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Reach vs. Impressions: What's The Difference?

Updated on June 7, 2024
5 minute read

What's the difference between these 2 metrics?

Published June 7, 2024

So you just launched an influencer marketing campaign — how do you know if it’s reaching the right people?

This is where two important metrics come into play: reach and impressions. 

Evaluating reach and impressions helps you measure campaign success and set the stage for future strategic decision-making. 

But what's the difference between reach and impressions? Why are these two metrics important for a good influencer marketing strategy?  We’re breaking down what they both mean and why they matter.

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Understanding the Difference Between Reach and Impressions

First, here’s a quick overview of what each term means:

  • Impressions: the number of times a post or ad is seen on a platform. 

  • Reach: how many unique individuals saw the post or ad.

Because the same person might see the same post multiple times, impressions are often larger than reach.

For example, if 25 people saw the same post twice, you’d have 50 impressions and a reach of 25.

If you’re building brand awareness, the higher impressions and reach, the better — it means more people are seeing your posts! 

However, these two metrics aren’t cut and dry. For instance, high impressions with low engagement could mean you’re targeting the wrong audience. 

How to Track and Calculate Impressions

Impressions are a popular data point for social media marketers because they demonstrate the overall exposure achieved by your post.

Here's how you see impressions shown on TikTok:

Monet's views on her Covergirl Reels ad.

All major social media platforms will give you impression data, but manually gathering and inputting that data into your reporting software can take a lot of time. If you’re also managing multiple influencers on different platforms, you’ll also need to manage all of their impression data.

Working with an influencer marketing platform like Later Influence simplifies all those manual parts of campaign management, including tracking important metrics like impressions and reach.

How to Calculate Reach

The formula for calculating reach is impressions divided by view frequency

So, if your campaign has 10,000 impressions and a view frequency of 4, it means your reach is 10,000 divided by 4, which equals 2,500.

The Importance of Reach and Impressions in Marketing Strategy

Impressions and reach represent the very top of your funnel, but a high number of either doesn't necessarily guarantee campaign success.

Instead, these metrics offer directional insight that helps you understand what’s working, what’s not, and what you can do to improve your content.

For example, if you want to flood a market with your message, you might aim for a campaign with high impressions and reach. This means the same audience is seeing your post frequently.

Conversely, if you want to build broader brand awareness, you’d target high impressions and lower reach. This way, more people see your content, but each person only sees it a few times.

Using Reach and Impressions for Strategic Decision-Making

Not seeing the results you want from your campaign? Let’s break down some things you check to pivot and improve your results:

  • Audience: Are you engaging the wrong people?

  • Targeting: Are your posts reaching the right people?

  • Copy and creative: Is the CTA clear and enticing?

  • Offer: Is the value of completing the next step clear and compelling? Is it easy to do?

  • Offer-to-post-copy: Does the offer align with what the post says? If people click expecting one thing but get offered another, they are less likely to convert.

And if things are working, you can document what you did and try to replicate success with other campaigns.

Reach and Impressions on Different Social Platforms

Not all social media platforms offer the same metrics, and they may be calculated differently. For example: 

  • Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest offer both impressions and reach.

  • TikTok and Facebook also show both, but reach is considered an estimated metric only. 

  • X (Formerly Twitter) only shows impressions, which it calls “views.” 

  • YouTube: Impressions are the number of times your video thumbnail was shown, whereas reach is actual video views.

Manual tracking can be incredibly time-consuming if you’re running a campaign across multiple social platforms or working with influencers. 

That’s where all-in-one tools like Later Social and Later Influence can help save you tons of time & energy:

  • Effortlessly schedule posts and collaborate with creators and influencers across multiple platforms.

  • Track reach and impressions on both a per-platform and whole-campaign basis to get the big picture.

  • View full-funnel influencer analytics, including click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per thousand impressions (CPM).

Use the Right Data at the Right Time

Both reach and impressions are valuable metrics for evaluating your influencer marketing campaign results.

The key is knowing when to use each — and how to measure them properly.

If you're managing multiple platforms, creators, influencers, and campaigns, you need a tool that consolidates all your data in one place.

That’s where Later Influence comes in. Save time and access real-time data to get the best results on your influencer campaigns.

Learn more by booking a demo and seeing what Later Influence can do for you.

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