What’s the Difference Between Organic, Viral and Engaged for Facebook pages?

If you’re an administrator of a Facebook page, you’ve likely encountered two different types of views to your posts in your insights data: organic and viral. How does Facebook define these terms and which should you be shooting for on your page?

As explained by the Facebook help center, the organic reach means “the number of unique people who saw your post in News Feed, ticker or on your Page.” In other words, they like your page and saw the post as a direct result of you posting it.

Viral reach, on the other hand, goes beyond this. It means the number of people who saw it indirectly, as the result of one of their friends liking, commenting, or sharing your post.

With a few early organic likes and comments, it’s possible your post will spead and reach a much wider audience–”going viral”as the popular phrase goes.

Then, of course, there is also a third category: paid reach. This is when you pay for sponsored posts to automatically show up on users’ news feeds and in their sidebar. This is an option Facebook has been pushing more heavily lately, leading to a number of complaints from non-profit organizations that argue this “pay to be seen” policy is harmful and unfair to them.

Facebook Engaged Users and Virality Percentage Defined

In your Page Insights section, you will find a couple of additional metrics in addition to Organic and Viral. Engaged Users are users who have clicked on your post, either link clicks, other clicks or stories generated (which you can see in more detail by clicking on the number).

Finally, there is Virality which is expressed as a percentage (%). This is the percentage of users who have created a story from your post divided by the total number who have seen it. As you would expect, a larger percentage indicates a more viral post.

References: Facebook Help Center

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Andrew Walsh

I'm Andrew Walsh, a web entrepreneur, author and academic librarian. Check out my book Savvy for the Social Web, or learn more about me my personal homepage. If you're interested, please follow me on Twitter and Google+
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2 Responses to What’s the Difference Between Organic, Viral and Engaged for Facebook pages?
  1. Mikayla
    July 24, 2013 | 5:51 pm

    These are such important distinctions, Andrew. Thank you for taking the time to explain each one and how they differ. Here’s to getting more viral posts and engaged users 😉

    • Andrew Walsh
      July 25, 2013 | 2:47 am

      I’m glad you found it useful Mikayla. It’s interesting to look at those stats and try to figure out why particular posts go viral while others don’t reach nearly as many. Best of luck in your promotions!

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