This is how you calculate Facebook fan reach, and most marketers get it wrong


Haven’t we been discussing this metric for the whole December? Headlines everywhere report Facebook’s admission of a lower organic reach, multiple reports ascertaining this decline, and a furore from businesses over seemingly “wasted” efforts in building (buying) a fan base.

But before we jump into the argument, let’s clarify 2 things:

  1. The Facebook organic fan reach refers to total organic reach, which includes fans and non-fans.
  2. Consequently, a decrease in organic reach means a drop in both fan reach and non-fan reach, including social reach, which comes from fans interacting with your Page post.

So the pertinent questions are:

  • Is your Facebook fan reach really declining?
  • If yes, by how much?

Having said that, do you remember the reach counter at the bottom of every post?

It is used by smart marketers as often as the “Boost Post” button on the right. That’s right - never.

So where do you find the actual Facebook fan reach? Maybe some of you exported data from Facebook Insights.

If you did, this is what you’ll see.

Column H shows the exact same number you see at the bottom of every Page Post. It is the sum of all the figures in columns I, J and K, less double-counted users. But all these columns still include both fans and non-fans. 

Unfortunately, to calculate a useful data like your page post’s fan reach, it requires a bit of work to be done on your part. The good news is that it is relatively simple to do and I have detailed the steps below. And marketers who can do this set themselves apart from the poor ones.

5 Steps to Calculate Facebook Fan Reach

Step 1: Export BOTH your Page-level and Post-level data

Before you move on to the next step, if you simply want the absolute Facebook fan reach, then you can obtain the data from Column X of your post-level spreadsheet. If you want to calculate the individual fan reach %, carry on to the next step.


Step 2:  On the Post-Level spreadsheet, hide irrelevant columns

First, hide columns A and B.

Then, hide columns D to F. Step 2.3 Hide Columns H W and leave 2 columns to the right of G. Lifetime The number of people who saw your Page post because theyve liked your Page Unique Users should NOW be in column Z. Column Z is the ORGANIC REACH of your post to existing FAN This is how you calculate Facebook fan reach, and most marketers get it wrong Finally, hide Columns H-W and add 2 new columns to the right of G. The important column “Lifetime Post reach by people who like your Page” should now be in column Z.

Because your fan size is likely to differ from day to day, it is not as straightforward to calculate your organic reach % by simply dividing the data in Column Z by your total number of fans. You will need the data for number of fans for each day.


Step 3: To do so, input the below headers and formulae

The only tricky part in step 3 is highlighted in the picture above. Remember that you exported the page-level data? Because the post-level data does not include the day-to-day number of fans on your page, the page-level data is required. Therefore, the highlighted part references the data in columns A and B of your excel spreadsheet.


Step 4: Drag and autofill the data in columns H & I as shown below


Step 5: To find out your long-term organic Facebook fan reach, input the formula shown below

And that concludes our tutorial - you should see your Facebook fan reach now!

Now back to the argument about a decline in Facebook Reach - to be fair, you need to analyse your page’s Facebook Fan Reach from an earlier date. As a general guideline, compare the data you have in October and November VS that of December. If you’re like me, you might be surprised to find that the decline in reach is not that serious.

If it is, something could be seriously wrong with the content you’re posting or the time you’re posting or something else. I’m quite sure the fall in reach does not create any new problems for you - it just accentuates them. That means you can’t ignore the real problems of your content anymore.

Questions? Comment below and I’ll help you out!


Jason How

I help social media teams and small business owners eliminate Facebook ads and content that suck. Brands that I have worked with include household brands like Seoul Garden and International Volunteer Day, an initiative of the Ministry of Community, Culture, and Youth (MCCY). When I'm not busy with numbers, I can become a real glutton.

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  • João Matos

    Hi Jason, after this procedure can we calculate the organic post reach/mont, by sum up all % and divided by the number of posts, or it is wrong to do that?

    And what about calculate organic page reach? How do we do that?

    Thnks for the informations and precious insigths!

    • Jason HJH

      Hi Joao,

      Facebook recently made some changes to the exported data so it’s even easier to calculate the organic post reach per month now!

      First, you need to download the post-level data, not the page-level version, just to make sure we’re on the same page.

      Then, look to Column T. The data in this column refers to the number of fans (only fans!) each of your post reached. Simply sum up all the numbers in this column for any month to get the total organic fan reach per month.

      As for calculating the organic fan reach per month in %, unfortunately there isn’t a faster way to do it just yet. You’ll need to copy the total number of fans in your page-level data and divide the data in column T by the corresponding total number of fans for that day.

      Then, like you mentioned, you can sum up all the % and divide by the number of posts to obtain an estimate. It is not wrong to do that, but it is not precise because you’re using an average as the estimate. Just beware of the flaws of averages, you can read about them here -

      Let me know if you have anymore questions!

      • João Matos

        Hi Jason,

        thanks for the reply, but I am confused. Column T in the post level data is “Lifetime: The number of clicks anywhere in your post. Clicks generating stories are included in “Other Clicks.” (Total Count)”. Are you sure is this the column :)?

        • Jason HJH

          Hi Joao,

          Column T for me says “Lifetime Post reach by people who like your Page”

          Are you sure you selected “New” in the version of Insights when you exported the data?

          • João Matos

            Hi Jason,

            sorry the delay. Yes, I didi it again and for me it is column X who says says “Lifetime Post reach by people who like your Page”. I selected New. Strange?

          • Jason HJH

            Hi Joao,

            It could be that Facebook hasn’t updated your version of Facebook Insights. Seems like I found the same metric in Column X when I downloaded the “old” version. It’s alright, since the same data is available, it doesn’t matter which column it is located in. But as you’ve sharply noticed, we can still work with your version. just be careful which columns we select.

            Let me know if you need help again!