Reach Vs Impressions and What's the Difference

Which metrics should you track?

In social media circles, we are faced with the age-old question: which came first? Reach or Impressions. Well, the answer depends on which social media platform you are using. As it stands, each platform uses a different definition for Reach Vs Impressions. So, what's really important is determining your key business objectives and goals, and then focus on how you apply your metric tracking strategy, based on the social media platform. 

The broad-based definition for Reach and Impressions are as follows: 

  1. According to Net Reach in Advertising, Net Reach in advertising refers to the total number of persons with at least one view of an ad, i.e., they have been exposed to the medium at least once. A viewer is considered to be reached if they have viewed the work at all.

  2. Here is how Brick Marketing, defines impressions, they are sometimes called a view or an ad view, is a term that refers to the point in which an ad is viewed once by a visitor, or displayed once on a web page.

So, how you use reach or impressions, fully depend on what you are trying to accomplish from an advertising or branding perspective. If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, reach might be the better option. However, if you are working on increasing brand awareness, then impressions will likely be a better option. 

Here a few things to consider regarding reach and impressions:

  • What's best to track?

  • Focus in impressions?

  • Why focus in reach?

  • You should track both reach and impressions

  • What to track other than reach and impressions?

The answers to these questions are clearly defined in this Hootsuite blog post.Keep in mind that having a cohesive social media strategy will help you determine which metrics you should focus on, based primarily on what you need to accomplish.    

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