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Facebook Metrics Defined: Paid Likes vs Organic

Facebook advertising is a growing trend. Most brands devote at least a portion of their social media budget to advertising on the network.

For brands that advertise on Facebook, it’s important to be able to segment social media performance by paid vs organic activities. This includes measuring audience growth, also know as Paid Likes.


How Paid & Organic Likes are Calculated

Paid and Organic Likes are broken out within Facebook Insight’s Like Sources, which we discussed previously in our metrics series. Like Sources can be viewed within the Insights Tool, or the Insights data export, where the number of unique people that liked your page is broken out by location.

Paid Likes by Source

There are three components of Paid Likes, that can be found within Like Sources, they are:

  • Ads

  • Aobile ads

  • Sponsored stories

The sum of the three components represents the total number of Paid Likes for your page.

Organic Likes are page Likes that cannot be attributed to Facebook advertising. You can calculate Organic Likes, just by subtracting Paid Likes from Total Likes.

To analyze Organic Likes further, you can segmented Like Sources to identify whether Likes occurred on your page, from a social plugin, third party app, etc.

What Do Paid & Organic Likes Mean to You?

When Facebook advertising is being implemented, it becomes more difficult to report on audience growth that is being driven organically. For social media marketers, it is important to understand the impact of paid advertising and avoid attributing Paid Likes to successful community management tactics.

Segmenting Paid Likes from Total Likes allows you to accurately report on community growth while still being able to identify trends in organic growth.

 Daily Paid Likes vs Organic

Organic growth trends can be used to identify successful tactics for building your audience. Segmenting fan growth also makes it possible to calculate benchmarks and set goals based on your Facebook advertising budget.

Measuring Paid Likes against your advertising spend can provide you with a benchmark that can be used to forecast future audience growth, depending on your Facebook advertising budget. This benchmark can also be used to inform how much to allocate to your Facebook ads budget.

The challenge of measuring paid ads and forecasting performance isn’t limited to Facebook Likes. Paid advertising also affects Engagement, Reach and Impressions.

Segmenting performance for each of these metrics can help you measure the impact that Facebook advertising has on your page.

Download the complete guide to Facebook Analytics

Nate Smitha

I'm a Marketing Manager at Simply Measured. It's my job to deliver content in a way that engages and informs social media professionals. My areas of expertise are marketing automation, conversion and social media analytics.

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