REACH VS. IMPRESSIONS

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By Brittani Harris, Digital PR Lead

1.86 billion.

That’s how many active Facebook users there are to date.

So what does this mean for marketers? In case you had any doubts about marketing your business on Facebook, you shouldn’t. It is the largest social network by far and has been the default choice for advertisers. Any why not?! Social media has proven to be more effective than traditional media. One defining metric that defines the better option between traditional media and social media is cost per thousand impressions (CPM). The goal of any advertiser should be to reach as many relevant people as possible at the lowest cost and Facebook is the only form of media that can expose you to over 1,000 people for less than $5.

While it is the more cost effective, it isn’t always easy to navigate or read the analytics. If you have spent any time working on a social media campaign, reach and impression are two terms you are no stranger to hearing. While it is very easy to group them together, they do have their own definitions and if you want to measure the results of your social media campaigns correctly, it is important to know the difference between the two.

Reach. Simply put, REACH is the number of people who see your content. On Facebook, reach measures how your content is spread across the platform. If you work in social media, you have high hopes that every single one of your followers sees your published content or ads, but unfortunately they don’t. Reach is a measurement of your effective audience, those unique people who see your content.

Impression. In the world of social media IMPRESSION means that content was delivered to someone’s feed. The viewer doesn’t have to engage with the post in order for it to count as an impression. So, when designing your ad be sure to think of what type of “impression” your ad will make. Your first impression makes a difference and could be a determining factor in whether or not the viewer clicks on your post.

While it is natural to get excited when you see you’ve received a lot of impressions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that many people saw your ad. One person can have multiple impressions on the same piece of content.  For example, if you have 200 followers and your ad reached 200 people with 200 impressions, that means your 200 followers saw your ad. Now, say you have 200 followers and your ad reached 200 people with 400 impressions, that means every single one of your followers has seen your post twice.

If it is still confusing, think of it like this, reach is the number of people who have seen your content while impressions are the total number of times the people you’ve reached have seen your content.