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Do you ever wonder how Facebook calculates how many people are reached on a piece you post? If 788 people were actually reached on a post of mine then why are there only 6 likes and 1 share? Does that even make sense? That 1 share may have been me sharing on my personal page. It just doesn’t add up.

When I googled the question I came up with this link. It’s not really the answer to my question, though it  is interesting to think about. Why does Facebook get to decide who and what I should see when I open my newsfeed? (If I didn’t want the information from others I would have never liked, friended, or followed!)

Take these scenarios for instance:

  • Facebook may leave off Aunt Mary’s fourth marriage to her second husband. Ack! That I need to know! Aunt Mary may wonder why she didn’t receive a 4th wedding gift from my family. I may be questioned from family members someday or run into the happy couple in the grocery store and I’ll be in the dark with my tongue tied around my waist! Duh…whaaat? You’re together again?!
  • So… my best long-distance friend was in a car accident, is in the hospital, and no one has contacted me. It’s plastered all over Facebook, but didn’t make it to my newsfeed.  😦  She was in ICU for three days, at deaths door and I had no clue until two weeks later! I would have rushed to her side. Sure hope she doesn’t think I don’t care!
  • The couple down the street just adopted twins from out of the country. I come into contact with them as I am out for my daily walk. “What cute babies! Who are you baby sitting for? Are they boys are girls?” Everyone on the block but me knew the answers. I didn’t even know they were thinking of adopting. Is my face red as I stutter when she explains it all? You bet!
  • I  see an acquaintance of mine in a restaurant in an intimate dinner situation with a man other than her husband. How was I supposed to know she had been divorced for two years? Facebook slipped up on sending out that announcement!

I must keep in touch better with my neighbors, family and friends and not rely on Facebook for details if this is going to be the way Facebook does business. NO, this didn’t happen to me. It could happen though if you think about it. I have no interest in seeing when someone I don’t know who is a friend of a friend has liked or commented on something. I seem to get that on my personal page a lot! What I do want to see is the content from pages I have liked, friends I have acquired, and family! And I want YOU to get my posts and information from my author Facebook page that you so graciously LIKED!

Actually my question was this: How does Facebook come up with the total of people who were reached with your post? If you hover over this box on your notifications it does say Organic Reach 788/Paid Reach 0 or whatever your own totals are. I am surely not going to pay for reaches! It’s a little misleading when you go to the actual post and right underneath the post in the left corner it says 788 people reached. This is what has led me to the question. This is on my author page and it never ceases to amaze me how many people were reached. I don’t have THAT MANY followers! Not yet anyway. 🙂 So where do they get that number? I googled again and came up with this link. Here is an excerpt:

Post and page reach both have three main subcategories: organic, viral and paid reach.

  • Organic reach is the reach Facebook gives you for free. It happens in the news feed when your fans see your updates. There are other possibilities, such as random users visiting your page, but these are insignificant compared to news feed views by fans.
  • Viral reach consists of the people who see your content because someone else created a story about it. For example, if a fan likes, comments or shares your post, their friends will see your post even if they aren’t fans of your page. The same is true if you’ve paid to reach larger audiences who may or may not already be your fans. If one of those targeted people creates a story, their friends will see it as well. Both are viral reach.

A quick note about viral reach: When you export your Insights data to an Excel spreadsheet, viral reach data is still included when you select the old Insights format. However, viral reach is a subsection of organic reach in the new version of Insights, which was rolled out in 2013. Expect to see viral reach metrics totally disappear from your Insights and the Facebook API soon. Facebook has decided to go for simplicity rather than detail.

  • Paid reach is a subset of post reach and is pretty easy to track and report. You paid for it, so you know where it came from. If you pay to promote your posts, your post reach is going to be much bigger than your standard organic reach (because you’ve paid to reach more of your fans).

It’s all still Greek to me. I want to know why none (or very few) of those 788 people reached LIKED, SHARED, or COMMENTED on my post! Was it that bad? I’ll just keep on posting on my author Facebook page. It makes me happy. One day something may go viral. hahaha!

Happy posting!




About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

18 responses »

  1. I can’t work out FB. With my “It Goes On” page, I supposedly have over 1200 followers. This doesn’t mean they all see it. According to my last stats update, it reached 63 people last week. Now this could be due to the way notifications are set up. I have found that on the iPad and phone, it is difficult to change notification settings and it has to be done on the desktop.
    I have gone down the route of random updates, pictures etc (rather than just my daily blog post) but it still didn’t help. I paid for views but gave that up as a waste of money. I don’t like the way FB does things but I don’t know how to fix it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Facebook will forever elude me. For instance, I forgot my password and they won’t let me change it. Why? I have no idea. I wanted to open a personal page. Now it’s, but again, when I try, they just bring me there like I’m a done deal. They have serious control issues. I’m impressed at how much you know…really!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Boggles my mind…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for trying to solve the mystery, Elle. The other thing that amazes me is new followers who never visited a post except for my Home or About page.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! Why is that? I usually read who I follow unless I get busy and miss a few, but I usually return when things calm down again. Some I even go back and read what I have missed – like yours! 😉


  5. It’s still a mystery to me but thanks for investigating, Leslie!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are right the edge ranking numbers on Facebook pages are a mystery – but one thing you can be sure of is they will be a lot lower than the number of people who have liked your page as Facebook make sure of that to encourage people to pay. Personally I don’t bother with a page at all and just use my Facebook profile, a decision I explained a bit in this blog post:

    Liked by 1 person

    • I clicked your link and read the article before replying. Makes a lot of sense. I had a book page and an author page and a personal page. Then I combined the author and book page into my author page because things were much too hectic. I was posting just about the same stuff to author and book. Now it’s much easier. I also have my blog posted on my personal page and always share it with my friends. It’s a little repetitive to some I know but it is what it is if I want to get it out there. I do like to keep my personal page separate from my author page somewhat also. I can’t like from my author page so every time I LIKE or FOLLOW an other author page I have to do it from my personal page which really makes no sense to me because as you will see when I add you as a friend from my personal page you will have no idea who I am! Hint: one name is the same!) 😉
      Did I just write a blog post here with this reply? haha
      Anyway – Facebook will never get any of my money for advertising so I may always be a small fish in a big sea because of it!


      • Yeah, I can’t imagine spending money advertising either – apart from anything else I have a publisher and I think that should be their job (they don’t do it either but that’s another issue). I think it’s wrong that Facebook treats you and me and coca cola as if we are the same the same, which is why I stick to using it as an individual rather than a business

        Liked by 1 person

  7. As I understand it (and I could be wrong) it’s appeared on that many Facebook walls. Now, that doesn’t mean that someone actually read it.

    EXAMPLE: Let’s say someone logs into Facebook for the first time on any given day at 7pm, but they don’t scroll all through their new posts (if you have hundreds of pages you like and people who are your friends, we’re talking THOUSANDS of posts on some days and I don’t think most people actually look carefully at all of them) – so did they REALLY see it? No. Facebook knows it was loaded onto someone’s computer so I think it counts as “seen” by your fans but it doesn’t mean anyone actually read it.

    It’s so strange to admit it, but for my fanpage I don’t get as much engagement (interaction) as I do on Twitter… and yet, on my personal facebook profile, I get a lot of engagement. Facebook (and I think most social media in the future) will be working towards paid content systems like Facebook is doing. However, I think that you CAN up your organic engagement by trying new things. Use pictures, videos, share not just “buy by book” stuff but share items which relate to the topics of your books. Share things that, if I (a potential reader) went to google and searched for, I’d find your post/blog pages.

    Keep posting quality content. Keep visiting with your readers. Like any relationship/friendship in the real world it takes time to build it up but it’s worth it in the end.

    All the best to you in 2015!

    Liked by 1 person


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