In any public relations and marketing program, when companies are looking at their social media metrics there are two very important terms they should be looking at—their impressions and their reach. Impressions is the total number of times a user on that platform has been shown that piece of content. Meanwhile, reach is who has actually seen that piece of content. These two metrics are different because impressions don’t count people who engage with the content, only those who have been exposed to it.
For example, if a piece of content, such as an ad, has been displayed on a social media platform 500 times, that’s the number of impressions. Meanwhile, if 400 people opened that ad, that’s the reach of the ad. Generally, the number of impressions is higher than the reach, and impressions are usually closer to the number of followers for that account. However, different social media platforms have different ways to measure or define these two metrics, which is why companies should become a lot more familiar with the details behind both.
On Facebook, impressions are defined as the number of times an ad appeared on people’s screens. If a user ends up scrolling down past an ad from a company, but then scrolls back up to the ad, the platform considers this to be an impression. Additionally, if the same ad appears to the same user twice in one day, it’s counted as two impressions.
While companies don’t have specific business profiles on this platform, analytics are available to everyone and the results of any content are available immediately. Every time a user on the platform sees the company’s tweet, it’s counted as an impression. Unfortunately, the reach of content isn’t measured on Twitter, but users do get to see their engagement metrics. They’re available in the same page where the impressions are found, and the company can also track it’s likes, retweets and clicks.
Impressions and reach on Instagram are two separate metrics. Every time a user sees a piece of content from the company, it’s counted as an impression, while any time someone interacts with that content it’s counted as a reach.
When companies are deciding which metric is more important for them to track, they have to look back on their overall promotional goals. That means if a company wants to pay attention to the performance of its ads, it should be looking at the number of impressions closely. That’s because all of the sponsored and promoted content is measured by how many people are seeing that content.
Companies that are looking to increase engagement and brand awareness should probably be focusing on the reach metric a lot more. That’s because these are the numbers that can inform companies on the number of leads that are potentially generated from the content, because the metric shows people that interact with those posts.