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What might impact the reach of a Facebook promoted post?

We were recently asked this question by a client, and thought we’d share our response as more organisations are integrating paid social advertising into their marketing strategies.

Facebook defines reach as ‘the number of people who have seen your post in the first 28 days after a post’s publication (on both desktop and mobile).’ What defines a user having ‘seen’ the post changed last year. Facebook used to count a post as being ‘seen’ by a user if it was loaded in their feed. Now, a user has to scroll to/over the post on their feed for a ‘reach’ to be counted.

Facebook defines Reach in 4 different ways:

• Organic – Number of unique people who saw your post in their feed, ticker or on your Page.
• Paid – Number of unique people who saw your post in an ad or as a promoted post.
• Viral – Number of unique people who saw your post in a story from a friend.
• Total – Number of unique people who saw your post.

EdgeRank is the algorithm Facebook users to filter all posts in and out of every user’s feed and therefore determines Reach. It looks at the following:

  1. Users’ previous interaction with YOU
    The more someone engages with your brand, the more likely they will see your posts in future.
  2. Users’ previous interaction with the POST TYPE
    If users often engage with a certain type of post, they will be more likely to see that type of post in future.
  3. Reactions from users who’ve already seen your post
    The more people who’ve engaged with that post, the more likely more people will see that post.
  4. Amount of complaints or negative/no feedback
    As more users give negative feedback, the less likely you are to see that post.

If there are brands targeting the same audience group with a better score on the above, their posts will show ahead of yours and therefore reach could be decreased.


Here are some quick tips:

  • Keep it short
  • Be visual (pictures, photo albums and videos are great)
  • Ask questions
  • Post frequently
  • Be relevant but not pushy
  • Test timings with your audience

Essentially, Facebook recommends those looking to utilise Facebook as a marketing channel to focus on engagement levels as a marker of a successful campaign. We know that reach is driven by engagement – so content should be designed to be consumable and shareable.