Ok so we have already talked about the fact that engagement is considered likes, comments, clicks and shares. And while engagement is the goal, one of the ways to get there is Reach. Meet Edgar, one of my favorite scheduling tools, (and I’ll talk more about them later) explains reach this way, ““Facebook reach is the number of people seeing your content“, it’s how many eyes your content was in front of.
I like to compare “reach” to a billboard on the side of the road. Many drive by and see it but few take action on it. So essentially what reach does is get your content in front of as many people creating a potential pool for engagement and action. So to rely only on “reach” as a measurement of marketing success is, in turn, not as effective as engagement. Because while reach promotes engagement, the engagement on your post is also going to create more reach. It is surely Facebook’s way of making us totally insane while we try to build our businesses on their platform.
Now that you understand the basics of reach, I want to explain a little bit about Facebook and their algorithm. To begin with, How Stuff Works has a great explanation of what an algorithm actually is, “To make a computer do anything, you have to write a computer program. To write a computer program, you have to tell the computer, step by step, exactly what you want it to do. The computer then “executes” the program, following each step mechanically, to accomplish the end goal.
When you are telling the computer what to do, you also get to choose how it’s going to do it. That’s where the computer algorithms come in. The algorithm is the basic technique used to get the job done.”
Here is a great example of what that actually looks like in layman’s terms from How it works:
Let’s say that you have a friend arriving at the airport, and your friend needs to get from the airport to your house. Here are four different algorithms that you might give your friend for getting to your home:
The taxi algorithm:
- Go to the taxi stand.
- Get in a taxi.
- Give the driver my address.
The call-me algorithm:
- When your plane arrives, call my cell phone.
- Meet me outside baggage claim.
The rent-a-car algorithm:
- Take the shuttle to the rental car place.
- Rent a car.
- Follow the directions to get to my house.
The bus algorithm:
- Outside baggage claim, catch bus number 70.
- Transfer to bus 14 on Main Street.
- Get off on Elm street.
- Walk two blocks north to my house.
All four of these algorithms accomplish exactly the same goal, but each algorithm does it in completely different way. Each algorithm also has a different cost and a different travel time. Taking a taxi, for example, is probably the fastest way, but also the most expensive. Taking the bus is definitely less expensive, but a whole lot slower. You choose the algorithm based on the circumstances.
How does this apply to Facebook? With 1.7 billion people on Facebook, there is a whole lot of information running through their main frame and Facebook has to sort that data. So they created an algorithm to do just that.
When you log in to Facebook, their algorithms scan and sort all the data from the past week of your friends, those you follow, the groups you’re in, and all the Facebook Pages that you like. For the average Facebook user that is anywhere between 1,000 and 100,000 posts depending on how many friends you have. Then, the ever changing news feed algorithm sorts them all, in what it believes to be the precise order of how likely you are to find each post worthwhile.
Most users will only ever see the top few hundred. And as of recently, Facebook is making sure that friends and family come first when it comes to what you see in your newsfeed so that means that the chances of you seeing the posts from the Pages you like are quite slim.
Here is a cool trick that I use to make sure I do not miss the posts of my favorite Pages……
- At the top of your profile or page, click on the down pointing arrow that is next to the lock icon at the top of your page.
- Then scroll down to where it says “newsfeed preferences” and click on that.
- Click the top option where it says “Prioritize who to see first”. (the white star in the blue circle)
- You will then be given the option of choosing what profiles and pages you want to see first in your newsfeed.
- Now when you log in to your account you will see them first in your newsfeed!
You can select up to 30 people and pages but they don’t necessarily show up in the order you selected. This is a really great feature to bypass the algorithm changes that have affected who we see in our news feeds.
That basically explains how Facebook’s algorithms work (in layman’s terms) and I hope you have a better understanding of what “Reach” is and it’s value.
Tomorrow we will talk about Insights and how to see what sort of engagement you are getting on your Page.
See you then!