What is the Difference Between Reach and Impressions?

Reach vs. Impressions: Which Metric is Essential for Your Social Goals?

If you’re trying to increase your visibility and influence on social media, then the terms reach and impressions will sound very familiar. If you’re a marketer, you likely understand the difference between the two metrics, however you might still need a refresher when it comes to establishing which is key for your social media goals. Whether you’re assessing your current campaign strategy or  optimizing your overall visibility and engagement reach and impressions can help you monitor your progress.

What are Impressions?

Generally speaking, impressions refer to the total number of times your social media ad or content has been displayed, regardless of whether or not it was clicked. A viewer doesn’t need to engage with a post to be referred to as an impression since it is not measured. Impressions are always higher than reach, as one person can have multiple impressions for a single piece of content.

What is Reach?

Reach is the total number of people who were exposed to your ad or content. If 50 people saw your content, then that content’s reach was 50. However, unfortunately, if you have 50 followers, that does not mean all 50 will engage with your content. That’s because social media platforms use complex algorithms that determine who to show content to and when.

Reach vs. Impressions: What’s the Difference?

Reach and impressions mean different things on different platforms. However, they are two separate concepts and should not be used interchangeably. To understand the difference between reach and impressions, consider impressions as the number of times your content is displayed to your users and reach the total number of users who have viewed your content.

Reach vs. Impressions: Which is More Important?

Now with a basic understanding of reach vs. impressions, it’s time to understand which is more important. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer as it depends on your marketing goals. For example, if your strategy is to track your ads on a moment-to-moment basis, your focus should be on media impressions, as the metric can gauge how your users are responding to your ads.
Focusing on reach can tell you  if there is something wrong with your ads. For example, if your ads reach a lot of users but fail to increase conversions, then you may need to consider changing your content or reconsider who you’re trying to reach.

Instagram Reach vs. Impressions

Instagram defines reach as the unique number of users who have viewed your post or story and impressions as the number of times a story or post has been displayed. To track the progress of reach vs. impressions on Instagram, click ‘view insights’ under one of your posts, or swipe up the story for which you intend to view analytics.

Once accessed, you will be able to analyze your Instagram impressions vs. reach. Your impressions are also available in the broken-down subcategories of hashtags, profile, and explore. As a bonus, you can also see what percentage of users your content has reached who are not followers.

Facebook Reach vs. Impressions

Facebook defines reach and impressions similarly to Instagram. However, they organize reach into three categories:

  1. Organic: The number of unique users who viewed your content in their news feed. 
  2. Paid: The number of users who saw paid content on the news feed. An ad, for example.
  3. Viral: The number of users who saw your content because it was mentioned in a story or post published by a friend. For example, liking, sharing, or commenting on a post.

Just like reach, impressions are also broken down into three categories:

  1. Organic: The number of times your content was displayed, for free, on your personal page or news feed. 
  2. Paid: The number of times your paid content was displayed. An ad, for example. 
  3. Viral: The number of times content was seen because one of their friends interacted with it.

Twitter Reach vs. Impressions

Twitter works a little differently. It doesn’t measure your reach but does track your impressions. Twitter defines impressions as anytime a user sees your tweet. Impressions show your tweets’ views or the number of times your content has popped up on another user’s feed, in search results, or to another user’s followers. 

How Reputation Can Help You With Social Media

It’s crucial to understand these two social metric terms and decide which is essential to your social media strategy goals. At Reputation, we offer social media software allowing you to take control of your social media channels. Implement content seamlessly across social media, analyze results, and connect with your followers in innovative ways. With our tools, you’ll receive contextual insights businesses need to engage with their customers and communities meaningfully.

Ready to grow your business? We specialize in online reputation management and can help you transform your brand’s image. 

Discover how the Reputation platform can give you the tools you need to take your business to the next level. Contact us today!

Topic: Through Leadership
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