Digital marketers often come across these two terms, Reach and Impressions. Of course, most know that both of them are separate concepts, but not everybody knows exactly what the difference is. People tend to misinterpret and get them mixed up.
Perhaps you may also ask which one to focus on and which one will be more valuable to your social media marketing like advertising in Facebook, Instagram or your Search Engine Marketing effort. Before answering those questions, let’s first define the two terms.
Definition of Reach and Impressions
Reach is the total number of unique people who have seen your content, while impressions are the number of times your content has been displayed, regardless of clicks. In other words, one content could have more impressions than reach, if the content was viewed more than once by an individual. This is due to the possibility that one user can see the same content multiple times. For example, the same content can have 10 impressions when seen by 5 individuals twice.
Facebook classifies reach into three different categories. First, there is organic reach which is the number of people that sees your content without any fee. Then, there is paid reach that refers to the number of people that sees your paid content, categorized as an ad. Last, there is viral reach which refers to the number of people who saw your content from another individual through likes, shares, or comments.
Similarly, Instagram applies the same principle with Facebook. Reach on Instagram means the total number of unique accounts that have seen your Instagram post or story. On the other hand, impressions calculate the total number of times your post or story was seen.
Which one to focus on?
As they are two different metrics, the answer would depend on your objective. If you want to know the exact number of people who viewed your content, then focus on reach. You should consider this if you want to increase your brand awareness.
Reach can also tell you if there’s something wrong with your ads. If your ads successfully reached a lot of people, but there is minimum conversion, then there might be something wrong with the copy/visual or even the landing page. If you’re worried of overwhelming your audience with the same content, then you might want to focus on increasing your reach.
On the other hand, tracking impressions will help you understand what kind of content is viewed the most. If your content has few or even no impressions, then you should consider improving your content.
Understanding the difference is important for you as a digital marketer and for your business to increase the conversions and sales.