When talking about digital marketing, social media marketing is one of the best strategies you can optimize to reach your growth goals. Many people argue in the battle reach vs. impressions which one is more important.

Social media comes with lots of brand awareness metrics you can make use of. These metrics include reach, impressions, clicks, shares, mentions, comments, and likes, even downvotes.

Tracking these metrics is vital for the success of your marketing campaign. It can show you how well it is doing and what content your target audience would like to see.

If you’re new in social media marketing and feel a little overwhelmed about choosing the metrics to track. Or, if you’ve been conducting the strategy and wondering whether or not your campaign is successful, this article is for you.

Throughout this post, we’ll help you understand the difference between reach vs impressions and see how tracking the two social media metrics will bring your company success.

Reach vs. Impressions: What’s the Difference?

Reach shows you the total number of unique people who choose to interact with your content. Meanwhile, impressions refer to how many times your content shows up on users’ screens.

Here’s a scenario. Suppose Instagram has shown an ad 1,000 times on users’ feed. In this case, 1,000 is the number of impressions the ad gets. On top of that, if 450 users see or click the ad, the reach will be 450.

Impressions are always higher than reach. This is because a user can see the same ad multiple times. Every time the ad pops up, it counts as one impression.

Why Track Reach or Impressions?

reach and impressions shown on the computer screen

When talking about social media marketing metrics, there are many options we can choose to measure our success. However, reach and impressions are the two metrics every social media marketer should know.

To help you better understand reach vs. impressions, let’s see which areas the two metrics can be a big help for your company.


Reach focuses on tracking content engagement. Whether they’re clicks, shares, mentions, or likes, all the interactions help you figure out the estimated Return on Investment (ROI) for your business’ social media marketing campaign.

Here’s why it’s essential to track reach:

  • Know your audience. Reach is the metric that can help you determine what tone and voice best suit your target audience.
  • Minimize ineffective campaigns. The reach count helps you make smarter decisions on how big your content marketing campaign should be or where you should invest your money.


On the one hand, if you’re seeking a metric to track how your business is doing in the market, you can watch your impressions.

Let’s say your online shop launched. In this case, you need to promote your business. Therefore, keeping track of your impressions can help you introduce your products to a broader audience.

Here are some other reasons to track your impressions:

  • Improve brand awareness. The more exposure your content acquires, the more likely it is to be seen by a broader audience. Therefore, brand awareness is often the number one objective of tracking impressions.
  • Expand community size. Higher impression numbers lead to higher content engagement. The more a single user comes across your content, the higher the chance to turn them into a follower.

Reach in Practice

This section discusses how to maximize Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter reach for your social media marketing success.


Facebook reach speaks for the number of unique people who see your content on their screen. The platform has three different categories of reach: organic reach, paid reach, and viral reach.

Organic reach refers to the total number of people who saw your post directly from their News Feed. Your organic content reach is usually close to the number of your Facebook followers. Thus, if you have 5,000 of them, your organic reach will be 5,000.

facebook ads shown in the facebook for business page

If you utilize Facebook Ads, you’ll get paid reach. It’s the number of unique users who see your piece of content through ads. With paid reach, you’ll get the chance to get to a broader audience.

Viral reach denotes the number of people who saw your Facebook page or posts through a third person. This type of Facebook reach shows that your content receives many shares and has high engagement.

Here are some tips to acquire more Facebook reach:

  • Analyze followers’ active time. On your Facebook Analytics page, you can find valuable metrics on the Facebook Audience Insights tool. This tool helps identify who your audience is and when they are online.
  • Repost evergreen content. Repost content that is always relevant, and doesn’t need to be season-specific. Your best-performing content can reach your new audience too. Keep in mind to give a considerable time gap between the original content and the reposted one.
  • Post trivia. Easy-to-digest content such as fun facts or quotes are user favorites. Therefore, collect some trivia regarding the latest issues in your industry and post.
  • Post frequently. To get be\tter engagement results, post multiple times, and at different times a day. So, each of those posts will reach a different set of people of your Facebook followers.


tracking the instagram insights with the app

Instagram reach tells you the total number of unique people who see and interact with your piece of content, whether it’s a post or a story. There are two types of Instagram reach: organic reach and paid reach.

Organic reach comes from the content that successfully gets into your target audience’s news feed. On the one hand, paid reach is from the content that the Instagram Ads sponsors to post.

While beating the new Instagram algorithm is quite a challenge, here are some suggestions you can try to boost your reach:

  • Analyze your audience. Instagram will show its users the post they’re most likely to love. Thus, knowing who your audience is and what they favor can help you increase your Instagram reach.
  • Post UGC. User-generated content can build trust and relationships with your audience. Also, posting reviews is a great way to get new followers to engage with your business, leading them to purchase your products.
  • Make Instagram stories. This feature allows many interactions to happen. Users can reply, comment, react, even share your stories with their friends. The more interaction your story gets, the more reach it makes.
  • Conduct influencer marketing. As influencers have many millions, even billions of followers, collaborating with Instagram influencers helps you gain more reach.
  • Encourage engagement. Using the poll and quiz features on stories can increase engagement, leading to an increased reach. On top of that, hosting a giveaway can also boost your reach.


On Twitter, you can track your reach on the engagement report section. The report shows you the number of unique users who engage with a tweet. Engagement can be retweeting, liking, and replying. However, a mere click on the profile picture can also count as engagement.

Here are the best tactics to increase your Twitter reach:

  • Tweet at the right time. You can do this by taking notes when your tweet gets the most likes, replies, or retweets. Or, you can go to Twitter Analytics for quicker and more accurate analysis.
  • Repost content. Twitter is fast-paced, as approximately 6,000 tweets are delivered every second. Reusing your tweets is an excellent way to get more reach, as your followers may not see it the first time you published it.
  • Don’t get too pushy. To avoid sounding too salesy, use the 80/20 ratio. Meaning your business-related tweet should only take up 20% of your tweets. Also, always respond to the mentions of your company to help you look more social.
  • Use hashtags. Twitter presents its trending topics with hashtags. Therefore, make use of this feature to help your tweet reach a broader audience. Also, don’t forget to monitor the hashtag performance regularly.
  • Run influencer marketing campaigns. Not only will this marketing strategy generate new leads, but it also presents social proof of your brand. Additionally, influencer marketing helps you produce compelling content.

Impressions in Practice

In this section, we’ll look at the practice of impressions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Facebook impressions denote the number of times your ad or content is showcased for users. If you’re using Facebook Ads, you can track two types of Facebook impressions: served impressions and viewed impressions.

Served impressions show you the total number of times your content has shown up on the platform. It doesn’t matter if users can’t see it due to unsuccessful renders or scroll too fast to notice. As long as Facebook has put the ad out, it will count as one served impression.

On the other side, viewed impressions measure the times your content successfully enters users’ screens. Over time, marketers have focused on tracking Facebook viewed impressions, as they are closer to accuracy when creating sample size.

ppc statistics in the computer screen

The best way to increase your viewed impressions is by utilizing Facebook Ads. Or, you can join programs like pay-per-click and affiliate marketing.

These programs help minimize the risk of your ads getting delivered below the fold. If you can choose to display your ad where lots of Facebook users could see it, it will boost your Facebook viewed impressions.


What are impressions on Instagram? It’s measuring how many times your content appears on users’ stories or feeds. As Instagram’s monthly active users hit one billion, maximizing Instagram impressions is the best way to increase brand awareness.

Suppose you choose to display your ad three times a week. In this case, your target audience will see your ad three times a week at most. Running into an ad multiple times can get the audience to be familiar with it.

When a user gets more and more exposure for your brand, you have the chance to turn them into a lead. When he starts to reach out to you, it’s time to turn him into a customer.

instagram ads shown in the instagram business page

You can generate more impressions by utilizing Instagram Ads. The service will display your ad to users who it thinks will be interested in your products.


Twitter impressions represent the number of times a post or a conversation appears on a user’s timeline or search results. As it provides you with the big picture of how far your tweet travels, you can use this metric to find out the best way to promote your business on Twitter.

Let’s say you post a tweet to your 300 followers.

Suppose half of them, with approximately 100 Twitter followers each, retweet your post. In that case, it’ll make your tweet obtain at least 15,000 more impressions. Further, when a few people start replying to the tweet, it will cause an impression surge.

However, your tweet may sometimes get a high impression count but a low engagement rate. In this case, you need to fine-tune your delivery.

twitter impressions in the twitter analytics

As you can see, tracking impressions is great for finding out which content your audience favors. Therefore, once you find out the best way to communicate with them, keep doing it because it works.

Using Reach and Impressions for Your Marketing Strategy

You’ve seen how tracking your reach and impression stats leads to many benefits for your social media marketing campaign. Depending on your business’ goal, you can decide which one to focus on, reach, or impressions.

However, integrating the data collected from both metrics can help you figure out your business’s best social media marketing campaign.

You’ve known that the number of impressions helps you see how many times your chosen social media displays your ad. However, since a user can repeatedly see a single post, you don’t know how often these people actually come across it.

This is where your reach and impressions data can help you.

Find the Average Impressions per User

With the measurement from both metrics, you can find the average impressions per user. To get the number, all you need to do is divide the total number of impressions by the number of reaches you acquired.

Knowing your average impressions per user is actually beneficial. It can lead you to determine the effective frequency to avoid ad fatigue.

Effective frequency shows you the number of times your audiences see your ads or posts until they deliver a response.

In the ‘60s, Herbert E. Krugman believed that a three-time exposure on an ad was enough to make people engage with a brand. Later in the ‘80s, Thomas Smith confronted that it had to be twenty.

There’s no right or wrong in this situation. What’s clear is you need to know that your competitor’s social media marketing strategy affects how you’ll find your effective frequency.

Avoid Ad Fatigue

buildings with too many ads on them

Ad fatigue relates to the user’s state of annoyance due to seeing your content way too often. It can lower your CTR as ad frequency increases. Also, be careful as ad fatigue will hurt your brand’s image.

To avoid getting ad fatigue for your business, you can do the following tips:

  • Watch your ad campaign. Always check your published contents’ reach and impressions analysis on your social media analytics dashboard to know how well they perform.
  • Provide multiple ad versions. Using different looks and formatting for your ads will lessen the possibility for users to get worn out. Applying ad rotation will also help you figure out the best style for your target audience.
  • Use varying Call to Action. Your messaging also determines your social media marketing success. Therefore, experience with different CTA to avoid ad fatigue and boost your reach and impressions.


You’ve learned the difference between reach and impressions on social media marketing. While reach refers to the number of people who saw your content, impressions show you the number of times your social media of choice displays your content.

All in all, reach and impressions are the key metrics to maximize your digital marketing campaign, in this case, content marketing using social media. You can focus on improving one of the two metrics or utilizing the two metrics altogether to achieve whatever company goals on your list.

Should you have any questions in mind, feel free to reach out to us in the comments.