Facebook announced that the long-awaited move to viewable-only organic reach and impression reporting will officially roll out to Pages in 2018. This means that Facebook Insights reports will only count reach and impressions when a post is actually viewable on a user’s screen. Previously, reach and impressions were counted if a post was placed in a user’s News Feed after refreshing, even if the user never saw the post on their screen. This organic update mimics expectations for paid post reach and impression measurement.
The social network first mentioned the change was coming back in November 2016 when it made several updates to its reporting interface after it announced discrepancies were found in video completion measurements and one of the Page Insights Dashboards. Making the algorithm adjustments took longer to develop than expected, however, which explains the delay between the initial announcement and the rollout.
Caption: Example of a post reach dashboard found in the insights section of a Facebook Page
Because of this change, Facebook predicts Pages could see up to a 20% drop in average organic reach. Pages will be notified once the update is implemented.
What This Means for Marketers
Prepare to see decreases
Community managers and social marketers should be prepared to see the drop in organic reach and impressions in coming months. It is important to keep in mind, however, that although some organic metrics will be lower, reported reach and impressions will be more accurate. Once the update goes into effect, the reach metrics reported will be a more precise measure of how many users actually looked at a piece of content.
Despite the reassurance of accurate reporting, the drop will likely stir discouragement among marketers. In recent years, marketers have reported that average organic Page reach has dwindled to single-digit percentages. This update to organic reporting metrics is likely to make that number even smaller for most pages, something no community manager wants to see.
Utilize both organic and paid tactics
Possibly the biggest effect the update will have is that it reiterates the importance of a well-rounded social strategy that utilizes both organic and paid tactics. A strategic mix of engaging organic content with strong CTAs and highly targeted amplified posts or dark posts has never been more crucial for Pages to effectively reach desired audiences.
Other metrics to report
Additionally, Nina Hale recommends that social media managers report on engagement rate in concert with average reach/impressions to get a full picture of performance as average engagements per post will likely increase. Because engagement rates are calculated as a percentage of engaged users, more accurate reporting of reach and impressions will benefit the engagement percentages for most Pages.