Measuring impressions and reach on your nonprofit’s social media will help you gauge how your content is resonating with your audience. However, while two touch on similar concepts, impressions and reach are not measures of the same thing.
Looking at “impressions” will only tell you how many times your content was displayed on a screen. Moreover, it’s not a measure of how many people click on your ad or what they do with it after it is displayed, but rather just a general insight of how many times Facebook, or whichever other social platform you’re running ads on, shows your content.
“Reach” refers to the total number of individual, or unique, users who saw your ad or content. However, there are a couple different types of reach that are measured as well. On Facebook, organic reach is a measure of how many people saw your content for free, or organically, in their Facebook newsfeed. Paid reach is a measure of the number of people who saw a piece of content that you promoted, or paid for, like an ad. Lastly, viral reach measures how many people saw your content after one of their friends interacted with it.
To put these variations of reach into perspective, let’s dive into a few simple examples:
Someone who “likes” your nonprofit’s Facebook page is likely to see what you post organically, because this person chose to follow you. Thus, your posts will naturally appear on their newsfeed.
On the other hand, people who don’t follow your page, but who follow a similar Facebook page make a good target audience for your ads. So, when you run an ad to target this said audience, paid reach will measure the number of people who see your promoted, or paid, content.
Finally, say someone comments on one of your nonprofit’s posts on Facebook. This person’s friends might now see your post simply because their friend commented, making this an example of viral reach.
Which one is more important to measure?
Ultimately, focusing more on either reach or impressions should be dependent on what your organization’s goals are. You might want to track impressions if you are worried about overwhelming users with your content, as, again, this measures how many times your ad is displayed on a screen. Measuring impressions can also help you to see if there is anything wrong with the framing or content of your ad, because if there are no impressions, that means that it’s not being displayed at all. So, you can look at this to also see if you need to revise anything within your ad.
However, focusing on reach can also help you to further understand if your content is resonating with your audience. If your ad has reached a lot of people, but hasn’t led to any conversions, take this as a note to revise something within your content or within how you are framing the ad itself.
With all that being said, both reach and impressions go well hand-in-hand as they are metrics of two very distinct activities. Monitoring both metrics will help you understand how your ads are performing and how quality your content is.