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Reach vs. Impressions: What’s the difference?


Reach vs. Impressions: What's the difference?

Are you working towards getting better exposure for your brand? Are you doing everything you can to grow your social media audience? If you are, it is important to know what “reach” and “impressions” are, and what the difference is between them.

These two social engagement metrics are often confused.  It is critical to understand the meaning of both and how they work together in order to get the most accurate insights for your social channels. From there, you can start to develop improvement strategies for your brand’s social platforms.  

Reach is the total number of people who see your content. If your ad’s reach is 100, that means that 100 people have seen your ad.

Impressions are the number of times your content was displayed on a social feed, regardless of whether or not it was clicked. Let’s say the same ad as above was displayed on 500 different feeds – the impressions for that ad is 500.


Question: Why don’t all my followers see my content?

Answer: Due to social media platform algorithms, your content is only displayed to users that might be interested in it. This means, for example, that even though you might have 1000 followers, only 50 people see your content because their search history is related to your posts. This is why it is important to make getting quality followers a priority.


Question: Why are my reach and impression numbers so different?

Answer: One person can contribute to several impressions. When your reach and impression numbers are drastically different, it means that people might be getting the post delivered to their feed, but they do not find it engaging, so they don’t look at it. One way to improve this is to review your target audience and give them content that they want to see!

You can see that both concepts are a little confusing, but are equally important when you are analyzing the insights for your social media platforms.


Reach vs. Impressions, and what they mean for your marketing.

With a better understanding of both reach and impressions, you can now look beyond the definitions and see what those metrics mean for your social media strategy.

As reach gets bigger, that typically means you are increasing awareness for your brand. It is important at this point that you refine your target audience and continue to create content that is relevant, valuable and engaging for your viewers, and not necessarily super sales-y. You can also keep an eye on discussions (retweets, shares and comments) happening that your brand may want to be involved in – this will help you to stay engaged with your potential consumers and stay top of mind.

As impressions get bigger, this means that your content is finding its way to more user’s social feeds. In order to increase your impressions, try to create content that has more of an emphasis or call-to-action to “share”. Don’t be afraid to ask for shares!

The only way to tell if your efforts have made a difference is to consistently check your social media analytics. However, increased impressions and reach will only improve your brand awareness. It is important to remember that these metrics will tell you nothing about whether or not someone engaged with your content. At the end of the day, website clicks, contact sign-ups and lead generations are much more solid measures of campaign and ad success. Brand awareness (impressions and reach) will help you get there.

So – now you know the difference between reach vs. impressions and how important these metrics are to your brand’s social media success. 

What now? Get a free social media audit ($225 value!) and let’s see what we can build together.

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