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Blog Post

Reach vs. Impressions – What’s the Difference?

June 6, 2018
Table of Contents

Many companies look towards social media to build their business and raise brand awareness. With many different metrics at our fingertips, it’s difficult to see which matter the most. Here we will start with the most common pieces of data: reach and impressions.

While the two seem extremely similar, it’s critical to know the difference between reach and impressions.


Reach is the total number of unique users that see your content. This can become a bit confusing because not everyone who follows you will be able to see your content. Of course it would be ideal for all of your followers to see each piece of content that you post, but with the constantly changing algorithms combined with timing, this is typically not the case.

With only a fraction of your followers seeing your content, reach measures the number of users who are actually seeing it.

Related: Key Performance Indicators Every Social Advertiser Should Know


Impressions is the number of times your content is actually displayed on a user’s feed. Users don’t have to engage with your content in order for it to count as an impression and the same piece of content can be shown multiple times in a user’s feed.

While reach is the number of individual users that have seen your content, impressions is the total number of times your content is displayed. For example, if you see the same piece of content in your feed 3 times, than the impression count would be 3, while the reach would be 1 (because you are the 1 user that saw the content).

Reach vs. Impressions

Reach is oftentimes less than the number of impressions since one user can see the same piece of content multiple times. For example if 5 different users saw your post 2 times each, than the impressions would be 10, while the reach is 5.

An important factor to note is that you should be focused on your target audience beyond these metrics. Once you understand who your target audience is, you can begin to work towards increasing your engagement as well as these metrics.

Wrapping Up

Reach and impressions are both two very important metrics when it comes to engagement in your social media campaigns. They are often confused to mean the same thing, but are actually very different and can make a large impact on your social media strategy.

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