, we scrutinize the hell out of it.

If you didn’t know your Reach, you would — I hope — focus on the metrics that actually matter. The metrics that lead to your business goals. The metrics like post shares, link clicks and conversions.

Instead, we’re stuck in this endless loop of Reach fury.

Reach Doesn’t Equal Revenue

Reach means very little because it is rarely a good indicator of success.

If you’re an advanced Facebook marketer (and I know you are!), you measure things like traffic to your website, leads and purchases that came as a result of your efforts on Facebook.

If you follow your metrics closely (and I know you do!), you know that a high Reach doesn’t guarantee these things.

If Facebook shows your posts organically to those who care most about your content, it should result in high efficiency. It cuts out those who otherwise ignore you.

Here’s an example of when Reach matters very little…

On Cyber Monday, I created a Facebook Offer. I spent $200 to reach about 9,000 Fans, resulting in nearly $2,000 in direct revenue. I also spent $30 to reach more than 85,000 non-Fans, resulting in not a single sale.

If I put my head down when you complain to me about Reach, this is why. I’m tired of hearing about it. Show me that you’re beyond Reach. If actions that lead to your business goals are down, that’s something to be concerned about.


The Shift: How We Should Be Using Reach

Now, I do see some value in Reach. But the way we currently use it is all wrong. And the reason for this is a shift in the typical content publishing strategy.

We focus on Reach on a post-by-post basis because “back in the old days” we were told not to post more than once per day. Sometimes, only a couple of times per week.

So the Reach of that one post mattered. We put all of our eggs into that one basket.

But we don’t do it that way anymore. We know that if we post multiple times in a day — as long as we do it strategically — we can see huge benefits. I often see 15 posts or more per day from some news Pages.

When you post multiple times per day, your post Reach really doesn’t matter anymore. Your goal is to reach as many relevant people as possible in that day — or even week.

I gave this example in a recent post I wrote, but let’s revisit. On November 14, I shared five different times:

  • 8:15am (2,385 Organic Reach)
  • 12:30pm (2,143)
  • 4:50pm (3,006)
  • 8:50pm (5,742)
  • 11:25pm (2,334)

The individual post Reach wasn’t very good for three of these posts in particular. For one, I reached a number that was only 8.6% of my total Fan base.

But if I look at my Daily Organic Reach (found in the Page Level Export), I actually reached 6,709 people that day. This number was 26.8% of my total Fan base.

That week, I reached 17,468 people organically. This number was 70% of my total Fan base.

You see where I’m heading here? If we stop micro-managing our Reach on a post-by-post basis, we might actually see that we reach far more people than we originally thought. It just might be over a day or week.

If you’re realistic about user activity and how often your Fans actually want to hear from you, doesn’t it make a whole lot more sense to be looking at these numbers in this way?

When you report your results to the CEO, do you think that he/she cares what your Reach was for an individual post? Or is the bigger picture that you reached X number of people in a day or a week more important?

I know how I feel. But I know this takes a major shift in expectations to convince many to join me.

How about you?

Don’t Follow the Mob

The raging mob will tell you it’s time to revolt. I stress caution.

Look at your numbers. Look well beyond Reach. Commit to fully understanding the Facebook ecosystem and what an effective strategy looks like.

I’m passionate about this because I consistently see results. I have clients who consistently see results. And there are countless others who do, too.

The truth is that a successful revolt may be good for Facebook. It’s certainly good for the marketers who stick around. Remember that competition that kept you out of the News Feed? It just got a little less competitive.

So, I’m not appealing to the mob. They will continue to be unreasonable. They are obsessed with stats that don’t matter. They don’t want to put in the hard work, and they want to point the finger when their efforts aren’t working.

But that’s not you. And I want to be sure you trust your instincts on this.

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  • http://www.jacobcurtis.co/ Jacob Curtis

    Jon, really great point here about Facebook making Reach THE metric. I agree it’s prominently displayed everywhere you go and that doesn’t only emphasize it’s pseudo-importance for the Facebook marketer, but also the client who see’s THE metric decreasing, hears the sky is falling and follows the “mob.”

    There’s a reason you don’t see your Ex’s Facebook posts in your feed anymore even if you’re still friends. It’s because you don’t interact with them at all and there’s plenty of other “relevant to you” updates that Facebook knows you want to see. Why? Because Facebook needs you to keep logging in!

    You’re on point for measuring metrics like website traffic, leads and purchases that came as a result of your efforts on Facebook and I’m stoked you addressed and will continue to address this topic!

    Thanks for all you do Jon!

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks, Jacob!

  • Vincent Vizachero

    Jon, as usual you are right on!

    If anything, Reach is an effect of a bad strategy rather than the cause of bad results. If the reach of a post or a page is low, it is BECAUSE of something the admin is doing (or has done) wrong.

    The content is boring. They bought “fans” who don’t care about them. They aren’t posting enough. They aren’t engaging. Something.

    Thinking about Reach as the effect puts the onus back on the Admin to make use of the things they can control (their content) rather than flail against something they can’t control (the EdgeRank algorithm).

    • Bo


      No one is denying that pages that post crappy content will have less reach.

      What I’m saying is that two weeks ago my page of 200,000 was getting 40,000-70,000 reach per post.

      After FB slashed reach our posts get 10,000-15,000 reach. Nothing changed on our end. We’ve been posting high quality, interesting content for years with a loyal and engaged base.

      Less reach = less likes, less comments and less clicks. It’s a symbiotic relationship. The more likes, comments and clicks a post gets the higher its reach.

      To believe that FB merely refined the reach algorithm to make it more targeted is wishful thinking. The evidence points to the contrary: pages with strong reach are wounded badly by this recent slash.

      • Vincent Vizachero

        Pages with strong reach but poor engagement were SUPPOSED to be wounded by the change.

        • Bo

          We had both strong engagement and strong reach. The average 500+ likes on posts are now 100-200 for the same high level quality content. 100 comments on posts are now 30. We also track clicks via live google analytics in real time. Also way down.

          I’m not sure what your point is. Our FB and business that has spent years building compelling and news worthy content, very strong engagement, likes, comments and reach took a huge hit last week when FB slashed reach.

          We make $10,000-15,000 a month from Adsense alone. Our engagement is higher than other FB with similar stats.

          This change by Facebook will cost us thousands of dollars a month. So, yeah, we are rightly pissed off.

          But Jon says not to worry because reach doesn’t matter. And others like yourself incorrectly put the blame on highly engaged and successful FB pages instead of FB.

  • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

    Brilliant argument Jon. Here’s another side of the coin: there are businesses (and thus marketers) that are less concerned about conversion metrics and more concerned about Reach because Reach is indeed the metric that matters to them currently. I’m making a case for those who saw and looked to Facebook as a way to generate brand awareness at a low cost per exposure (well 0 cost). Now that organic reach is reduced, isn’t this playing field no longer as level, especially for new brands and companies who have just adopted the platform and currently lack the exposure before they can even talk about sales?

    • Vincent Vizachero

      There are two things such businesses (and thus marketers) need to learn:

      1) “Brand awareness” has NEVER been a valid primary metric. It is a means to an end, and that end is always an action (e.g. a sale, a donation, a changed behavior)
      2) Social media have ALWAYS been and will ALWAYS be terrible channels for building raw “brand awareness”. Social media is about interaction: if your brands don’t care about interaction, they shouldn’t use social media. They should buy billboards or TV ads.

      • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

        Thank you Vincent. I don’t doubt that “brand awareness” is a weak primary metric. Indeed, there’s no value on reach, at least not short-term financial value. Reach defines the number of people that can enter your funnel; those you don’t reach NEVER enter your funnel, at least not your social media conversion funnel. Arguably, does that translate into a possibly lower number of people taking your desired action? This train of thought builds on a crucial assumption – given a relatively fixed success/conversion rate, the increase in reach, the increase in number of actions taken. Of course, instead of worrying about the increase in reach, we should work on optimising the conversion rate, which will increase the number of actions taken as well. But that shouldn’t detract from the former either; we want the best of both worlds, right?

        But Jon is spot-on that we don’t have to be excessively worried about the lower reach. I just wonder whether this is a sign of worse things to come – even LOWER reach or pay-to-post.

        By the way, I would also like to take the idea of social media interaction further. Would you include actions taken like post clicks, photo views, but not likes, comments, and shares as interaction? i.e. “invisible” interaction. Would love to hear your thoughts.

        • Vincent Vizachero

          IMO, the most valuable interaction is a link click: the fan has been intrigued enough by my content to leave a platform I don’t own (Facebook) and meet me on a platform I DO own (my website, my blog, my web store, etc.). That is the very definition of a fan moving themselves into my sale funnel.

          Likes, comments, and shares are – as you note -still valuable since those too are demonstrations by the customer that they are not only AWARE of my brand but are engaged with and are considering it. Still down the funnel, but not as far. And valuable because these are visible (if I use ads strategically) to friends of the engaged customer and act as social proof of my brand’s value

          Things like post click and photo views are least valuable in my mind but still valuable, precisely because they get me another shot at the customer. These invisible clicks tell Facebook that the customer wants to see more of my content, so my next post which – with better content, maybe – may convert into a sale or at least a shareable action without costing me anything.

          Fans who never even make invisible clicks are, IMO, basically worthless. I’d LIKE to keep reaching these people if possible but they really don’t have enough value to occupy my day. That sounds harsh, but whether you are selling widgets or changing the world, at the end of the day you need action not eyeballs.

          • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

            Thanks Vincent. I think you drove your point across quite well, and the essence is furthered by Jon’s reply below. Thank you both for the clarification.

        • http://blog.abstractedge.com Scott Paley

          Jumping in 3 months later! I’m not sure I agree that reach defines the # of people entering your funnel. It’s more like the number of people who drove by your store and saw your sign out front. They may have no interest or need for what you’re selling whatsoever. Certainly they’re not in your funnel. But, if they actually click on your post… that’s a different story entirely. And I think that’s Jon’s primary point with this blog post.

          • Alex

            Interesting. Awareness is actually important when you look at a purchase funnel, not because it necessarily is an indicator of sales, but helps demonstrate the effectiveness of the content or ads you are producing. If you have high awareness and low sales, it’s time to look at your content. So I’d argue that awareness is extremely important to measure because it gives other “more important” metrics like engagement and link clicks context.

            This is also why it’s important to measure on a post-level.

            From my experience, decreased reach HAS decreased engagement on several posts (not all) which does lead to the collective freakout about Facebook’s changes.

            One last thing – please keep in mind that every brand/company page on Facebook has different goals. Telling people that they should be measuring engagement or link clicks is like blindly saying that everyone needs more fiber in their diet. You don’t know what a brand’s goal is on Facebook, nor what their strategy to achieve that goal is – so to claim, without knowing tactics or business objectives, which metrics to emphasize is not the right way to go about things.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Measuring awareness isn’t a terrible thing. But Reach is the wrong way about it. Facebook isn’t a bulletin board.

      If someone clicked on anything on your post, you know you reached them. You know they are aware of you. Use that.

  • Mark

    Jon, let me ask you something: Do you remember that when Facebook pages launched, you used to be able to “reach” the users who liked a specific object (I think that’s the terminology) specifically?

    In other words: this blog post. Let’s say 20 people like it. Do you remember that at the beginning of all of this, there were “admin pages” (I think that was the name) where you could log-in and it was like a separate mini-page for just those 20 people. And you could reach out to them (status update, etc) specifically? I never see this discussed and people rarely used it at the time but it definitely existed.

    My point is that the reason it existed is marketers were told that if they put time/money into building a fan base, you could then reach/market to those fans for free. Now, users were not always clearly told “if you hit “Like”, you are opting in” so that was a mixed message. But marketers were clearly told – and the admin pages are proof – that “If you build it, they will come, and you can reach them”.

    So at the end of the day, whatever the problems are with over-crowding in the newsfeed, etc, the bottom line is Facebook marketers were sold a bill of goods / bait-and-switched and are now having to pay twice for what they were originally told they’d have to pay for once.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Then stop using Facebook, Mark. Things change. What you describe was removed, for whatever reason — and I imagine one was bad user experience and an abuse by brands.

      • Dibs

        Except, the point he’s making is that he paid for something he was promised, which was initially delivered, and which has now been removed. If I buy an ad service which promises me (explicitly or implicitly) a service, they have a duty to provide it, not just say one day, oh, well, times change, the money you spent went down the drain, but tough. That’s basic contract law. A class action lawsuit is highly probable, I suspect. You keep forgetting the key point: a service was paid for. Money changed hands. It wasn’t a freebie… Can’t make it clearer than that…

      • Mark Landau

        That’s not the answer, Jon, nor is it realistic in today’s marketplace (nor did that happen – it was built for brands who didn’t know of its existence mainly). The answer to someone pulling a bait-and-switch on you is not simply ignoring the wrongdoing.

      • Nolan Holladay

        I don’t understand this mentality I’m seeing of “We were sold a bill of goods”…
        At what point in time was there pen and paper handed out to everyone joining FB specifically with the intention of marketing where you signed a contract on a dotted line where FB said “…for XYZ period that the contract remains valid under the following conditions, we will endeavor to always uphold these initial conditions we’ve set out in this agreement and will not ever deviate from this agreement” !???

        Did I miss that meeting somewhere along the lines? This is a SOCIAL media platform – just like all the others out there, it just happens to be the most widely used one.
        For all intents and purposes, FB could have just as easily denied ALL forms of advertising and kept it completely 100% user based – but they saw the value in allowing marketing and paid ads etc. and so opened up those doors – and any business related decisions they make that affects marketing on their platform will always have to come second to decisions that affect what makes FB the #1 SM platform.. the USER BASE.

        HOW they decide to conduct their business is THEIR business – it’s up to us to ride those waves, do our best to predict which way they’re changing, build systems that are robust enough to ride out the ups and downs as they change, and come up with contingencies and alternative strategies when our initial plans take a hit from whatever changes FB or any other social media platform decides to make.

        Google does the same thing. At the end of the day, what IS it you THINK that FB is doing? Are they out to “GET” their bread and butter income generators?
        Do people really think that FB staff have nothing better to do than to sit around strategizing new ways to frustrate, infuriate, and piss off their marketing clientele? Doesn’t make sound business sense to me.

        That said – I’m with Jon on this one where there’s SO much focus on Reach – fair enough that people are saying engagement is down, comments and likes are down etc. etc. – but where’s the PROOF those are a direct correlation to REACH?
        For all intents and purposes, it could actually be the opposite – that whatever’s caused engagement to go down, reduced comments and likes on posts etc. – has had the flow-on effect of THEN producing reduced reach.

        Sure it’s not necessarily logical sounding, but Reach IS a direct correlation of the # of people engaging with activities. I know my reach looks crap until the # of likes and shares start to go up, THEN I see my reach increase.

        Crowd/ Mob mentality will never cease to amaze me how easily they’re willing to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

  • John

    Sorry, but you’re missing a huge point. Since the December change, people who had 20k page likes, such as my site, would regularly get 100 likes on the story in the space of half an hour — could be 1k in two hours. Now, it’s down to 10 if you’re lucky in the first half hour and 100 in a couple of hours. How do you answer that? I and many others paid thousands to increase page likes which are now worthless, almost.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      John — This is never the argument. That is my main point here. If your engagement is down — if anything that leads to a business goal is down — complain about that. Reach itself is unpredictable, buggy and provides very little value by itself.

      • http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com SoccerLimey

        Correct me if I’m wrong but Facebook doesn’t even regard Likes and Shares as “Engagement” any more does it? Interaction and Reach is driven by Comment Frequency…or no?

        • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

          An Engaged User, by Facebook’s definition, is anyone who clicks on something that results in a story or generates a story that wasn’t the result of a click.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jensmithsocial Jen Smith

    Completely agree with this Jon. I ended a campaign in Nov for a client that only reached 2000ish fans using custom audiences but got several conversions. Targeted reach of 200k with a dark post using precise interests and got zero conversions. Conversions/product sold is what my client cares about. However, if you back out the numbers, you do need reach to get conversions so it matters some just not as much as everyone suspects.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Sure, Reach — reaching the people who care most — matters. But it’s not a performance indicator. For example, I want to reach more of the people who care about my content. That’s why I promote posts to, in particular, reach fans who weren’t online when I originally shared it.

  • Scott

    Sounds like all of the wailing and moaning I hear in other forums about the ever-changing Google algorithm. “Google is short-changing small brands.” “Google ads are pushing down (my) real sites in the search results.” “My AdSense income is dropping and I built my whole life around that money.”

    Everything changes…including our own approach to marketing our own brands. I started off promising free products (we sell teaching downloads) only to my newsletter subscribers as an incentive to sign up. Then I began learning more about Facebook marketing and began running what has become a very successful Like Gate for new fans with a free download. Hm. That went against the promise I had made to all of those newsletter subscribers. But I wanted to keep doing it, and even give some free stuff to my FB fans once in a while to thank them.

    What did I do? I changed the newsletter sign up promotion wording. Now the get the “best” freebies, but not the “only” ones. Life went on.

    Brands adapt and change all the time, including ours. Including Google. Including Facebook. A strong online business is like a strong investment portfolio: diversified among income sources. And it’s resilient. What would you say to a small brick-and-mortar business owner who complained about losing his business because they closed the freeway off-ramp that funneled free customers to his gas station all day long? You’d say “tough…that’s the breaks…you were lucky for years and your luck ran out…the taxpayer doesn’t owe you a stream of free customers.” And then you’d say “you’re an expert in selling gas…move to another location and sell gas.”

    Thanks Jon for a timely post.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Excellent points here, Scott!

  • Peter Freeman

    So many gold nuggets, but this is by far my favorite.

    “If you didn’t know your Reach, you would — I hope — focus on the metrics
    that actually matter. The metrics that lead to your business goals. The
    metrics like post shares, link clicks and conversions.”

    Why do people forget that online business is still business?

    There is no such thing as a free ride. There are short term opportunities that you can take advantage of to convert new fans quickly before the tactics/platforms become mainstream and heavily adopted. After that, traditional (hard work) business principles normalise everyone and all the short term, free ride seekers fade away.

    How ironic that the fundamental business principles of building a tribe of enthusiastic, raving fans and providing amazing experiences for them always wins over short term, selfish marketing tactics.

    Thanks for your balanced, well-considered insights, Jon.

    • Peter Freeman

      *apologies for the scrappy text.

      Should read….insert trend – new social platform, SEO tactics et al

      • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

        Thanks, Peter! You are completely right. There’s a great comparison of Facebook marketing to SEO. Those who are always looking for the shortcut instead of building quality content and a quality audience will get burned.

        I’m so glad I never became an SEO expert. This site is thriving, and I’m sure part of that is because I now get the referrals lost by the scammers.

        Facebook’s the same way. If you look for shortcuts or focus on things that don’t matter in the long run, you’ll get burned when those things get pulled out from under you.

  • TechFace

    I think you are missing one key point here: Adsense. I work with a FB page with almost 200,000 likes, many of whom are very interested and traditionally engaged with our page and site. If reach goes down that means significant Adsense revenue lost, especially when the site is making over 10k a month from Adsense alone. We’ve built an email list of 85,000 and have diversified in other ways, but undoubtedly a decrease in reach translates to a loss of several thousand dollars a month from Adsense (and other things we sell on the site.)

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      This is not always true, Scott. Before you assume a drop in reach resulted in a drop in link clicks, check your stats.

      That’s my biggest complaint here. Probably 99% of the time when people complain about Reach, that’s the only metric I hear with no mention of anything else. Facebook is showing your content organically to those most likely to engage with it. If successful, a drop in Reach may make little impact — possibly no impact.

      If you want clicks to your site, I’d also recommend promoting posts to your Fans as well as running a Domain Sponsored Story. I spend about $10 per day on this.

      • Bo

        Jon, I must ask: Do you work for Facebook PR?

        They’ve slashed reach. I’ve seen the back end of several FB pages with 50k-200k+ likes and they’ve been hit hard. Everything is down: post likes, post comments, clicks, shares…etc. Its a fact. Claiming that FB slashing reach should technically have no impact on performance is ludicrous. The only people trying to sell this as a good or neutral thing are FB and yourself.

        • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

          Hah. No. All I’m asking is that if you want to report something is wrong, tell me something beyond Reach is down. If you say it is, fine. But that’s not the common line.

          • Mark Landau

            Jon is the best blogger out there, by far, on Facebook marketing. But he’s also a Facebook apologist. I don’t believe there’s ill intent – it’s actually what he believes. But he’s coming from a place where he’s writing about a topic that is just about the most “engaging” thing in this era – so he sees things through that lens (in my opinion).

            FWIW, I didn’t spend a fortune on building Likes (very little; although I did spend time and there’s a value in that) and I’ve always ensured my business was mainly through my own website and list. So the changes are actually good for me personally (hurts competitors more; I can afford to pay for ads). But those who did rely on Facebook’s promises were mightily ripped off.

            There’s no doubt that businesses are allowed to make changes, do what they think is best in their business judgment, etc. But in this case a bargain was stuck and a promise was made between Facebook and the businesses that built on it and it was premised on significant organic reach (no, not 100%, just like you don’t reach 100% on Twitter – can’t reach people not online). That promise was breached and people have a right to be angry about it.

          • Vincent Vizachero

            IMO, the bargain has always been that IF you produce high quality content THEN your fans will see it. The people complaining may think they are producing “high-quality engaging” content, but their fans are telling them otherwise. Facebook is just the messenger.

  • Emeric

    Another great post my friend! Nthing to add :-)
    I am preparing an article about the evolution of reach based on our Barometer data, will keep you posted!

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks, Emeric! And make sure you also talk about the evolution of other metrics!

  • Andrew

    Agree 100%
    This is the other side of our obsession with the no of page Fans. Not all fans are equal or relevant.
    We need a better metric that shows the activities – one that shows that they care. May be something like #post engagement / #fans. We tried this, and come up with a very scarely low number. After we have pick ourselves off the floor, we focus on content (post engagement UP) and did a lot more targeted fans campaign.

  • http://www.WindyCityParrot.com/ Mitch Rezman

    Allow me to add another dimension to Jon’s argument that reach is useless. The best way I can do this is by example. We have excellent engagement, growth and reach on our fan page. We sell pet supplies specializing in the exotic bird vertical. Thus our target audience is anyone who currently has or may acquire an exotic bird in the future.

    Having managed the page for four years I been able to create categories of my fans. Along with current and future bird owners 2- categories, we also have fans whose 1)birds have died 2) people who grew up with birds 3) people who just like looking at the pretty pictures of birds that we post 4) Raptor and wild bird enthusiasts. Four categories of highly targeted and engaged fans that will never become customers so any data coming from them has no value in terms of Facebook marketing ROI.

    You have to take your engagement/reach/fan base and assume at least in my case my best guess is only 30% of my fans MAY have the potential to be website conversions. Short of surveying 44,000 plus fans, reach has about as much value as used chewing gum for me.

  • Alex

    Finally a voice of logic in this madness lately! Why is everyone so obsessed with reach, instead of leads and conversions? Jesus. If reach falls, but conversion rises what’s the problem?

    A lot of people accuse Facebook, yet they are missing the point that it offers a lot of value for FREE and some extra value, very cheaply!

    Thanks Jon!

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      You’ve got it, Alex. It sounds like some people are also seeing a drop in these important metrics, but you wouldn’t know that without pressing them on the subject. Everyone’s focus is Reach. It’s easily the least dependable metric (just see the six month stretch when it was underreported — and people freaked then, too) and often has nothing to do with overall performance.

      All I want in all of this is for people to focus on what matters. Stop telling me your Reach is down. If other stuff is down — and if it’s down across the board for just about everyone — that’s something we should talk about. But Reach? Please…

  • myrstad

    Appreciate your great post Jon. I especially liked the constructive advice to focus on Daily and Weekly Organic Reach, on a Page aggregated level. I do wonder though, can paid posts “corrupt” the organic analytics, directly and indirectly, because more of the reach, engagement and traffic will be amplified by the paid posts?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Sure, but that’s the case whenever you focus on Organic — whether on post-by-post, daily, weekly or 28-days.

  • http://Whysosocial.pl/ Artur Roguski – Whysosocial.pl

    Hi, great post. But I have question to this part:

    ” I spent $200 to reach about 9,000 Fans, resulting in nearly $2,000 in
    direct revenue. I also spent $30 to reach more than 85,000 non-Fans,
    resulting in not a single sale.”

    What is the average buy in your shop? Because if it is something around 500 to 1000$ I wont be suprissed that you did not sell a thing for a 30$ ad spent ;-)

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      The product I promoted was $73.50.

  • Laurel Cole

    Hi Jon,
    Lets talk revenue I have seen my revenue drop over 50% in the last two weeks due to the Facebook changes. Really not sure what to do at this point. Facebook drives over 90% of the traffic to my blog. Notice I did not mention the R@#$h word!! Smile

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Okay, Laurel, now you’re talking!

      My first reaction is to take a closer look at your content. Facebook’s been threatening for a while to hold back memes and calls to action for like/comment. If that’s been leading to success, I’d reassess. Also find out what IS working right now, and learn from it.

      Second, I’d be concerned that 90% of your traffic was coming from Facebook. Gotta diversify! I’d recommend focusing first on your email list.

      Good luck!

  • http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com SoccerLimey

    It seems that your assumption is that each post during the course of a day does not duplicate any friends or followers. So for instance, you reached a total of 6,709 different fans in one day spread over a number of posts. If that isn’t the case, and we are duplicating fans, are we not killing the goose by posting so much?

    I’ll be frank. If I see 5-6 posts from a source with whom I have mild interest (the majority I would guess), I’m hitting the unlike button. Surely, the focus needs to be on finding out what aspect of your business is interesting to your Facebook market. Slapping up uninteresting post after uninteresting post seems to me to be self-defeating.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      No, that number is unique users. If you add up Reach of all posts, it’s greater.

      Most users are not on Facebook all day. Many of the users will not see multiple posts. If they unlike, that’s fine.

      • Dave

        How do you know that number is unique users? Great post btw!

        • Simon Stebbing

          The description of “Daily Organic Reach” in the page export indicates ‘unique users’, Dave.

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  • EtienneJ

    Great post Jon, thanks. On the mark as usual.

  • John

    Reach isn’t important…seriously? Well, my 4 million weekly reach was making me a ton more than my 500,000 and still dropping reach. And is it because I am engaging my audience less? Of course! Because facebook is artificially limiting reach. It started the day after I ended my first ad campaign on March 12. Reach on all posts dropped precipitously. And with less reach, there was less engagement. I’m not talking about less reach due to poor content or less posts. I’m talking about less because the road upon which the message rides is ended before it reaches your audience. 1) You post a message with a link. 2) People are blocked from seeing it. 3) Your post has less reach. 4) Your engagement declines. At this point, it only makes sense to pay to promote a highly converting product or service on facebook. I had over 114,000 people on a page I grew 100% organically. I had over 200,000 people talking about this. That’s engagement. Now, I have 116,000 and just 31,800 talking about this. With the decreased reach, I have decreased traffic to my website and therefore decreased revenue. Your conclusion that reach is not important is absolutely wrong. Your claim that you can have increased engagement without increased reach is illogical.

  • Guest

    Speaking strictly as a FB personal user- FB reach IS EVERYTHING. You know me- the actual FB PRODUCT. (and their STAR demographic to boot)
    Well, I can’t interact with a brand if I do not receive their posts. PERIOD. Anything else is just excuses.

    If I had time to personally go check their page to see IF they posted, then I would NOT have liked the page to begin with.

  • http://www.abcargent.com Nicolas

    Hi Jon,
    I was checking your blog post, looking for the reason why my FB reach is not that big.
    You sovled most of my questions – mainly, I will start looking at “organic reach per day and per week” from now on.
    Just one question I have left: I usually post a lot about my brand, mainly new posts or old posts to my website (links). Can Facebook penalize a Page that is talking “too much· about itself? I’m a blogger, so should I also speak about other blogs in my domain? Or it doesn’t make sense? (at least from a Facebook reach point of view)

    • http://www.abcargent.com Nicolas

      Hi Jon
      Any news?