Are you a new content creator on social media? If so, the topic of reach vs impressions may have caused a confusion when you are learning to grow your following.
The problem is, impressions and reach have been used interchangeably while they refer to two different metrics. At the same time, both contribute to your social channels’ growth.
Now if you ask, “what is the difference between reach and impressions?”, this is the right article for you. Here, you will look at the definition of impressions and reach. You are also going to learn about the importance of these metrics in delivering content.
Without further ado, let’s read on.
What IsThe Difference Between Reach vs Impressions?
The definition of reach is the number of users who viewed your content. Meanwhile, impressions refers to how many times your content gets displayed to users, whether they are viewed or not. Note that both are affected by not only followers but also those who do not follow your page.
With that in mind, the difference between impression and reach lies in the prerequisite. Social media users need to view your content for it to receive a reach, while the same content can gain impressions as long as they appear on someone’s screen.
To understand the difference between reach vs impressions better, let’s think of an example. Say your page has 1,000 followers. When you upload a post, it does not automatically get 1,000 reach because not all of your followers may have seen and clicked on it. However, the post can obtain more impressions than reach since it is delivered to your followers.
Not only that, one user can give your post multiple impressions. This happens if the piece of content is displayed to the same user either as a shared post or a recommended post, in addition to it showing up on their home feed.
Reach vs Impressions in Various Social Platforms
It would have been simple to learn about impressions vs reach with the definition we mentioned above. Unfortunately, each social media platform defines the two metrics a little differently. That being said, let’s dive into what some of the most popular platforms consider as reach and impressions.
According to Facebook’s help center, reach is the number of users who see your content at least once. Meanwhile, impressions on the platform refers to the number of times your content is shown on users’ screen.
Furthermore, Facebook breaks down reach vs impressions into three categories:
This is when users see your post or when your post is displayed on their screen in a natural way. For instance, when users scroll on their feed or visit your page.
This is when users see your advertisement or when your advertisement is displayed on their screen.
This is when users see your post or when your post is displayed on their screen as the result of their friends’ engagement with the post, such as liking, commenting, and sharing.
If you are looking towards comparing reach vs impressions on Twitter, you probably will get confused at first. That is because Twitter measures impressions but not reach by default.
Some suggest that you can estimate Twitter reach by dividing the impressions of a tweet by the number of your followers, but that is inaccurate. To know how many reach your tweets get, you need to use a third-party analytics tool like Sproutsocial.
Such a tool also defines reach as the number of people who see your content, like what Facebook does. Meanwhile, impressions on Twitter refers to how many times your tweet is shown on users’ feed and search results.
The definition of reach vs impressions on Instagram is the same as Facebook’s. The social platform describes reach as how many users view your post, whereas impressions is the rate of which your post shows up on users’ screen.
Interestingly, Instagram’s built-in analytics does not only show your reach and impressions of each post. It also breaks down the source of your impressions, such as from home feed, profile view, and hashtags feed. Thus, you have a better idea of how users potentially find your content.
Instead of impressions, Snapchat has story views. This is the number of times a story is opened and viewed for at least one second. So, rather than reach vs impressions, you are talking about reach vs story views on Snapchat.
Snaphcat defines reach as a metric that counts how many followers see your story. With that in mind, reach in this platform does not include users who have not followed you.
Similar to Snapchat, TikTok has its own terminology for reach and impressions. This platform calls reach “reached audience” and impressions “video views”.
Reached audience is the number of people who watch your video, while video views is the number of times your video is viewed.
YouTube has unique viewers in place of reach, which works like reach in other social platforms. Therefore, instead of reach vs impressions, it is unique viewers vs impressions on YouTube.
YouTube’s definition of impressions is the frequency of which your video’s thumbnail is shown to users. You can dig deeper to check the source of impressions and how many clicks a content gets from those impressions.
LinkedIn’s description of impressions is more specific than other platforms that we have mentioned. To get an impression, your content has to be viewed by a signed in user for at least 300 milliseconds. Not only that, 50% of the post has to be visible.
Unfortunately, LinkedIn does not track reach. So, you cannot compare reach vs impressions on LinkedIn. The closest metric that you have to reach is page views, which is how many signed in users visit your page.
Pinterest’s equivalent of reach is total audience. This metric measures the number of people who see or engage with your pin.
Meanwhile, Pinterest describes impressions as how many times a pin is on users’ home page, board, or search result.
Reach vs Impressions: Which Is More Important?
At this point, you are already clear with the difference between reach and impressions. The first directly deals with users, while the latter is related to the showing of content.
But you might wonder which of these metrics that you should prioritize. The answer is, both of them are important to monitor if you want to grow your social media following, but in different ways. Below is the explanation.
Why Should You Monitor Reach?
After learning about reach vs impressions, you know that reach refers to the number of people who view your content. In other words, it shows how relevant or useful your content is to your target audience.
Due to that reason, if a post has a high reach, it is a signal that you should use posts like it to start an engagement. A common example is to ask for followers’ opinion at the end of your post.
In contrast, if your post does not get a lot of reach, it means that the content does not strike your target audience’s interest. Thus, aside from learning the relation between reach vs impressions, you need to better understand your audience to know what kind of information or entertainment that they want from creators like you.
Why Should You Monitor Impressions?
Impressions may not be closer to user engagement than reach, but it can give you an idea of how far your content is exposed to potential audiences.
Furthermore, if the platform’s analytics mention the source of impressions, you can have a better understanding of how people may have discovered your posts.
For instance, if your Facebook post gets a high level of viral impressions, it means that the content drives engagement. This case illustrates the relation between reach vs impressions because it also means that as your content’s impressions increase, so does the reach.
Apart from that, impressions are an essential aspect in social media advertising. The higher the impressions of an ad, the more that it shows up on your target audience. This is important since it commonly takes more than one viewing for people to click on an ad.
Reach vs Impressions: Conclusion
Understanding the difference between impression and reach allows you to know how each matters to your social media content. Reach refers to the number of users who viewed your content. The higher the reach, the better you are at delivering the content that is useful for your target audience.
Impressions refers to the number of times your content gets displayed to users. The more impressions a post has, the more exposed it is to social media users. This can mean that your post attracts engagement to the point that it gets recommended to people’s feed.
As you familiarize yourself with reach vs impressions, it is also important to know what each social platform calls them. For example, reach in TikTok is “reached audience”, whereas Pinterest names it “total audience”.
We hope this article helps you to become a better content creator on social media. If you want other insights about content creation, be sure to subscribe to our blog!