November 27, 2019

Understanding Social Media Metrics: Reach

In our social media-dominated world, it is safe to assume that all users wish to better their social media performances. In an effort to do so, platforms introduced social media metrics and insights to aid personal users, influencers, brands, and businesses alike.

social media metrics

But just because we have this information does not mean we understand it. For small businesses to fully comprehend and utilize social media metrics, they need to first understand two key terms: reach and impressions.

Impressions mean the number of times your content was viewed or displayed on a social media page. For example, if your Instagram post appeared on 800 feeds, then your total number of impressions would be 800.

Reach represents the number of users who engaged with your content. For example, if your Facebook post was viewed 800 times but the post only received 250 likes, then your reach would only be 250.

Simply put: impressions count exposure while reach counts engagements. Generally speaking, the total number of impressions will normally be larger than your reach. Your content appears on more feeds than just the ones that interact with it.

Even though the definition of each is static in the digital world, the ways in which each social media platform counts impressions and reach differs slightly. In order to fully understand their metrics, a small business should understand how each platform determines the counts.


For Facebook, an impression occurs when content is displayed on the screen. If a user is scrolling through their timeline and comes across a post, that is one impression. If that same user visits Facebook again within 24 hours and comes across that same post, that counts as another impression.

That being said, Facebook only counts impressions one at a time when content is viewed by the user. This goes for any content: images, links, text, or videos.

Reach on the other hand measures the number of times users like, comment, and share your posts.


Twitter impressions are measured in a similar way to Facebook impressions. When a user sees a Tweet, that is counted as an impression.

In a unique twist, Twitter doesn’t just count individual impressions but thread impressions as well. This means that impressions from both the original tweet and reply tweets will be counted towards your company metrics.

Twitter focuses its metrics mainly on impressions, but does offer analytics for reach under the term “engagements.” This measures how many times your Tweets are clicked on and engaged with.


Instagram impressions account for the number of times your posts, stories, and IGTV videos are viewed on follower’s timelines and the explore page.  On Facebook, your regular content will only be shown to followers and friends.

But on Instagram, your content will be shown to followers and suggested users. If users are interested in “Baltimore digital marketing trends”, then content that matches this interest will appear on their explore page.

As always, reach on Instagram refers to the number of times users interact with content, whether they are followers or not.

Whether your company chooses to prioritize reach or impressions is dependent on the goals of your marketing strategies. If paid advertisements are a big part of your social media campaign, then impressions will be slightly more important – advertisements are measured by impressions.

Reach and engagements are valuable metrics to companies hoping to measure brand awareness and generate leads.

If you would like more information about measuring reach and impressions, need help understanding social media metrics, or other digital marketing services, contact Pink Dog Digital at (410) 696-3305, email us at, or visit us on the web at

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