Facebook’s “Weekly Total Reach” Insights Metric Nearly Useless

In: Facebook

25 Oct 2011

Check out the screen shot below and you’ll notice that the “Weekly Total Reach” Insights metric for my Social Identities Facebook fan page seems to have had a very strange drop off, then a dead period, and then a steep rise back. What happened? Did that particular stat stop recording for a week? It must have because my “Impressions” had remained consistent during that period.

Imagine my elation when I had checked this stat in early October and saw that my Weekly Reach had climbed quite quickly from 5,377 “People Reached” to over 49,000 and then stayed that way for about a week. Then try to comprehend the horror I felt as I watched that number plummet and then level off at about 2,500. And then, bang, it started shooting right back up again and notice the latest reading of 42,636 shows an increase of 1,638.83%? Wow! Okay, enough already, my emotions just can’t take this. I like roller coasters a lot but this one sucks.

My first assumption after seeing that big valley in the graph was that for some reason there had been a glitch in the system and my stats had stopped recording for about a week. Cool, that made me feel better. But guess what? That’s not what happened at all. What had actually happened was that I run a Facebook ad and periodically turn it off for a week or so to let it cool off. I never remember seeing this part in the explanation before but Facebook has added, in parentheses, the following little tidbit to their explanation of what the “Weekly Total Reach” is: (including any Ads or Sponsored Stories pointing to your Page). What? How is that information of any use to me now? I can view stats for my Ads on the advertising page and can see how many impressions my Ads are getting so why would I want that data included in a stat that could have some real value to me; telling me how many people my content was reaching?

To be fair, this isn’t the only way you can view this particular metric, but it is the one big graphic that greets you when you first visit your Insights. So, if you run paid advertising on Facebook, don’t do what I did and assume this stat represents your actual reach. To find that information click “Reach” in the sidebar and then deselect “Paid” and “Total” in the “Reach” graph, as shown below.



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  • Noah Tepperman

    I found this post to be really useful, but when I clicked “Reach” (or Likes, or Talking About This) is the Insights sidebar on my page, it seemed to just hang there.

    There was no progress bar (bottom of the browser) but the 3 little progress indicators next to “Reach” in the sidebar showed continued activity, even though it just hung there.  I was able to reproduce this on different browsers and different computers, logged in as both myself (page admin) and the page.

    Anyone have any ideas?

    • http://www.socialidentities.com Hugh Briss

      I’m sure it was a temporary glitch. I have had that happen on occasion too.

  • Albrightj82

    Hi, thanks so much for this information!  I have found that my reach dropped drastically this past weekend and was really stressed.  I’m going to try the other way you mentioned now.  Do you have any suggestion on ways I can boost my reach on Facebook?

  • Albrightj82

    Hi, thanks so much for this information!  I have found that my reach dropped drastically this past weekend and was really stressed.  I’m going to try the other way you mentioned now.  Do you have any suggestion on ways I can boost my reach on Facebook?