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[What Data Says] Social Media Reach Is Declining on Instagram

Andreea Udescu
Andreea Udescu
Table of Contents

Marketers considers social media reach to be a crucial metric for achieving various marketing goals, such as boosting brand visibility and establishing authority within an industry.

There's more than one way to look at reach. Some social media managers may view it as engagement by reach, whereas others may see it and think of reach rate data.

In this study, we're going to be looking at both versions of reach on social media, and we'll track their evolution going into 2024.

Social media reach metrics and insights you need to know for 2024


  1. What is social media reach?
  2. Why is reach important?
  3. How to calculate social media reach
  4. Is social media reach decreasing?
  5. Methodology

1. What is social media reach?


Social media reach represents the total number of unique users who have been exposed to a piece of content, post, or advertisement on a social media channel within a selected timeframe.

The reach metric indicates how aware people are of your brand. Unlike followers or impressions, it gives you a more accurate count of the people you've impacted and helps you estimate the potential size of your audience.

quote Christina Garnett about social media reach

2. Why is social media reach important?

By tracking reach in marketing, you can, for instance, see just how effective your campaigns are in real-time and make any necessary adjustments before it's too late.

Besides campaign measurement, reach can also provide some useful information about:

  • The real number of active followers
  • The impact of your partnerships with influencers and other brands
  • The interest generated around your online events and launches

Compared to other metrics (such as impressions), reach paints a more realistic picture of your content's performance because it counts each person only once, regardless of how many times they've seen your content.

3. How to calculate social media reach

Calculating reach can be tricky, considering that this metric only takes into account unique users who were exposed to your content.

The average reach rate can be calculated by dividing the total reach of a post by the total number of followers and multiplying the result by 100.

One thing to keep in mind is that social media reach data will always be an estimate - regardless of the third-party analytics app you're using. For maximum accuracy, our recommendation is that you turn to native analytics dashboards (Meta, LinkedIn, X/Twitter, YouTube, TikTok).

Social media reach is one of the most important content KPIs, especially relevant for measuring brand awareness. As a result, reach is one of the go-to social media managers’ metrics analyzed for this business objective.

4. Is social media reach decreasing?

Yes, there has been an 18% YoY decrease in reach on Instagram in 2024.
On the other hand, Facebook has a slight increase of 37% YoY.

Over the last couple of years, several social media studies have emphasized Instagram’s superiority in performance compared to Facebook.

Whether for its increased reach, engagement, and many other KPIs, Instagram has proven to be the better choice for marketing purposes.

However, our most recent data challenges this idea.

At the beginning of 2023, Instagram had an average reach rate of 9.34%, while Facebook’s average reach rate sat at 4.32%.

Over the course of 2023, the average reach rate for Instagram declined, reaching 7.60% at the start of 2024.

The organic reach rate for Facebook, on the other hand, has improved slightly, going from 4.32% to 5.90% in 2024.

organic reach rate evolution instagram facebook socialinsider data

Now, what about engagement by reach stats for 2024?

The average engagement rate per post by reach can be defined as total engagement (which includes the sum of several KPIs, depending on the platform analyzed) divided by the number of posts published and then all divided by the total reach.

The final result is to be multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.

With reach representing the total number of unique viewers a social post gained, engagement by reach displays how many interactions a post has gathered from those viewers.

Since a brand's social posts are usually seen only by a part of its total social media followers, the engagement rate by reach is considered a more accurate and insightful way of getting engagement data.

Compared to the engagement rate by followers, engagement by reach is frequently the preferred formula when measuring engagement.

That’s because this measurement version shows how relevant a piece of content was for those users that have actually seen it.

Most of the time, the people reached make for a smaller base than the total follower base.

With fewer users taken into account as a reference, in this situation, there will be significant variations in numbers when calculating engagement by both followers and reach.

Moreover, regardless of how marketers may look at engagement, according to data, one thing is clear - Instagram records higher engagement rates than Facebook.

engagement rate by reach facebook instagram socialinsider data

In 2024, Instagram gets an engagement rate by reach of 4.55% on average, Facebook records average values that go up to a maximum of only 1.45%.

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5. Methodology about social media reach data

The findings of this study are based on the analysis of Facebook and Instagram social media posts published between January 2023 - January 2024.

Other social media platforms were not included in this research, as some have different ways of calculating engagement, while others do not offer reach data.


FAQs about Social Media Reach


1. What is a good social media reach?

For brands with large audiences, a good reach for Instagram would be around 8% for an Instagram post and 1% for an Instagram Story. As for Facebook, a good reach would be around 6%.

2. What is social media reach and engagement?

Social media reach is sometimes calculated using engagement, and it is in fact a more accurate way of looking at engagement data.

Andreea Udescu

Andreea Udescu

I love helping people make sense of things. Especially data.

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