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Reach vs. Impressions: What’s the Difference?

Reach and impressions are two very important aspects of the social media world, and knowing the difference is crucial.  By the end of this article, you’ll know Reach vs. Impressions what is the differences and similarities between the two.

What is Reach?

Reach is the ‘total number of unique people who see your content. Not all followers see your content. Reach is specifically the number of users who did. Tracking this metric will show you how many of your followers are actually seeing your content.

What is an Impression?

An impression is a little more complicated. Simply put, it is the number of times your content is displayed to users. While ‘reach’ only measures the number of unique people who view your content, an ‘impression’ measures the number of times a piece of content was viewed by someone. A user doesn’t have to interact with a content or post for it to count as an impression.

Let’s say there’s a Twitter ad you see. When you see it, you have increased the ‘reach’ of that ad post by 1. Now let’s say you come across that same ad three times courtesy of your friends retweeting it at different times. That would count as 3 ‘impressions’ even if you didn’t interact with the post.

Similarities and Differences

Reach vs. Impressions They are both ways to measure how many people are viewing your content. Impressions focus on how many people get the opportunity to see your content, while reach focuses on how many unique people see it.

Reach and impressions are both, mostly represented in absolute numbers. Multiple viewings of the same content do not increase the ‘reach’ of a post, but do increase the ‘impressions’ of it. Both are extremely important for tracking the quality of your posts.

Reach is important as it will tell you if a post did well or ended up being less popular than normal. Impressions are important as they allow you to see that number of people who had the chance to see your content even if they ended up not. This gives you the opportunity to analyze and ask questions like, why did some people not end up clicking on your content even when the opportunity was presented to them? You can connect the dots and make informed decisions based on the platform’s metric tools.

Which is More Important?

As is always the case, it’s contextual. Reach is usually a better tracking-metric in the B2B space since it gives you an idea of how many unique people got to see your content. It’s more sensible of the two since your target audience is smaller and not so easily available. For the B2C space, impressions might make more sense to track given you have a bigger audience and your goal is brand awareness.

Reach vs. Impressions Which is more important depends on what scenario you are dealing with. Reach can be a more reliable metric than impressions since it presents an opportunity for users to actually see and click on your content. Impressions can be counted even if a user scrolls past your content on their feed, often making it an inflated and not-so-useful metric. Regardless, impressions are a great metric to use especially if you’re doing budget marketing.

There is no set-in-stone answer to this question, though. If you have room for experimentation, go ahead. It just might be that you have better success with a combination of both metrics rather than with either or.

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