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  • Writer's pictureCentury Digital Marketing

Social Media: Impressions vs. Reach

There are many metrics used in digital marketing that define strategies and the result of these strategies. This blog will address the difference between impressions and reach. When counting engagement, these two social media metrics are very important. Reach is used to define who sees content. This is the number of people who see your tweets or Instagram story. On the other hand, impressions are the number of times social media browsers show your content.

The main difference is that impressions don't count people who click or engage with your content, only the people who are exposed to it. If your ad was displayed 300 times, your impressions would be 300. If 100 people clicked on your ad, your reach would be 100.

Even though these two metrics are very similar, there are a few characteristics we believe you should be aware of to have a better understanding of social media metrics in general. In most cases, impressions will be higher than reach because impressions count exposure and reach count interactions or clicks. Also, it is very likely that impressions will be similar to the number of followers you have. Social media sites have their own rules on how they count impressions and reach, meaning you should pay attention to these numbers on each social media site you use. 

Facebook Impressions

Facebook defines impressions as “the number of times your ads were on screen” Facebook is very specific as to what counts as an impression and what doesn't. If a user scrolls past an ad but then scrolls back up to that ad, it counts as an impression. Also, an ad can have two impressions for one user if it appears two different times within 24 hours. Impressions on Facebook are counted the same way for video and image ads, meaning that videos don't need to be played to count as an impression. 


Twitter is not as specific as Facebook. Anytime a user sees a tweet it counts as an impression. Threads count individual impressions, for example, if the initial tweet earns 200 impressions and the reply to that same tweet earns 100, your total impressions are 300 for that thread. Also, Twitter counts engagement, which is the number of clicks that happen on a tweet. 


Reach and Impressions are independent from each other on Instagram. Impressions are earned from the number of times a user sees a post, story, or IGTV video. Reach, on the other hand, is defined by the number of users that interact with your posts. In this case, users can be a mix of followers and people who see your content based on common interests. If impressions are higher than reach, it means that your audience is looking at your posts multiple times.

Impressions and reach are key metrics to focus on because they provide you with numbers about leads and who is seeing posts.

If you're using a social media analytics tool to keep track of your metrics, be aware of the small changes from app to app to improve your analysis of your results. Businesses need to make sense of these two engagement metrics to have a better understanding of their audience. Remember that as reach increases, it leads to increased awareness.

As a business you want to design messages and content with your audience in mind, because there would be no value if your message is ignored. Emphasize on publishing shareable content. As your audience starts sharing your posts, your impressions and reach will increase. Let us know if you need help with your social media accounts!

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