Reach vs. Impressions: What’s the Difference and Why They Matter
When you’re running a campaign in the digital space, there are several key metrics you’ll need to observe to determine its overall success. For instance, according to Business of Metrics, three of the most important metrics to measure an advertisement’s performance are click-through rate, traffic source, and conversion rate. Whether you’re managing a social media or content marketing campaign, you’ll likely come across two types of metrics: reach and impressions.
Reach and impressions are often misunderstood and even mistaken for one another. Although they’re typically grouped together in reports, the truth is that each metric has its own significant definition and importance for a campaign. Learning what makes them different and how they impact your campaigns can allow you to assess your efforts—for the better!
What is the difference between reach and impressions?
Reach and impressions may appear similar at first glance. However, it’s important to note key differences in each, especially since they analyze different aspects of a campaign. According to Hootsuite, reach is best defined as “the total number of people who have seen your ad or content.” For example, if 300 people see your ad on their Instagram feed, it will be counted as reach.
The same article also defines impressions as the “number of times an ad or content has been displayed on a screen.” If your advertisement is displayed on your target audience’s Instagram feed 400 times, then this will count as impressions (even if users do not click or engage with it in any way).
Why are reach and impressions important to measure?
Whether you’re running a PPC ad or a campaign on Facebook, it’s always important to note what aspects of your marketing efforts are making an impact. Reach and impressions are two powerful metrics that can provide you with deeper insights into your campaign’s performance. For example, a large number of impressions may indicate a lack of engagement or interest as a result of several factors, such as ad fatigue. Knowing this can help you reshape your campaign’s strategy so that you can reach more people.
Reach and impressions also help you determine how well your audience is familiar with your brand. Remember that you or your client’s brand isn’t the only one in its respective industry. There’s likely plenty of competition and having sufficient brand awareness can encourage users to pick your brand. By measuring reach and impressions, you’ll have a good idea of how well your campaign is engaging users so that they’re more likely to choose yours over competitors.
How do you enhance reach and impressions?
As with other metrics, there are certain actions you can take to enhance your reach and impressions. Implementing the following actions into your strategy will allow you to make the most of your marketing campaigns:
- Identify your audience. Your campaigns are nothing without your audience. Therefore, if you want to enhance reach and impressions, you need to identify your audience and learn what interests them. Consider the message of your current ad campaign. Does it match what appeals to them? What type of content does your audience base regularly consume? Does your ad or piece of content meet these points? If not, take some time to consider who your target audience is, what content they want to see, and what messages you can attach to your campaign.
- Track and measure engagement metrics. Another way to enhance reach and impressions is to analyze engagement. Engagement demonstrates how users are engaging with your ad and/or overall brand. If a piece of content is being shared on a social media platform, it will increase the number of impressions it receives. This means that your ad is appealing to your audience. Otherwise, you may need to rethink your ad and optimize it so that audiences will engage with it.
- Produce engaging ads or content. To improve reach and impressions, make sure to produce ads or content that interests your target audience enough to engage with it. Your ad needs to be relevant to their needs. Of course, this is easier said than done. If you learn your audience’s interests and keep engagement in mind, you can ensure a smoother process while you create your ads or content. For more information on how to produce Google ads that convert, check out my blog post, How to Create Engaging Text Ads for Google Search.
Reach and impressions offer a variety of insights into a campaign’s success. When you track and measure reach and impressions, you’ll understand how digital ads and content efforts are doing. Having this information will help make informed decisions that can improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. This can be as simple as tweaking the copy on your ad or changing the type of content you produce. Along with metrics like conversion rate and click-through rate, track reach and impressions so that you have the full picture of your marketing efforts!