All you need to know about reach and impression

Reach vs Impression

There is a general confusion among many about reach and impression. It can be daunting when you are taking up social media marketing for your business for the first time, or if you have been at it for quite some time but hold staring contests with all these terms you cannot comprehend. So, what is the difference between reach and impression? This article is going to accept the role of your quick and simple guide. Let us dive right into it

Reach and impressions graph Source:


Well, the name itself kind of gives away its function. Reach refers to the number of users who viewed your content, or in other words and in a more irritating way, the number of users you have managed to reach.
You might have already built an audience, who are interested in what you have to offer and follow your social media account or page, but this by no means indicates that all of them are going to see your posts. This harsh and sad reality is something we all have to live with, and regardless of how amazing your posts are, they are just not going to be viewed by your entire “fanbase”.

Reach is a crucial concept to understand in a world where the number of followers is incredibly sought after. You could have millions of followers but only reach a thousand of them or two. How is that creating value for you? You want to deliver a message to your audience and it not reaching them is a waste of time and resources.
There are a few types of “reach” and each one of them requires a different approach to content creation.
1) Organic Reach

This is the one everybody should want to expand as much as possibly possible. Organic Reach refers to all the users who get to view your content without the use of paid ads. This basically means that you create content and have it be seen for free, be it on the users’ news feed, on the explore page or on your own page.
-> The higher the Organic Reach, the better the chances of more likes and higher engagement

2) Paid Reach

Paid Reach is what it is called, paid. This refers to posts that you used advertising tools to promote.
-> Checking the Reach on paid ads is important in analyzing their effectiveness

3) Viral Reach

This refers to posts that are so interest-piquing that they are shared and mentioned by users, allowing more people who are within their network to see or engage with them.
-> This is a good indicator of the shareability of your content


We now have a clearer idea of what Reach is. Impressions are a completely different metric from Reach, referring to the exposure of the post. In simple terms, it is the number of times your content was displayed to users. Still confused? Let us change that. A post can be viewed by users more than once; you may go back and watch that funny cat video your friend posted again a few times, which simply means that while the Reach stays constant as you are a ‘unique’ viewer, each time you re-watch that video is counted as an Impression. However, Impression also includes users to whom you content was presented, but whom did not engage or maybe even see it.
Similar to reach, there are three types of Impression to have in mind:

1) Organic Impressions

This refers to the number of times your content was displayed to your audience.

2) Paid Impressions

This refers to the number of times your paid advertisements or sponsored content was displayed to your target audience.

3) Viral Impressions

Viral Impressions refer to the number of times your content, either organic or paid, was shared and displayed to users related to your own audience.

Why Should You Care?

You probably already care a fair amount if you have gotten this far down the article, but there is a possibility you do not know why understanding these metrics is a valuable step towards better social media performance. It is not Reach versus Impression but rather Reach AND Impression because these two create a powerful measurement tool together.
The first important element is brand recognition. Familiarity is only created if your target audience sees you; therefore, Reach is a crucial element to understand and work to improve on. If you do not have a crystal-clear idea of the difference between Reach and Impression, you are set for focusing on all the wrong things. Purely aiming to show your content to as many people as possible is not the goal, rather is distinguishing between interested and uninterested audience.
Additionally, growing your fanbase is consistently existent on to-do lists. Understanding Reach and Impression helps you achieve that by giving you statistics of how well you are doing in the audience growth department. Having a number-based analysis tool helps you measure the performance of your posts and identify the best performing ones, which in turn assists you in increasing the quality of your content and producing content that would grab the attention of more users. It’s a win!
Whether you run a simple page or a serious growing business, making use of Reach and Impression is inevitable and they cannot be overlooked. So, we suggest you embrace them and make them work for you.

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