Facebook Reach vs Facebook Impressions: What’s the Difference?

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OCT. 8, 2019

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Your company’s brand will experience significant growth through an effective social media marketing strategy. Because Facebook is the most widely used platform in the United States, with some 68 percent of the adult population as users, and around the world, it only makes sense to leverage Facebook advertising as a key driver for customer engagement with your brand.

Facebook provides two foundational metrics to help you refine and adjust your marketing strategy as needed: reach and impressions. This article will discuss what each of these metrics measure, how they are different from one another, and why they are so important.

What Facebook Reach and Impressions Measure

Facebook defines reach as “the number of people who saw your ads at least once.” According to this definition, reach measures the total number of unique users who saw your ad. In contrast, Facebook’s definition of impressions is “the number of times your ads were on screen.” Unlike reach, impressions are counted per page load. In other words, if a user scrolls up and down a single page four times, only one impression is registered; however, if a user refreshes a page that contains your ad four times, then four separate impressions will be counted.

How Are Reach and Impressions Different from Each Other?

As previously mentioned, reach focuses on the number of unique users that saw your ad. Impressions simply measure how many times an ad came on screen. Therefore, the number of impressions will typically be much higher per ad campaign than the number of users reached. For instance, your campaign may yield 2,000 impressions but only have a reach of 1,000 users. This means, on average, each unique user that viewed your ad did so twice.

You can find your number of impressions in Ads Manager.

The Importance of Reach and Impressions

The reach and impression metrics can give you a good idea of how effectively your Facebook ad campaign is performing. For example, high reach totals indicate that your ad is receiving a lot of exposure across your target audience. High impression counts imply that each unique user is seeing your ad multiple times.

These metrics can help you determine how well your marketing initiatives are pushing customers through the Facebook sales funnel. You can also leverage these metrics to determine if your campaign needs any tweaks to be more successful. Along with reach and impressions, you will also want to consult related metrics that will help create a bigger picture of your campaign performance.

You can find your reach numbers in Ads Manager.

Important Related Metrics

Two vital metrics that nicely dovetail with reach and impressions are CPM and frequency.

  • CPM  (cost per impression) measures the average cost per 1,000 impressions. This is an extremely useful metric to determine campaign performance. For instance, if your impression totals are quite high, but you are paying huge amounts of money for those impressions, then it is time to shift your targeting strategy.
  • Frequency measures the average number of times each unique user sees your ad. You can calculate frequency as impressions divided by reach. Frequency can help clue you in on potential ad fatigue that your users may be experiencing. For example, an extremely high frequency can result in ad fatigue, as users are seeing your ads too often.

Although reach and impressions are different from each other, they work well together, along with other metrics, such as CPM and frequency, to provide an accurate depiction of how well your social media marketing campaigns are performing.

By Eliot Eaton

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Facebook Reach vs Facebook Impressions: What’s the Difference?