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Reach vs Impressions- All You Need to Know

Reach vs Impressions- All You Need to Know

by Meghashree Das April 25, 2020
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reach vs impressions

The beginning of the 21st century saw major developments in the field of technology, be it the development of supercomputers, introduction of 4G, 5G technologies, improvement in smartphone technologies, etc.

The advent of internet technology has led to the emergence of various social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, twitter,  youtube, LinkedIn, etc. We are living in a world that is supported by the backdrop of digitalization.

Our generation and the upcoming one have become so attached to the digital interface, that assuming one’s life without it seems to be impossible. Being present on the digital platform has become a necessity.

The age-long debate for reach vs impressions

Now the cost of internet connection subscription is low & smartphones are there in every household has led to an increase in traffic on these social media platforms. According to online data available, Social networking platforms have altogether 15 billion users as of 4 March 2020.

With the change in technologies now and then, an increase in internet usage by the people, corporates houses are finding new methods and tricks to advertise their brand’s products.

Since the usage of the internet has increased drastically over the past decade brands are resorting. These are to various online platforms to advertise their product, social media sites being one of the platforms.

Reach vs impressions depends on social networking more

Social networking sites are providing a vast audience and a huge platform for people to spread their messages. This has attracted various businessmen, and they are using such platforms to its full capacity for advertising their products.

The availability of a vast, dynamic audience in one place and the cost of advertisement is less than the other means. SNS helps in making brand name thus the social media engagement has become a necessity for online and offline businesses.

Reach and Impressions are the result of social platform services. Of course, the content delivered by the owner too depends.

Although reach and impression sound quite familiar but these two are not the same. There is quite a difference between reach vs impressions. It is important to understand the difference between reach vs impressions.

Although both of them affect your overall engagement and visibility, you should know the specific meaning of each. So now the question arises what is reach, impressions, and what is the difference between them?

Reach vs impressions- what is reach?

Reach is the expected number of potential customers who will be able to witness your specific campaign or advertisement through an advertisement medium like SNS, newspapers, radio, or televisions.

Reach shouldn’t be confused with the actual number of people, in reality, viewing the advertisement, it’s about people who are exposed to the medium and have the potential to see the advertisement.

Thus reach helps to whether the cost of the marketing campaign is worth the new costumers it could attract.

Take here for an example

Let’s consider an example to understand reach suppose a company has 1000 followers on social media, but it doesn’t mean that reach will also be 1000.  Your advertisement doesn’t show up on all your follower’s news feeds.

Reach can be classified into 3 categories namely:-

  • Organic reach
  • Paid reach
  • Viral reach

Organic reach or reaching organically

The reach is said to be organic when there are unique users who have in reality seen and acknowledged the advertisement displayed.

Paid reach

When the owner of the advertisement or the business has paid to reach a set of the target audience

Viral reach

Whenever we share the link of any website or any creative work or anything we like or understand that is useful. We unconsciously involve ourselves in the process of making content viral the content to different masses.

Facebook impressions

Similarly sharing the advertisement links to the different users helps in making the advertisement viral.

These days sharing has become so quick that content becomes viral so easily and efficiently to greater masses in real-time.

Time to take a bow and salute to the ones who thought the idea about the internet and also the ones who exploited the internet to benefit in any which way possible.

how the reach vs impressions works?

Now the question arises why the study of market reach is important before marketing for businessmen and corporate houses?

The answer to this is quite a simple one, well-measuring market reach allows one to make profitable and sound marketing decisions and allows the use of resources more effectively and efficiently. Study of market reach helps in the following ways:-

Reducing Risks 

If one gets to know beforehand regarding the number of customers one might reach, This prior information allows the individual or an organization to make smart, wise and informed decisions about investing the monetary resources at the right place and time. This reduces the risk of overspending in marketing. Also, it helps in creating a highly profitable business with a good return on investment.

Better future planning 

If one has the prior information on how many potential new customers one will target or reach through his marketing advertisement. This will help the individual to ensure that enough stock of products available for purchase or right and enough manpower is there to provide desired services. If one knows how the market reach changes and gets to know about its dynamism over a year can also help you plan seasonal ad campaigns.

Effective use of resources 

If the individual has the right knowledge regarding the consumer demographics and how many new customers he will reach or the number of customers will get targeted through his marketing campaign he can plan according to the requirement or needs. This will allow the individual to use his or her resources most effectively and efficiently. Without going into the losses.

Helps to iterate the message

When we have acquired a good and fair idea about which set of audience is being targeted and whom we are planning to influence through advertisement. We can adjust the creative message language accordingly and also the tone to appeal most effectively with positive results. This will result in creating more effective marketing than trying to create generic advertising that appeals to everyone.

From above we get to know that reach plays a vital role in the success of social media marketing strategies. Furthermore, it helps to build a brand name and increase the sale and profits of a company.

Measuring reach 

One should keep a track of the social media reach as it is crucial to develop a brand name. It tells you about your consumer’s requirements, what they expect from you. It also helps to plan and develop new social media marketing strategies.

Keeping track on reach vs impressions

To measure your social media reach you need to keep a track of following points:-

  • Hashtags
  • Mention
  • Keywords
  • Social media profiles
  • Social media post
  • Competitors on social media

Keeping a source on factors

Keeping a track of all such factors manually can be tiresome and time-consuming. one can always use various social media monitoring tools to make the task easy and simpler. listed below are some of the social media monitoring tool which one can use:-

  • Unbox social
  • Mention
  • Brands24
  • Keyhole
  • Hootsuite

what is an impression?

Impressions refer to the total number of time social media platforms has displayed your content to others. Impressions only count the number of people who are exposed to it.

To understand impressions better let’s consider an example. suppose you have 500 followers on a Social networking site, and your content/advertisement is displayed 1000 times then your impression is 1000.

So now the question arises why we need to study impressions, how does it help to improve marketing strategies?

Ideally, impressions will help to boost the sales of the company and help to increase the customer of the company thus increasing the profits of the company. Therefore we can say that more the impressions the better . Listed below are the benefits of impressions:-


When someone posts something on social media it creates a continuous chain of shares and tweets. Thus when a potential customer will see your brand’s article they share and comment on it, post a review about your product. It will start a conversation with your audience about your brand after the advertisement or article has been posted. Thus ultimately increasing the sales and profit of the company.


Publishing content on industrial journals and publications will add reliability to your impressions and will help you to build your brand unique identity. Furthermore, it will help you to set your brand as an industry leader. more the publications in the top journal will help you reach a wider audience, thus increasing the brand’s name, sales, and profit.


The total number of impressions that a company makes is the key to determine other parameters. It helps to deepen the bonds between the company and the consumer. Furthermore, it helps to paint the larger picture of public relations and efforts. thus helps in providing insights into various parameters like cost of customer acquisitions or which earned media placement were most impact-full.


It helps to find the taste/likes of the targeted audience, The company creates and maintains a database of these findings. They study these findings and accordingly iterate their product or launch a new one. The study of impressions also helps the brand to find out what consumers expect from them. It ultimately creates a positive image of the brand in front of the consumer and builds a healthy consumer-brand relation. It all leads to an increase in sales and profit of the company.

It is the formation for reach vs impressions

Thus we can say that impressions are a very important and integral part of social media marketing. But it should not be solely considered responsible for the success of social media marketing strategies. It helps us to identify our consumer demographics, helps to build a good consumer relation. Furthermore, it helps in establishing a brand name.

 Measuring impression- How to do it?

 Since impression helps in building a healthy consumer-brand relationship, it helps to identify consumer demographics, one should keep a track of impression.

It can be measured by keeping track of social media activities manually, by making marketing reports on what graph or with the help of various social media monitoring tools . some of these are listed below:-

  • Brands24
  • Unbox social
  • Message
  • Keyhole

Difference between impression and reach

Impressions and reach may sound quite similar but these two terms have quite different meanings. Society always runs on a simple fact that where there is a larger crowd more reliable the service will be and the rate of customer satisfaction would be more.

Step 1: based on a platform

An impression refers to the total number of times social media platforms have displayed your content, it doesn’t show the actual number of people who have seen or clicked on it. The social networking sites might have sent your content or advertisement to the targeted audience but they might not have seen it. Whereas reach refers to an actual number of people/audience that has seen your content.

step 2: Based on sites

The meaning of impressions and reach differs from one to the social media networking site to others. Let us take the example of the most popular social media networking sites and see how the meaning of impression and reach from site to site.

When we talk about or even encounter with word social media, the very first thing which crosses anybody’s mind is software applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. We consider these social media applications as tools to connect to a large audience.

Step 3: Based on people

But it is often misunderstood by the people. Initially, all these online platforms were accessed via computers. In other words the computer act as an interface for users as well as for the software apps. These apps, in turn, become terminal for users to connect expansively with the world.

Reach vs impressions is the use of networking management

Social media engenders networking. It is a kind of web of which users are becoming part of in great numbers. With an increasing number of users base on these platforms every second day, week, month, and even a year.

Impression vs reach on Facebook:-

Facebook reaches to refer to the number of people who saw your add at least once.

A Facebook impression refers to the number of times your add was on screen.

From this, we get to know that on Facebook neither reach or impression tells us that someone has seen your post. Facebook has provided a solution to this, they have classified the advertisement in two categories namely:-


It means the advertisement has been paid for and the system has delivered the ad.

These ads don’t appear on screen they could remain unopened and be finished without being viewed and opened.


This kind of ad is not counted until the user has seen it or it has appeared on the screen and the user has seen it.

Reach vs impressions based on other factors

Impression vs reach on twitter:-

The reach on twitter means the number of unique users who have seen your tweet.

The impression on twitter means the actual number of views on your tweet. You can explore this on Twitter Analytics.

twitter reach vs impressions

Impression vs reach on Instagram:-

Instagram reach refers to the number of unique Instagram followers that have seen your Instagram stories or post.

An Instagram impression refers to the number of times your Instagram stories or post have been shown to others.

Instagram reach vs impressions

Impression vs reach on google Adwords:-

Google Adwords has classified reach into two categories which are as follows:-

Unique based reach:-

It refers to the number of unique people or users who have seen your ad, it doesn’t include duplicate views.

Cookies based reach:-

It distinguishes individual browsers, so it may count one person more than once if they use different browsers or computers.

Impression vs reach on google Analytics:-

Google Analytics uses the terms page views and users

Page views:-

It refers to the number of pages viewed by all your visitors.


It refers to the number of people who visited your site at least once a particular time range.

Impression vs reach on Snapchat:-

Snapchat deals with reach and impressions slightly differently it just calls them to reach and story views.

The meaning of these terms is the same as reach and impressions

From above we get to know about different terms used by various social networking sites to define reach and impressions and how these sites calculate reach and impression.

Conclusion- what we choose?

Although the impression and reach sound similar and have different meanings, but their works are the same. Both these terms are used to analyze the position of the brand in the market, to determine its consumer demographics, to determine the requirement of its consumer, to determine changes that take place in the market, thus helping the company to establish itself as a brand and prepare itself according to changes taking place in the market.

Reach vs impressions on the usage of profit measuring

The study of both impressions and reach helps the company to increase its sales and increase its profit. Both reach and impression help to build and maintain a healthy consumer-brand relation.

As the function of impression and reach is the same and both parameters  (impression and reach ) are important to develop successful marketing strategies it is difficult to say which factors dominate over others.

Reach means to what extent one can take and spread the information to a greater set of audiences. Spreading and endorsing the information to the larger audience is a way of reaching to masses.

And the information that has been spread will determine the impression being created on the public or audiences.

Beach vs impressions is out to the mass

One can reach to masses through various modes, all thanks to the internet and social media these days. Internet, as well as social media, has made the work easier.

And it has become an easier and less cumbersome process to know the reviews from the people’s perspective. So one can get a fine idea from this.

Through these reviews, one can make further amendments to their projects. Reach and Impressions are interrelated to each other.

One can determine the impression being created by the project or product by getting larger audience reviews. And social media and other internet-supported platforms give an advantage.

Reach vs Impressions

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Meghashree Das

Digital Marketer, Writing about marketing is a passion of mine that I have been pursuing from a young age. I love to express my thoughts on paper, as well as a digital medium.

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