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Engagement vs. Reach vs. Impressions: What sets these social media metrics apart?

As a go-to marketing channel for many businesses, social media is often used to share information about a company or product, promote events, and build rapport with potential customers. 

Back in the day, social media marketing success was determined by the amount of “likes” or “followers” they have. In recent years, however, we’ve seen a shift to metrics that are much more complex.

Sure, you’ve heard of the terms “engagement”, “reach”, and “impressions” but what do they really mean?

 

Engagement

Engagement is the number of times a person clicks on, comments on, or shares a post. It’s a good indicator of the quality of your content because it shows that people are interested in what you’re producing.

Engagement is important because it shows that people are actually interacting with your content – not just passively consuming it. Engagement represents audience interest through actions like clicking links or sharing photos with others in their network. 

Your engagement numbers tell you how well your posts are resonating with your audience so you can use that information to improve future posts’ quality and performance.

 

Reach

Reach is the total number of unique users who saw your posts. This includes people who see your content in their newsfeeds, on their timelines, or in an advertisement. Reach is a good indicator of how many people you can reach with your social media channel.

Paying close attention to reach gives insight into the size of your audience’s engagement with a campaign or piece of content. For example, if a post has a high percentage of reach but low engagement (such as a lack of shares and comments), this may mean that more users have seen the post than liked it or shared it, which could indicate that improvements need to be made before posting again.

 

Impressions

Impressions are the total number of times a post is viewed. It’s important to distinguish that impressions do not mean engagement. 

For example, if your brand has a large following and you’ve posted an ad or product image on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and received thousands of views without any likes or comments, this could indicate a problem: your content isn’t resonating with your audience.

 

Bringing it all together

Now you understand the difference between engagements, reach, and impressions. Great! 

But how do you measure the success of these metrics? 

Like any other marketing initiative, it’s critical that you can demonstrate results and, therefore, ROI from your social media activities. Measuring the impact of your content is important because it allows for more accurate budgeting for future campaigns by showing which channels are working best for each type of post and what types of posts generate higher engagement rates overall.

As you can see, these metrics are closely related and are often used together. However, they each have their own specific role to play when measuring the effectiveness of your social media strategy. 

 

Marketing is nothing without metrics. Find where your brand is hitting the mark – and where it isn’t – with a Digital Assessment. Send us a note at [email protected] to learn more and get the ball rolling!