So Facebook said your ad targeting had a potential reach of 60,000, yet you’ve only reached 9,000 since you launched your campaign. What happened to the other 51,000 potential customers?

It’s easy to feel shortchanged but there’s a number of reasons why you may not reach all of your potential audience and there are even some easy ways to fix it.

First, let’s recap the terms and metrics we’re analyzing to evaluate our reach:

Facebook Reach

Potential Reach is the unique number of people you have the potential to reach based on your ad targeting. Potential Reach also gives you an idea of how narrow your targeting is. If the number is too large, you may be wasting ad impressions on people that are less than ideal and you could narrow down your targeting and be more selective. If the number is too small, your ads are targeted too narrowly  and your targeting should be relaxed.


Campaign Reach is the number of unique people who actually saw ads from your campaign. We’ll explore the causes of low campaign reach below.

The 5 Causes of Low Facebook Reach

1. Budget – The most likely reason your reach is limited is you have an insufficient ad budget. A low budget means you’ll miss out on opportunities to show your ads. Raising your budget will let your ads run more frequently and for longer in the day.

2. Active Users – Another likely cause is your targeted audience hasn’t been active on Facebook. Let’s face it, all 60,000 of these potential users haven’t necessarily logged into Facebook since your ads began running.

They also may not have spent enough time on Facebook to see your ad. The more time they spend browsing on Facebook, the more opportunities your ad has to reach them. A 15 year-old with drama will rack up more Facebook ad impressions than a conservative 50 year-old will. It’s possible that your target audience is less active on Facebook and you’ll need to adjust your expectations, or target a wider audience.

3. Bids – Like with budget, a low bid will reach fewer users. It’s true: throwing more money at your ad’s can help improve your reach. Keep in mind you’re competing in an auction with many advertisers and limited ad inventory so raising your bid will give you a better chance at beating out other advertisers and reaching more of your targeted audience.

4. Relevance – Are your ads relevant to your audience? Facebook takes relevance into consideration when deciding which ads get displayed to users. To make sure your ad has a fighting chance at reaching your audience, make sure it’s relevant to them. You may need to make several ads that each target a different segment of your audience. This allows you to craft your ad image and copy to be more relevant to your target audience.

5. Time – The last cause of limited Facebook reach is the easiest (and cheapest) one to fix! Your ads just may need more time to run. To fix this, do nothing. Just wait. Because the more time you allow for your ads to run, the more people they will have an opportunity to reach.

Now get out there and reach more Facebook users!


  1. Catherine Baq June 1st, 2016


    I used to put 300$ on a campaign with a specified target and the potential reach would be around 360,000 but now when I put 1,000$ on the same target with the same details, I still keep getting the same potential reach, which doesn’t make any sense… because the budget is so much higher… what seems to be the problem ?!!!

    Thank You

  2. BK February 3rd, 2017


    It also depend on the audience in your targeted location/country. Which country your are targeting for?

  3. kyle kaizan September 6th, 2017

    great artilce sam.

    i had trouble with my targeting for an ad i ran for my local biz targeting men aged 25-35 who lived in a specific location. sadly the responses i got back were from both men and women. some not even from the target location. they looked like people from different countries.(wth facebook) i was pretty dissappointed with the results.

    i managed to fix this by setting “people who live in” the location instead of “everyone in” the location. then i slowly worked my way out to bigger and bigger locations (heres the article i read on that: ) i also used my customers emails to let facebook optimize my ads. this really improved my results and increased my ROI

    thanks again sam. i really need to focus on tip 5. i dont give my ads enough time to mature and i constantly feel the urge to tweak and make changes. should really try letting my ads run for a few days at least before making any changes

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Sam Mazaheri is the Director of Marketing at AdStage, an all-in-one online advertising platform. Previously, he was part of the AdWords product team at Google, working as an in-house AdWords expert and consultant to product management, engineering, and UX. Prior to that, he personally managed and grew in-house online marketing programs with over $300,000 in monthly ad spend.