As social media marketers, we have access to an abundance of analytics that tell a story of our success. But with so many different metrics at our fingertips, it’s often difficult to ascertain which numbers are a true reflection of how we match up against our goals. Two of the most common pieces of data provided by the top social media platforms are reach and impressions, similar metrics that are commonly confused. Let’s take a crash course in social analytics to understand the difference between these two measurements:
Reach refers to the total number of unique users who saw a piece of your content. You can compare your monthly reach to your social community size to better understand how you’re connecting to your audience and if your community is actively engaging on a regular basis. For example, let's say you create a post and target it only towards those that follow your page. If your post has a reach of 50 people and your brand has a community of 100 people, your post reached 50% of your community. You can also improve your reach by creating share-worthy content so that your social followers share your content with their followers, expanding the number of people you are able to touch with your messaging. Growing your reach impacts brand awareness by introducing your brand to groups of people that may not yet know who you are.
Impressions refers to the total number of times your content was seen. This number reflects multiple interactions from each user. For example, one user could see your post in their News Feed on Facebook, and see it a second time if their friend shares the same post. You can compare your impressions to your reach to understand how many times on average each user saw your content. These repeat impressions are what affects brand recall. Repetition is key – the more times a person sees your brand and your message in their social media feeds, the more likely they are to recall your brand.
Reach vs Impressions
In the social media marketing world, there is much debate about which metrics are most valuable in communicating a brand’s success. In the metric match between reach and impressions, which one comes out on top?
The answer is dependent on your goal. If you’re looking to attract new consumers and expand your audience, reach is a better measurement of your social media success. If you’re looking to nurture those who are already familiar with your brand while also reaching new audiences, set a goal to increase your impressions. Understand that these two measurements are best analyzed together, alongside other measurements like engagement, clicks, and shares, to give you more comprehensive view of how your marketing efforts on social media are creating and nurturing brand advocates.
A good social media strategy stems from frequently and consistently analyzing and recalibrating. In order to grow your social media presence and increase your impact on social platforms, you must have goals in place – and measurements that allow you to see how close you are to achieving those goals. If you’re interested in seeing how you measure up against your marketing goals, reach out to us for a Social Media Assessment. We’ll help you benchmark your social media presence and give you recommendations and insights on how you can continue to grow in 2018 and beyond.