Facebook recently implemented a change to the way organic reach is calculated within their reports. At first glance, it could produce some scary looking results. The company has said that organizations could see numbers drop by as much as 20%.
Even though a 20% drop in your reported organic reach might sound scary, the good news is that nothing is really changing other than the math behind the total. The actual number of people who see your posts and content won’t change.
Facebook explains the change as follows:
“Reach counts will now be based on viewable impressions. On Pages, we’ve historically defined reach as a person refreshing their News Feed and the post being placed in their feed…we’ve moved to a stricter definition that only counts reach once the post enters the person’s screen (‘viewable impressions’).”
If you think about it, it probably should have been like this all along. How could it make sense to count someone as “reached” if the content never even showed up on their screen? In reality, you were being told that quite a few people saw and ignored your content, when, in fact, they never saw it at all.
One of the main reasons this change to the reporting is being made is because the reach numbers for paid posts have always been reported this way. Calculating both statistics the same way allows for a more accurate comparison of the two.
What this all really means is that nothing actually changes other than the number on the report. Your content and posts will still show up in all the same places they were showing up before, and your engagement numbers should remain the same.
Why Organic Reach Isn’t So Important Anyway
Organic reach — or paid reach for that matter — is just a fancy phrase used to indicate the number of people who saw your content (or your ad). And, as you can see from this example, it’s easy to manipulate those numbers to get different results.
While you want to be aware of the exposure your content is getting, there are far more important numbers to keep an eye on. It doesn’t matter how many people see the posts you make on Facebook if they don’t generate any engagement. Engagement is what’s going to drive people to do things like go back and read your blog or sign up for your email list.
So in the end, no matter what your organic reach numbers look like after this new update, don’t lose sight of the fact that reactions, shares, comments and conversions are far more important. Those are the statistics you should be most focused on retaining and improving.