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Reach VS. Impressions: What Is The Difference?

If you have been looking for ways to increase your visibility on social media, you are bound to have come across these two metric terms somewhere on your analytics dashboard: reach and impressions. They have a significant impact on your whole social media marketing approach.

They have a very close similarity, but you may have to focus on one over the other at times. You should understand what both mean on different platforms and how they impact your progress on social networks. Likes, comments, and real video views for your Instagram, YouTube, and other social networks all significantly affect both metrics.

Reach vs Impressions youtube

What is Social Media Reach?

When you post your content on social media, not all your followers see each post you make. Every post only reaches a certain fraction of your potential audience. Reach is the measure of this content – the total number of people that see your content.

Why Reach Matters?

Reach defines the measure of brand awareness or how popular content is. It is a better measure than impressions or followers since it calculates the number of people you impacted. Since it is dependent on your followers and friends, our services can help you increase your numbers. It is used in the following two phases of a marketing campaign:

  • Planning
  • Reporting

Calculating your reach allows you to analyze your campaign as it progresses and after the performance. This way, you can adjust your content strategy to a different format or platform to get your desired audience size.

For example, if your evening posts receive more reach than those you share in the morning, you can consider shifting your content to evening hours. Calculating your reach also allows you to access and view the analytics of your:

  • Ads
  • Keywords
  • Feedback forums and blogs
  • Competitors’ social media reach
  • Events
  • Brand hashtags
  • Social media profiles
  • Posts

How to Measure Reach?

To successfully measure reach, you need to factor in every individual only once; otherwise, you will be calculating impressions. It is challenging, but you can use tools that specialize in monitoring every social media platform for relevant conversations about your business or brand. Some of the tools include:

  • Hootsuite

It is a social listening tool whose subscription gives you access to various features, including detailed analytics and scheduling posts. You can use this tool to set up any social media platform to monitor content relevant to your brand keywords, mentions, hashtags, and locations. It can also incorporate integrations with other apps and gives you total control in a single dashboard.

  • Keyhole

Unlike other tools that focus on brand mentions, Keyhole provides you with the insights, trends, and analysis of your chosen keywords and hashtags. It displays historical data about a hashtag that you can use to monitor your social media account. Keyhole is powerful and can estimate your potential reach of a piece of content even before you post it. It helps you become more strategic in your content and scheduling.

What are Social Media Impressions?

Impressions is the number of times a piece of content or post is displayed to users on a social media platform. Different platforms have their way of measuring impressions.

Why Impressions Matter?

Impressions reveal to you how much people appreciate your brand or business. The comments, likes, shares, and views you get on your posts determine how much action people are taking towards your post. Impressions are comparable to opens in email marketing.

How to Measure Impressions?

Measuring impressions is far more manageable than reach since most social media networks have the required tools built into their site. Examples of platforms with inbuilt tools include LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. You can measure Twitter impressions with the software Crowdbooster.

  • Crowdbooster

It is a tool primarily for Twitter that users use to build their audience. It is a scheduling tool with other features that give you information on:

  • Impressions
  • Retweets – number of times people hit the retweet button on one of your posts.
  • Mentions – number of times a user uses @ and your username.

It has a user-friendly dashboard that displays all the crucial stats on followers, retweets, and mentions. It also recommends when it is best to post and the most influential Twitter users you can interact with.


Reach vs. Impressions on Different Social Networks


YouTube analytics provides information on four different types of metrics. They include:
Unique viewers – it is similar to reach. It shows the total number of people that view your videos.
Impressions – total number of times viewers see your video’s thumbnails.

Traffic sources for impressions – displays where specifically on YouTube, your thumbnails were shown to viewers.
Impressions click-through-rat (CTR) – shows how frequently YouTube users watch your video after seeing the thumbnail.


It defines reach as the number of people who see your ads at least once. However, it is an estimated metric that is hard to measure. Therefore, Facebook provides an approximation using your sampled data. Impressions refer to the number of times your content was displayed and seen by your audience.

Like on Facebook, impressions is the number of times a post or story is displayed and seen by your audience. Reach is the unique number of user accounts that see your post or story.


When evaluating one of your tweets’ analytics, you will find information on total engagement, impressions, but no reach. Twitter does not keep track of reach. It defines impressions as the total number of times people see your tweet.

Google Analytics

This platform provides the metrics ‘users’ and ‘page views.’ Users are similar to reach. It refers to the number of people that visit your website at least once during a specific period. Page views refer to the number of page views from your visitors.

Having to choose between the two metrics is tricky and not advisable since both significantly impact your engagement. However, you can select one based on your marketing strategies and objectives.

Why are impressions higher than reach?

If your impressions are higher than your reach, it's a sign that your audience is viewing your content multiple times.

What is a good Instagram reach?

What we found out is that, globally, the average Instagram engagement rate is 4.7%, whereas global reach rate is 34.37%, and engagement on reach is 11.95% on average.

Does Instagram count repeat views?

The answer to this dilemma is, yes, Instagram counts multiple views from the same user. Instagram counts every view, but it separates them into two categories – reach and impressions.