Understanding Facebook’s Reach-to-Engagement Ratio
When advertising using Facebook as a marketing platform, you get access to a variety of different statistics via the insights tab. For a while now, Facebook has been sending notices to business page administrators to let them know about their stats going up or down. But don’t be fooled, some of these numbers can be deceptive.
With Facebook, there are some important statistics that you have to deduce for yourself. One of the most relevant numbers you can extract from your insights is your reach to engagement ratio. This is essentially how many times a post must be seen (reach) to get a like, comment, or share (engagement). Ideally, the fantasy “perfect” reach to engagement ratio is a 1:1 part to whole ratio meaning, every time your post is seen, the person seeing it engages with it. However, in reality the numbers are much different.
According to experts on the topic, a “good” engagement rate is about 1% or a ratio of 100:1. So for every 100 reach/views, you should be getting 1 engagement. The statistical average for a typical post is closer to about .5% or 200:1. But Facebook doesn’t list this ratio in your insights, why? The simple answer is that Facebook has an incentive to distort your insights; they want to lighten your wallet.
For example, Facebook might send you an email that says something like, “Your recent post, ‘Blah blah blah’ is performing better than 90% of posts on your page, boost it to reach more people.” Or, they may send you an email like this, “Your reach has decreased by 50%, boost a post to increase your reach!” As you can see, in either case, the end result is “Spend more money on Facebook.” But as hard as it might be, you have to learn to ignore these sometimes deceptive portrayals of your insight numbers. Instead look to your reach to engagement ratio for guidance.
Let’s say you write a post and you get a reach of 500 and an engagement of 5, or the ideal “good” ratio of 100:1 or 1% engagement mentioned above; Facebook might encourage you to boost that post to get more engagement. However, if the following week, that same post only has 250 reach but maintains an engagement of 5, Facebook will tell you that your reach has decreased by 50%, which is true, but, your reach to engagement ratio has doubled! That’s a great thing, it means that as many people engaged with the post as the previous week even though the overall reach has decreased by half. This improved reach to engagement should be a good indicator that perhaps that is a good post to boost. Not because it is under-performing, as Facebook’s insight emails would infer, but because it is performing better at a lower reach which means, more bang for your advertising buck.
So when you look at your insights, it is to your benefit to dissect them more in depth than what Facebook presents you with. Remember, Facebook massages these numbers to fit their message which is, “Spend more money on Facebook.” Instead of making a reactionary move based on what is presented as decreasing performance by Facebook, by applying a little simple math to your insights, you can get more depth and be better informed as to how to actually move forward, what posts to boost, and what content to toss on the scrap heap.