Metrics are the fuel to the fire when marketing anything online. Many different types of metrics matter to a business with an online presence. Two of these metrics linked to increasing brand awareness are reach and impressions. These two metrics are incredibly valuable for analyzing true effectiveness on social media platforms and search results.
As a user scrolls any social media ads and marketing fill the news feed. Tracking how these ads impact the total number of people who engage with content gives marketers tools to increase sales. Focusing on either one of the metrics can achieve different online marketing goals.
Reach and impressions are very similar, but there are important differences relating to any given piece of content. Reach is the number of unique users who have engaged with your content. Impressions are the total number of times your content is displayed.
Reach will always be the smaller of the two metrics. An example would be if 400 people see and interact with an ad, the reach is 400. But that ad could have come up multiple times for individual users, which would not count each time towards reach.
Impressions count all those times ads come up regardless of who sees them. An example of impressions is when an ad is displayed 1000 times; then impressions are a thousand. It is possible that only 700 unique users saw the ad. There the reach would be 700, and the impressions are 1000.
Reach and impressions can be broken down even further or looked at differently. Both of these metrics can be tweaked in analytics to find slightly different data variations. This might reveal more about an audience or give better insight into a marketing strategy.
Two types of data exist that organizes reach metrics. Organic reach and Paid reach are the most common forms of this metric. Organic reach is the natural number of people seeing your ads without putting forth investment. In contrast, paid reach is a promotion to targeted audiences for a fee.
There are a couple of different impressions to take note of. Viewed impressions try to look at what percentage of ads are viewed by real people. Served impressions are how many times a platform publishes an ad regardless of whether it is seen.
Analytics tools use both metrics to discover the effective frequency from a target audience. Impressions are the wider of the two metrics and will include the reach numbers. Reach is more focused on closer contact with a potential customer. Interestingly every different social media platform treats reach and impressions differently.
Facebook and Instagram treat reach and impressions pretty much as defined here. Twitter and on the other hand, only tracks impressions and not reach. Snapchat has a system of reach and story views. Google tracks both reach and impressions in varying ways close to standard definitions.
It is clear that reach and impressions may share similarities, but they are very distinctive. There is no best metric to track. Both reach and impressions have their uses depending on the goal you want to achieve.
What are the goals that impressions focus on? Impressions will help show whether users are overwhelmed by too many ads. When impressions are incredibly high versus reach, there might be a problem. If an ad gets no immediate impressions, this could be a sign of poor content.
Impressions also really help with more immediate data collection. Moment-to-moment tracking of an ad gives working insight into effectiveness. Low impressions following ad deployment could reveal another area in need of attention.
The goals of using reach metrics are directly related to how good an ad is. Suppose an ad reaches many people but doesn’t translate into actual conversions for users, then the ad probably isn’t as good as it could be. Your content is doing very well if an ad brings in large reach relative to impressions.
There is an undeniable power in using reach and impressions to improve engagement online. Content is king and how that content interacts with prospective audiences is critical. Reach and impressions are the metrics that can take your online presence to the next level.