Oops. Facebook Metrics Mixup Means Lower Organic Reach Numbers Ahead

The crisis communications team is working overtime at Facebook. On top of serious questions about Facebook’s impact on election results this week, Facebook had to fess up to significant problems with its metrics reporting.

The world’s leading social media platform acknowledged that a “bug” on its Page Insights meant organic reach has been overstated on seven—day and 28—day reports. For social media managers, it means we can expect significant drops — 33% to 55% in reported organic reach.  There is a good description from Business Insider with highlights below:

“One bug, which had been ongoing since May, appeared on the Page Insights analytics section and affected the organic reach metric. The summary number showing seven—day or 28—day organic reach was miscalculated because it didn’t de—duplicate repeat visitors.

Facebook says it is working on fixing the issue in the next few weeks. The result for page owners will be that their seven—day organic reach summary is likely to be 33% lower, while the 28—day summary will be 55% lower on average.

In addition, Facebook is updating its organic page reach metric to only include “viewable impressions.” Before, page reach was calculated when a post was placed in the news feed, but the stricter definition only counts reach as when that post has actually appeared on the user’s screen. The new change means organic page reach will be 20% lower on average.”

Along with this information, Facebook introduced a number of positive changes regarding its measurement offerings. You can read more directly from Facebook at its new metrics blog.

In reporting Facebook results to clients, we’ve all made a big leap of faith in their accuracy. Going forward, Facebook promises to “communicate more regularly about our metrics.” Marketers need to demand transparency, too.