Never Trust Facebook’s “Reach” Numbers

Awhile back I was banned from Facebook ads and since then have had to rely strictly on organic reach. Not all bad. If Facebook doesn’t want money, Facebook doesn’t have to have money. But I digress. Facebook has been notorious for telling fan page admins to promote posts to get more attention. Or, an alter in Facebook Insights stating “hey this post is getting a lot attention so why not promote it”.

Nothing wrong with promotion a post, or a page for that matter.

However, small businesses typically don’t have ad budgets for Facebook post promotion just to reach fans who already ‘liked’ their page. Heck, most small businesses don’t have an ad budget at all. Nonetheless, Facebook’s fan page is not entirely a free service nor should the statistics be ultimately trusted. Why? Because there is a lot of improvement needed before Facebook Insights become a webmaster’s staple, like Google Analytics.

This example is taken directly from a page we admin.


Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a picture based fan page post. That is until you look at the number of “likes” received and the number of people “reached”.


I’m no math wizard but since 6 people ‘liked’ the picture the reach should at least be 6? Not half that? Also, it should be noted that the “likes” received were not from pages, adminned by us or others, and all seemed to be unique personal profiles.

It also makes sense that the number of people “reached” should be greater than the number of “likes” unless the level of engagement is equal to the number reached.

Example: 15 people reached and 15 people liked. A 1:1 ratio for reached and engagement on a post would great but its the unlikely case.

Using Facebook Insights, available to page admins, shows different numbers as well. Click the below image to enlarge.


So, let me get this straight. Facebook says the reach was 79 when the posted (as viewed on page) shows 6? What is going on with Facebook Insights? Is there a problem with reporting, collecting data, and the data’s visual representation?

Great work Facebook. But what can be expected from a free service.

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