Facebook Reach vs. Impressions. Everything You Need to Know in Just 3 Minutes!

When you use Facebook and Instagram advertising for business and social media marketing, you have to track lots of social media metrics.

Two key stats look very similar but have different meanings and significance. In this article, I'm going to consider Reach and Impressions to see what exactly they are and which of them is more beneficial for your business.
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Date: Nov 25, 2021
Word count: 909
Reading time: 3 min

Let's start with definitions

The Reach metric is the total number of users who have seen your advertisement. It's simple right? For example, you have published an ad, and 300 users saw it. In total, your ad was seen by 300 users. And that's your ad reach.

Now, let's talk about impressions. Facebook Impressions are the total number of times your ad was viewed. Oh, wait! Isn't it the same as the number of people who saw your ad? Not exactly.

Let's imagine you published an ad, and five users saw it. As we defined earlier, these five would be your reach. However, some of these users could see your ad more than once. Sometimes users see an ad again and again because the Facebook algorithm puts that ad in front of them quite some times automatically. As a result, your ad was seen by five people, but it was viewed 11 times. Therefore, your number of multiple impressions is 11.
Social media metrics
Let's repeat. Reach is how many users saw your ad. The number of impressions is how many times your ad was seen. Even if some users saw it more than once.

What is the difference?

Ok, so we've compared Reach vs. Impressions, and there is a slight distinction between these metrics. But is it necessary to know the difference between the two?

Businesses usually have to focus on just one of these metrics. Without understanding the benefits of each, you can't decide which one is suitable for you. Do you know what the benefits of each are? Let's take a look.

You could say that Reach is an extensive metric. It reflects the size of your audience. When Reach is rising, it means your audience is getting bigger, and more people are learning about your business. However, Reach lacks quality.

Let's suppose a person saw your post or ad. Even if it was just once, your Reach rise by one. But people ignore most posts they see on social media, especially ads. In other words, Reach is good for getting to know new people.
But higher Reach doesn't necessarily mean more sales.
People usually don't buy products after seeing an ad just once. To get them interested, you would need to show them your ad at least two or three times. Keep in mind that too many ads are just as bad as too few.
Average impression frequency
If you want people to become buyers as soon as possible, you'll need to trigger impulse purchases. You can do that by offering products with a low price and strong emotional value. This type of social media marketing strategy is excellent for online stores. Read more about Facebook ads for eCommerce here.

But even if you're selling products with a high emotional value, you still need to take care of Impressions. By raising the number of Impressions, you increase the chance of showing posts and ads to the same people more often. As a result, these people accumulate more interest in your product.

Therefore, the number of Impressions is an intensive metric. It reflects the quality of your marketing efforts. You could also say Reach is more like width, and Impressions are more like depth.

Instagram, Twitter and other platforms

The last thing I'd like to mention in this comparison of Reach vs. Impressions is how different social media platforms see these metrics. Facebook describes Reach as the number of people who viewed your ads at least once. It's calculated as a sum of three metrics.

The first one is Organic Reach, which is all the social media users you've been able to reach for free. The second one is Paid Reach, which is users who saw your paid ads or boosted posts. The last one is Viral Reach - users who saw your post because their friends interacted with it.

As for Impressions, Facebook defines this metric as the number of times your advertisements were on screen.

Instagram defines Reach as the number of unique social media users who saw your post or story. And Instagram Impressions are the number of times they were viewed. As you can see, these metrics are similarly defined as those on Facebook.

Twitter doesn't track Reach but registers Twitter Impressions any time a user sees one of your tweets.
Twitter’s impression count
Finally, in Google Analytics, you can track two similar metrics to Reach and Impressions. Users are defined as the number of users who have visited your site at least once, which is similar to Reach. And Page Views refer to the number of pages viewed by all site visitors, which is similar to Impressions.
Other important metrics
It was a comparison of Reach versus Impressions. I hope you found this informative. Now you can better understand how to read and use these metrics for your business.

If you have a project in mind and would like help from a reliable social media advertising agency, don't hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you, and we are always ready to enhance your advertising campaign!
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