Organic vs paid social media reach

The days of getting substantial organic reach on social networks are long gone. Research by UK-based social media analytics tracking company Locowise reported that across Facebook brand accounts it monitored typical organic and paid social reach figures were:

  • 6% average organic reach versus page likes or follower
  • 27% average paid reach on Facebook

With organic reach averaging less than 10%, this gives a strong argument for investing in paid social to increase your reach, particularly during key campaigns.

Reach is a measure of the proportion of an audience that views an organic or paid social media posts. Locowise identifies two types. Potential reach is the number of people a post could potentially reach based on your total follower count.

To take the example of Starbucks, this could be tens of millions followers for their global page (36 million at the time of writing). Actual reach is the number of impressions or views, which are reported by the social network and analysis tools. This means the post appeared in individuals feeds. If this were 10% the reach would be 3.6 million in this case. Of course actual reach doesn’t mean people paused to look at a post when scrolling.

To complete the picture, Social Media Examiner distinguishes between Facebook Post reach and Page reach. Post reach is the number of people who saw a specific post in their news feed. Page reach is the number of people who saw any of your post content during a given period of time (daily, weekly or monthly). Facebook define post reach as the number of people who had any posts from your Page enter their screen, according to Facebook Insights.

Locowise don’t report on other social network, but we note that for comparison, the organic daily reach on Smart Insights is approximately:

  • Facebook : 1 to 2%
  • LinkedIn: 4 to 8%
  • Twitter: > 10%

This reflects our predominately B2B audience and the algorithms which control how often posts are shown in the feed.


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Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of digital marketing advice site Smart Insights. We’re a publisher and learning platform that helps our 150,000 active members in over 100 countries plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing activities by applying the actionable advice in our planning templates, guides and interactive e-learning tools.

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