Whoopsie, Facebook Gives Viewers An Insight Into Reach Metrics

October 16, 2005

For a brief period of time overnight, a bug on Facebook’s mobile site published the view count public on all posts from all users.

Social Media Managers will be familiar with the constant pendulum swings between joy and despair of knowing exactly how many (or how few) people each of your posts reach. But for most Facebook users it would have been a new experience.

Publically available reach statistics are not all that uncommon on social media. YouTube provides a running view count, and Twitter gives users detailed insights including impressions and link clicks.

Unfortunately (or, fortunately, depending on your level of anxiety and narcissism), last night’s little rollout is not the test of a new feature. A spokesperson from Facebook confirmed that it was a bug that has now been resolved.

Perhaps surprisingly, most users weren’t too thrilled to have the opportunity to see how many people their content had been seen by. Many users took to social media commenting that the feature was ‘weird’ and ‘creepy’ (and then sat back and watched how many people viewed that post). For social media managers, these insights are something else entirely…necessary.

The working of Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm is perhaps one of its biggest mysteries. A 2013 study showed that individual users content reached far fewer people than they would probably expect. A single post only reaches one in three of your online friends and the average user only reaches around 60% of their friends timelines over the course of a month…meaning 40% of your friends are completely in unaware of what you’ve eaten, what your pets been up to or where you went on holiday.

For businesses, Facebook’s algorithm is an even crueller beast which drops those figures drop exponentially. Photo posts for pages reach just 4% of the total audience, third party links under 6% and videos under 9%.

Now more than ever with Facebook’s highly competitive algorithm it’s important to have a solid, user-focused strategy to get the best results from your social media.