What Is Facebook Reach and How Is It Calculated in 2021?

What Is Facebook Reach and How Is It Calculated in 2021?

Understanding performance should be an integral part of any social media marketing strategy. And what better way to start than by brushing up on key metrics? 

Even though Facebook is the number one social network in terms of global monthly active users, and a key focus of many brands’ digital marketing efforts, some of the platform’s metrics are not exactly straightforward.

How do I calculate monthly reach?

Can I just add daily reach and get a nice sum for a longer period of time?

What’s the difference between average reach and total reach? 

If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, or you generally want to better understand Facebook reach and find out how it’s relevant to your social strategy, keep reading.

In this blog post, we will go over how Facebook defines the metric, how many different types of Facebook reach there are, and what social media marketers should do with all this information – especially now, right before Facebook Analytics tool is soon to be unavailable after June 30, 2021.1

It’s not that complicated, we promise!

Facebook Reach Analytics

Facebook Reach Analytics

In-depth Facebook Analytics. Track your performance and monitor competitors on Facebook. Try it for free:

Try NapoleonCat free for 14 days. No credit card required.

So, what does reach mean on Facebook?

Let’s start with the very basics: definitions.

According to Facebook, reach is the number of unique users who had any content from your Facebook Page or about your Page enter their screen.

So, in simple terms, it’s the count of Facebook users who came into contact with your brand on Facebook.

The definition alone seems straightforward. What makes matters a bit more complicated, is the fact that reach is calculated in 1-day, 7-day, and 28-day increments

For example:

  • If a user sees your content twice in one day and then twice the next day, and you choose to view reach in 1-day increments, the user will be counted once on day 1 and once on day 2;
  • If you choose to view 7-day or 28-day reach, the same user will only be counted once in the 7-day and 28-day periods, respectively, regardless of the number of times they see your type of content.

What does this mean?

The exact same performance in terms of reaching Facebook users can be represented in a few different ways, depending on the timespan you take into account. Keeping this in mind when analyzing your results will help you avoid misunderstandings. 

What are the different types of Facebook reach?

Understanding how Facebook reach is calculated is a good start, but it’s also important to know the differences between the different types of reach:

  • Post reach is the total number of people who saw a particular Facebook post from your Page in their Facebook news feed;
  • Page reach is how many people had any of your content enter their feed.

Both of these types of reach can be further divided into 3 categories:

Facebook organic reach

This is the reach that you get for free thanks to Facebook’s algorithm. It includes your fans seeing your content in their feed when you post it, people seeing your pictures and albums, or users who see mentions of your profile in their feed. 

You can boost your organic reach by finding out when your audience is the most active and working towards increasing your engagement.  

Facebook viral reach

Viral reach consists of the people who saw your content thanks to a third person, as opposed to directly through your Page.

So, for example, if one of your fans shares your post and their Facebook friends see it – they would be counted as viral reach. High viral reach is a sign that your community is highly engaged and willing to act as your ambassadors online.

This category is pretty self-explanatory and consists of all the users who saw your content through Facebook advertising (aka your target audience). 

You can increase your paid reach by optimizing your Facebook campaign settings: experimenting with targetting and bidding, creating new target audiences, and testing multiple creatives.

Facebook reach - NapoleonCat
NapoleonCat’s total reach analysis – by clicking on a graph, we can see exact data from a given day.

What does all this mean?

Theory is one thing – the way you apply it to benefit your strategy is another. Here are some key takeaways you should keep top of mind when analyzing your reach on Facebook.

You cannot sum up Facebook reach

Reach is a key metric that is based on the number of unique people exposed to your content.  It only makes sense when viewed in the context of the 1-, 7-, and 28-day timeframes defined by Facebook. 

For example, when analyzing reach in 7-day increments, a user may have seen your content 2 times in one week, and 2 times in the second week. In both cases, they should be counted as 1 user per week. However, you can’t add them up, since the sum will no longer convey unique users for any of the predefined timeframes.

Understand Facebook total reach

Another thing that should be mentioned is total reach. This is not, as some may believe, a sum (again, adding reach is a big no-no) of reach calculated in shorter increments. 

Total reach is another way to call the reach of a Page or an individual piece of content in a certain timeframe that includes the different types of reach: organic, paid, and viral. 

In-depth Facebook Analytics & Reports

In-depth Facebook Analytics & Reports

Analyze your results. Track your competitors and improve your Facebook marketing. Try NapoleonCat for free:

Try NapoleonCat free for 14 days. No credit card required.

Your number of Facebook fans does not equal your organic reach

Some social media marketers still believe that organic reach on Facebook is generally equal to the amount of fans you have. This is not the case. 

First of all, the Facebook algorithm decides who gets to see your post, and that’s not going to be your entire fan base. The actual reach depends on the type of content you post, the time you post it, and many other factors. 

Second, organic reach isn’t limited to your fans. It also includes events like mention views from users outside of your fanbase.

Facebook reach analytics tool

With NapoleonCat’s Analytics feature, you can analyze your own Facebook Pages, as well as your competitors. You can set a custom time period for your analysis, and you can have your data presented in a daily, weekly, or monthly breakdown.

Reach is one of the main metrics that you can analyze, and it will be broken down into:

Total reach – the number of people who were served any activity from your page including your posts, posts to your page by other people, page like ads, mentions, and check-ins. It’s broken down into nonviral, viral, paid, organic, and total.

What is Facebook reach - napoleoncat analytics
Total reach graph in NapoleonCat

Fans daily – the total number of page fans.

Facebook page fans graph – by clicking on the graph, you can see the exact number of fans for a given day.

Fans growth – the net number of page’s new fans.

Fans growth Facebook reach
Facebook Fans growth graph.

Active users – the number of people who react, commented, posted on the page, or mentioned it on their own walls. This number includes fans and non-fans.

Facebook reach - active users
Active Facebook users graph.

Page fans by country – the number of page fans from the top 10 countries.

Facebook reach - Page fans by country
Facebook reach – page fans by country. You can also have it presented in a table.

Page fans world map – the map shows all of the world’s countries where your fans come from. If you click on a map, it will show the exact number of fans in a given country.

Facebook reach - page fans worldmap napoleoncat
Facebook Page fans world map.

You can download these sets of data (graphs, tables) in an excel spreadsheet or a .png file. In addition to that, if you’re a fan of convenience, you can generate in-depth Facebook reports in a matter of seconds.

Here’s a video tutorial showing you how to generate a report in NapoleonCat, and how such a report looks like:

In-depth Facebook Analytics & Reports

In-depth Facebook Analytics & Reports

Analyze your Facebook Page and your competitors, too! Figure out what to post and when. Generate automatic reports within seconds. Try it for free:

Try NapoleonCat free for 14 days. No credit card required.

Moreover, with NapoleonCat, you can track Facebook reach analytics for any other Facebook Page, e.g., your competitors.

The future of Facebook reach

Since 2014, organic reach2 on Facebook has been steadily declining, mostly due to the platform’s growth and larger amounts of content that suddenly started appearing. 

The ad content space became more and more competitive with time, and Facebook made the practical decision to not show everyone everything there is to show. Instead, users would only see the content that Facebook’s algorithm deemed most relevant to them.

This, of course, meant that audiences of individual Pages and profiles would shrink, and the reach of organic posts would continue to decrease as well.

Even more changes came in 2018, when Facebook decided to overhaul the algorithms3 that dictated what was shown in users’ feeds. In January 2018, Mark Zuckerburg wrote a post4, explaining that the company was shifting its focus towards maintaining connections between people.

Sounds great, right? For business owners trying to get through to new audiences with their marketing, not so much.

One of the things that changed wasn’t reach as such but the way reach was calculated. Up until February 2018, the reach metric took into account how many times your content has been loaded in individual news feeds. As of today, Facebook calculates reach based on how many times a post enters a person’s screen. This is supposed to make the organic reach of Pages more consistent with the way Facebook measures reach for ads.

Wrap up

Facebook reach is a metric often used to assess the performance of businesses on the platform, however, it’s not as straightforward as vanity or post engagement metrics. Understanding reach is a crucial step to fully understanding the effectiveness of your Facebook marketing and refining your strategy. 

We hope our guide helped make things clearer. Let us know in the comments if there is anything else you would like to know about Facebook reach!


1. Facebook Analytics is Going Away

2. The Decline of Organic Facebook Reach & How to Adjust to the Algorithm

3. Facebook overhauls News Feed in favor of ‘meaningful social interactions’

4. Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Post