HOMEBlogImpressions versus Reach. What’s the Difference?

Impressions versus Reach. What’s the Difference?


Social media is part of everyone’s’ daily routine and in some cases our jobs. Regardless of your favorite social media channel, if it is Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google + and yes, even Twitter, social media is how we communicate with our friends and family, connect with brands, shop, and yes, even read the news. (if you can believe the news feed) In integrated brand marketing, public relations and social media are a powerful combination for getting your story to the masses. A savvy social media marketing agency can drive traffic to your client’s website and also increase brand awareness, especially if you integrate a social media influencer or celebrity influencer. As ata-driven marketing and PR agency, social media and influencer marketing are two of  our most sought after services because of our data transparency. The prospective question clients often ask if we were to sign with you, how would you measure our social media campaigns and how would we know how successful they were? So, is it impressions or is it reach that matters or are they the same thing? Impressions are the number of time the social media platform displays the post, content, or image. The total number of times a person saw a post, image or piece of content is called reach. Easy enough right; impressions and reach. Unfortunately, it is not the simple, and there are two different and distinctly unique types of reach – active and passive.

What is Active Reach?

Active reach simply is the number of people that likely viewed your post, image, or piece of content. Active reach is a difficult metric to track down because the various social media platforms record and report this metric differently. It is at this juncture that where impressions become confusing. Unless a social media user is engaging with your piece of content or post, it is tough to be sure how many people saw your post.

What is Passive Reach?

Passive Reach is the size of a particular audience that an image, post, or piece of content could potentially get to. For the record, fans and total followers fall under the passive reach category. At Dreamweaver Brand Communications, when we are running an influencer program for a client, passive reach is just one of many metrics and background information the influencer is vetted on. In most cases, a brand would want an influencer that has 1.5 million followers rather than the influencer who on has 1,500.

What are Impressions?

Impressions are the actual number of times the social media platform that is hosting the piece of content shows it, regardless if a person saw it or not. An easy example for impressions are Instagram and Twitter; when they display your content in their feed, they refer to that as an impression. Instagram and Twitter are not counting whether or not you, as a user scrolled down far enough through their feed to view it for themselves. Facebook, however, is a tad more accurate. Their system renders content on the go, so more likely than not you saw it. For example, when Dreamweaver Brand Communications runs a syndication campaign, we are interested in this metric. Dreamweaver’s Gerard always asks “how many eyeballs saw the article.” Think of it as a billboard, you drive by it but just can’t remember what it said. Billboard companies like Lamar, consider that an “impression.”

At Dreamweaver, we believe in teachable moments, and we will introduce one last metric and perhaps the most important into your social media vocabulary: Engagement. The number of people who interacted with your post, image, or piece of content is called engagement. Common forms of engagement are shares, likes, comments, or retweets. At Dreamweaver Influencer Marketing, we encourage our clients that have the budget to select influencers and celebrity influencers with high engagement and high passive reach upon our complete vetting.

When you are running an influencer marketing program, it is always best to report a combination of Engagement, Impressions, and then Reach (passive). These metrics ensure your client is presented the best possible influencer for their budget. Also, when you post your influencer campaign to social media, you want to have performance based metrics on hand to justify ROI to clients and budgets large and small.

While there are a plethora of metrics you can use to evaluate and demonstrate performance on all social media channels, it is important to educate both yourself and the client on what each metric truly means. By educating yourself and your client, it is a win-win for both. You shine when you report stellar influencer campaign metrics and your client feels like they know what is going on because you have educated them and shared knowledge. An informed client, is a happy client, at least at Dreamweaver Brand Communications.

Contact Dreamweaver Brand Communications today if you have questions on your current social media metrics or if your influencer marketing campaign needs a tune-up.

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