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Instagram Reach vs Impressions: What’s More Important?

Instagram reach vs impressions

With the launch of Instagram Stories, advertisers are scrambling to figure out how they can use this new feature for their marketing strategy.

The main question that seems to be on everyone’s mind is “What should I track?” and “What’s more important reach vs impressions?”

The two metrics marketers need to watch when it comes to tracking social media analytics and their campaigns are reach and impressions. But, when it comes to reach vs impressions the answer gets a little unclear. As you’ll see in the following paragraphs, these metrics work together in order to give you a better idea of what your campaign is doing well and where it needs improvement.

What Are Instagram and Facebook Impressions?

An impression is counted every time your ad appears on a unique user’s feed, whether they actually click it or not.

So what happens when a user in the target audience doesn’t tap on the post and just scrolls past it in their news feed? Does that still count as an impression?

According to Tech Crunch, reach and impressions are measured only when the ad is seen by the user.

Clearly, this metric shouldn’t be relied upon as the most important one. Unique users may see your ad in their news feed or stories but never interact with it, so their reach vs impressions won’t increase. But if you pay attention to your reach (see below), you’ll be able to determine how many users are seeing your ad in general without any further analysis needed.

Why Are Reach and Impressions Important on Social Media Platforms?

The possible reason why marketing professionals and brands want the maximum reach and impressions possible is that many of these people are looking for a quick return. They’re not interested in long-term results, but rather how much revenue they could make within a short period of time.

As we’ve already mentioned, though, the number of possible conversions (clicks) may be quite low because there’s no way to track whether or not your ad was actually seen by someone who would find it valuable enough to follow through with the intended action.

At the end of the day, really all you’re gathering is an insight into the ad itself. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, then reach and impressions are just fine. If you’re looking to generate direct revenue with your marketing efforts, then you’d be better off tracking other metrics that will help give you a more definite answer about how well your campaign is doing.

How Do You Measure Social Media Impressions?

Here’s a quick breakdown of how to measure and track impressions:

  • Go to the Insights section of your Instagram account;
  • Click “Posts”;
  • Select the posts that you want to track;
  • Use the drop-down menus and select how many times you want each post to show up. Make sure not to overdo it and only track relevant posts, because if you set this number too high, there’ll be no way for you to determine which of these were actually viewed by users.

What Is Social Media Reach?

Social media reach engagement metrics are used to determine how many people see your posts in their feeds or on their timelines.

This metric shows the minimum number of users who have seen any one of your posts across all networks where they’ve followed your page – even if only one post was shown multiple times per user.

Reach is the sum total of all the unique individuals whom you have potentially reached at some point during your campaign period – so even if someone has seen your ad more than once, they are counted as one unique user.

You should keep in mind that the number of users who saw your ad is not always greater than the number of impressions you got, because some people may have seen it only once or twice without actually tapping on it.

Why Is Social Media Reach Important?

If you want to determine whether or not your marketing strategy is performing well, then reach vs other factors is an important indicator for this type of evaluation. You can track how much reach and impressions you got since the campaign started and compare this information with other statistics such as engagement rates, post frequency, etc., but until recently there was no easy way to track the number of actual people who were reached by all these ads.

The new Instagram algorithm updates made it so that as long as people see your posts, you can keep track of exactly who is seeing them and how often they do this.

How Do You Measure Social Media Reach?

For Instagram, here’s a quick guide on how to monitor your reach:

  • Go to the Insights section;
  • Choose “Profile”;
  • Select “Overview” and enter the starting and ending dates for your campaign period;
  • Check the box next to “Reach” to find out more information about this metric.

Keep in mind that it measures reach and impressions only when users actually saw your ads. This means that if someone has seen an ad for more than one post, they will be counted once because it’s still considered one impression even though they saw it more than once.

Reach vs Impressions: What is the difference?

The simple answer?

Impressions:   This number represents how many times an ad was served.

Reach:   This number represents how many unique users saw your ad.

So what’s the difference? Well, reach and impressions differ in a few ways. Impressions measure every single time an advertisement appears, regardless of who sees it – while reach only counts unique users who see your campaign at least once. Average impressions is based on the entirety of your campaign. You can have multiple impressions from the same user across multiple versions of your paid content.

Paid reach gives you a more accurate picture of the number of unique users being served in your social media campaign and allows for more accurate audience targeting. That’s why reach is one of the key metrics to track on a moment-to-moment basis. Instagram impressions and impression metrics, while still important metrics to track, give you a less accurate view of the campaign success and only a fraction of the significant impact of the social media campaign.

How Can I Measure Reach vs Impressions?

We already mentioned that it’s really easy to determine the number of reach and impressions you got for your posts. But how do you measure reach? And what is more important, reach vs impressions?

For example, if somebody only sees your ad once (regardless of whether they clicked on it or not), they will be counted as one person in the reach number. But if they see your ad several times, they’ll be counted each time as a separate impression even though these are still following the same person.

If you want to find out more information about how exactly Instagram tracks this type of data and how organic impressions measure access to your ads, then you can go directly to their help page and read through it yourself.

Reach is important because it lets you know which ads were actually shown to users who might be interested in seeing them. This way, you will have a chance to adjust your ads based on the performance metrics.

Which Is Better on Instagram Reach vs Impressions?

So, which is better to track, organic reach vs impressions? There is no straightforward answer to this question. It all comes down to your own marketing goals. If you only have a small advertising budget compared with the number of users on Instagram, then it’s much more effective to measure how many people saw your ads (impressions) than to figure out who actually reached them (the reach metric).

An audience might see an ad several times but they aren’t seeing it when they are in the buying mood, so it won’t really matter if the reach is high.  But if you have a high ad budget and want to make sure that as many people as possible see your ads then the reach number is the way to go.

After all, you can’t sell something that nobody knows about. So if your goal is to simply introduce your company or your latest product to as many people as possible, then the reach should be what matters most for you. On the other hand, if you are looking to promote a specific offer, sale, discount code, etc., then measuring impressions will come in handy instead of reach because it tells you which users actually saw your post despite how many times they did so.

So, reach vs impressions really depends on what you’re trying to analyze.

Why Are Impressions Higher Than Reach?

If your ad gets shown to the same users several times, then it will be counted every single time as an impression. When you check out your own reach statistic, then you might see that this number is lower than expected because it’s actually taking into account the number of times people saw your posts.

This means that if you’ve seen a smaller reach statistic and wondered why it is so low, there’s a good chance that people have seen your posts more than once. Keep in mind though that reaching the same users multiple times doesn’t necessarily mean they’re seeing any less of an effect, it can even be a part of a good social media marketing strategy; instead, this metric only helps us understand how many social media users, aka unique individuals we reached in total with our post – but don’t forget that they might not have necessarily liked it or reached out to your page after viewing it.

Reach is a great indicator of how many users you actually catch with your post, but just because someone doesn’t like or follow your page after their very first Instagram view, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get anything out of them in the future. It all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve by creating an ad, which will help determine whether reach vs impressions are better indicators.

If somebody sees one ad several times (impressions) but isn’t interested, then they won’t see another one later on even if it gets shown multiple times (reaches).

Can Reach Ever Be Higher Than Impressions?

While impressions will usually be higher than reach, there are cases where this might not be the case. For example, if you have a very low ad budget and show your posts only to some of your followers, you might notice that they don’t get shown several times but they also won’t see any ads from other advertisers on Instagram either.

On the one hand, this means that it’s really hard to measure which ads are performing better on Instagram since people will only see one at a time. On the other hand, this does allow for some accurate metrics because there is no chance of getting counted multiple times. So if you wanted to run two tests with different audiences for example (one with $100 spent and another $200), then tracking both an impression count and a reach count allows you to get accurate results from each test.

In this case, reach and impressions read with higher reach because they don’t see your ads more than once – thus creating a larger reach number with the same ad spend. In other words, if an ad is shown only once then the reach will be the same as the impression figure (plus some accounts end up unfollowing or unlike pages after seeing them for some reason).

What Is the Difference Between Impressions and Views?

So, what’s the difference between served impressions and views when it comes to Instagram? It’s important to understand the difference between views and impressions in order to get this part right.

A view is when somebody sees your post on their feed, but an impression occurs when the ad shows up on their screen (regardless of whether or not they can see it). Views aren’t going to be counted more than once if a person goes back to look at your ads later on, while served impressions will be counted again every time someone sees another instance of that same ad.

In other words, a view is a quick scrolling-by whereas an impression requires a bit more effort. Keep in mind however that videos do not get counted as an impression unless autoplay has been enabled for them; instead, only photos will get counted as an impression.

What Is a Good Reach Rate on Instagram?

Now that we know what reach is what is a good reach rate on Instagram? Reach is a great metric for understanding how many users viewed your post at least once, but the actual number you see will depend on a few factors.

If you want to know what an average Facebook page’s daily reach looks like, then the answer is anywhere from 1-16%. However, if we’re talking about ads specifically then the numbers are going to be much lower as marketers try to narrow their target audience as much as possible. In fact, those that have been around since Instagram began showing ads will probably find it easier playing with this now that they have access to more detailed information – but it’s still not something most social media strategy managers take advantage of.

So how do you figure out what a good reach rate is for your social media strategy? First, you need to consider the type of page you have and how many followers it has. Also, note that all engagement rates on Instagram (including reach and impressions) decrease over time after a post goes live.

  • Reach: 1-2% for large pages with 10M+ followers; 0.5%-1% for small pages with less than 5k followers; and 2%-4% for brands/businesses with 500k+ followings.
  • Engagement (likes + comments): 7%-12% for large pages with 10M+ followers; 4%-7% for small pages with less than 5k followers; and 8%-15% for brands/businesses with 500k+ followings.

For interests outside of your targeted audience (a larger reach), you’ll see lower rates than listed above.

The Takeaway

So, what’s the takeaway? That there are no “good” or “bad” numbers when it comes to Instagram metrics since they all depend on factors like your page size and how much that has grown recently.

Reach in particular is also going to be higher if you’re doing sponsored posts for similar brands because their followers will probably overlap with yours to some extent. So try not to get too hung up on figuring out whether or not an ad was worth the money spent since engagement rates aren’t set in stone – but don’t ignore them entirely either!

What Comes After Reach and Impressions: Other Social Media Metrics to Track Through Your News Feed

Once you’ve got your reach and impressions figured out, what comes next? The most important social media metrics to track will always be engagement and conversions.

But what is a good conversion rate for social media? The average Facebook page gets anywhere from 2-14% of their posts to show up in your feed – depending on how much you pay. If you’re not advertising, then expect around 1% to appear in your newsfeed at most. In terms of conversions, that percentage varies based on the industry but generally falls within 10%-15%.

For example, B2B marketers can generate an ROI of $9 for every dollar spent when using sponsored social media posts, while eCommerce stores have been known to bring in around $3-$4 per dollar spent. This means that if you spend a total of $1,000 on ads, then expect to generate $5,000 or $4,000 in ROI when factoring in conversions.

If you want to track the actual number of conversions and revenue generated per ad, then you can do so by setting up something like Google Analytics in conjunction with your Facebook pixel. Once you’ve got everything set up correctly, it will be easy to see which ads are bringing in the most revenue and how many people took action on them.

The bottom line is that there are a ton of metrics marketers can use but each one has its place. And while reach seems less important than engagement rates, for example, both play a role when calculating the success of your social media campaigns!

Tracking Your Data is the Key for Any Good Social Media Ad Campaign

Now that we’ve gone over what you should be tracking and how to do so, the only thing left to mention is that your data will never improve unless you actually track it.

Having a good handle on your social media campaigns allows you to better protect your online reputation. Click here to learn more about how to protect your online reputation using social media. You can also learn more about our 7 step process here.

And this isn’t just about social media metrics either – everything from business expenses to your daily tasks should be carefully monitored. After all, there’s no such thing as “business growth” if you don’t know what actions are bringing it at a certain time!

So for those of you who have been putting off collecting data because you’re not sure where to start or how to use it all, now is a great time to get started! The earlier you begin tracking every aspect of your marketing campaign, the easier it’ll be later on when Instagram decides to roll out more changes and you want to see which business areas are worth their time and money! Looking for more information on how to have a better online reputation? Check out our post here.

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