Internet marketing relies heavily on understanding social media. There are a few terms that are important to learn, like impressions and reach. Find out the difference between these two concepts, and which one matters most.


Impressions refer to how many people were exposed to an ad your business page posts on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. For each platform, impressions work a little differently. Facebook calculates impressions by how many times your ad shows up on a screen, even if the same person sees it within 24 hours. Instagram is similar to Facebook in that impressions are measured by the number of times a user sees the ad. When it comes to Twitter, impressions from your tweet are counted, as well as views created via replies. On this social platform, impressions and reach overlap more than with Facebook and Instagram.


Reach is more about how many people interacted with your social media ad. Interaction is gauged differently on each site, but there are some commonalities. For example, Facebook says engagements are likes, comments, shares, and clicks. Instagram keeps track by counting how many unique users like, comment, share or click the ad. As mentioned before, Twitter correlates reach and impressions because of how the site operates. Essentially, every time someone sees your company’s tweet, that is considered an impression, but it’s also calculated into your reach since retweets and replies are part of this platform.

Impressions vs. Reach

Which is better for your business, impressions or reach? The answer to these questions is based on your business goals. What are you trying to achieve by placing ads on social media? If you want to determine how many people who engaged with your ad become clients or customers, you should focus on reach. Reach goals can help you determine conversion goals for your ads. On the other hand, if your business relies on how many people see your content, focus more on impressions. Facebook and Twitter analytics are based more on impressions, so if that is your goal, you may want to focus on spending more on these two platforms.

Tracking Metrics

Once you get started on placing ads, be sure to check how well your ads are performing. There are few patterns that will be clear from the start like impressions are usually much higher than reach. Also, getting comfortable with each site’s tracking tools can help you with perfect ad placement.