Digital Marketing Analytics, Measuring Social Media

54% of Marketers Don’t Understand the Difference Between Reach and Impressions

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54% of Marketers Don’t Understand the Difference Between Reach and Impressions

Allison Chaney

Aug 31 2021

In our digital marketing training courses and workshops, when we ask our students the difference between reach and impressions, they often get it wrong. In our digital IQ test, which surveyed over 2000 marketers, the results show that 54% of marketers don’t understand the difference between reach and impressions.54% don’t understand the difference between reach and impressions For the full report and tips on how you can improve your digital IQ, click here.

When you search for reach vs. impressions, even some of the search results can be misleading. That’s why we created this post, to break it down so you can understand these metrics and how to use them to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing plan.

It’s important to understand that reach represents the unique number of people who you reached with your content or ad.

Impressions represents the number of times the ad was displayed. If you search for “what is the difference between reach and impressions” you will find posts that claim that number of views of your content counts as an impression. The fact is, impressions are the number of times your content was shown anywhere, even below  the fold (off screen). So an impression doesn’t necessarily mean that a human actually saw the ad or content piece.

If your objective is to drive awareness, then it’s important to understand how many unique people were reached with your message, and that you’re not just reaching the same people multiple times.

If your objective is to build know, like and trust by building brand recognition and loyalty through great content, then measure impressions.

Think of it like this: reach counts each person, and impressions count how many times the content was on a page in front of them (whether they actually scrolled to see it or not). So if you want to reach more people, focus on tactics that improve your reach. If you want to impress your existing audience with valuable content, then generate impressions with multiple pieces of content to the same audience.

To learn more about choosing the right metrics for measuring your success, check out our Digital Measurement Course.  We even offer a free trial so you can check out our full course library.

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