Digital Marketing

Impressions vs reach in Social Networks

Each social network uses its own system to count the impressions and the reach of the publications. Depending on your marketing objectives and the social networks where you have a presence, you will have to pay attention to one piece of information or another.

Social media marketing has certain peculiarities when it comes to analyzing metrics. The terms “reach” and “impressions” can be confusing  if you don’t have much experience with marketing campaigns on these channels yet.

Today  we are going to see the differences between impressions and reach in the main social networks . We will also see how to interpret these metrics to help you improve your strategy and what are the  most important KPIs in each social network .


Reach indicates the number of people who see your content. But, make no mistake. Not all of your followers see all of your posts, so reach is the average of your effective audience. In other words,  this data refers to unique users who have seen your post .

This means that reach measures how your content spreads on social media.


Impressions indicate the number of times your content is displayed. This is where the first confusion can occur.

Why? Well, because the  same person can have several impressions of the same content . On the other hand, an impression does not imply that the user has interacted with that publication.

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Apart from this differentiation, each social network has its own way of counting impressions and reach .


Facebook takes into account different types of reach and impressions, which further complicates the interpretation of metrics.

Reach on Facebook  is divided into three categories:

  • Organic . Indicate the number of unique users who have seen your unsponsored content in the news feed.
  • Paid . It is the number of unique users who have seen your ad on the platform.
  • Viral . This number shows the number of unique users who have seen your post because a friend has interacted with your content by sharing, commenting, or “liking” it.

Depending on the objectives that you have set for yourself in your social media marketing strategy, you may be interested in promoting one type or another of reach.

Impressions on Facebook  can also be of three types:

  • Organic . Indicate the number of times your unsponsored content has been shown.
  • Paid . This is the number of times your paid content, such as ads, has been shown.
  • Virales . As in reach, viral impressions are what show through interactions.

The most confusing part of impressions can happen with ads.

When an ad is shown, it counts as an impression but it doesn’t count whether it has been seen or not. Why is this happening? Impressions count ads that may appear below the presentation or when the user has already left the page . For this reason, we must pay attention to the data of “impressions seen”, which are counted when the ad appears on the screen of the device.

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The analytics tool included in  Twitter does not measure reach but impressions . This social network identifies an impression every time a user views your tweet. Therefore, this metric would be very similar to scope.

Additionally,  responses to tweets are also counted as impressions . That is, the initial impressions plus the responses generated in the thread are added.

In its statistics, Twitter shows a bar graph of impressions, the number of tweets and the number of organic impressions obtained.  For Twitter , engagement counts  ,  that is, the clicks obtained on a publication .

We recommend that you look at the  main tools for scheduling tweets . It will be very useful when launching publications when you think they will have a higher volume of impressions.


Reach and impressions on Instagram measure me separately. Impressions are the number of times users view content , be it a story, video, or other post. Reach measures the unique users who interact with your posts .

Now, in this case, a particularity must be taken into account. For Instagram a unique user can be a follower or a person to whom your content is shown because it is related to their interests .

This can result in prints being higher than the reach. In that case, your posts may be being shown to the same person multiple times. Learn how to get the  most out of your Instagram account .


The metric you should pay attention to should always be the one that is aligned with your social media marketing goals.

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If your strategy is based on  paid ads , the most important thing will be to analyze the impressions . This data will give you a clue to know if the segmentation of your target audience is adequate.

However,  if your goal is to increase your brand recognition, you are probably more interested in paying attention to reach . Reach gives you a ballpark number of potential customers, as it measures the people who interact with your brand.

In any case,  both impressions and reach are essential metrics  to know the  engagement  that your brand generates and to know who sees your publications.

What metric do you consider most important for your social media marketing strategy  ? What tactics do you use to improve your numbers? Leave us your feedback on reach and impressions on social media.

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