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Leaving a Good Impression: How to Effectively Measure Engagements


No matter what type of marketing campaign you’re about to launch, it’s also important to track the key social metrics.  We’ve all heard of reach, impressions and engagements, but what’s the difference and what do they really measure?

Reach can be defined as the total number of unique people who view your content. CPC strategy states that the added term that you will want to focus on here is “unique.” This is because reach only includes the number of times that your content was seen by a new individual. Duplicate views by a single person are not accounted for here.

Often confused with reach, impressions are the total number of times your content was seen. It can also be described as the total number of times your ad was displayed on the screen. Impressions include people who have seen, clicked or shared your post or ad several times.

To distinguish the difference between the two, let’s say that two unique individuals each saw an ad three times, the ad will have reached two people and have a total of six impressions.

Due to the fact that impressions include those who have seen the add multiple times, impressions are generally always higher than reach. If your impressions are higher, this means your audience is viewing your content more than once and is performing well.

All social media platforms generally have a different algorithm for tracking impressions and reach.

For example, Hootsuite mentioned that Facebook includes three different types of reach. Organic reach is the number of people who saw your content organically, paid reach is the number of people who have seen content such as a boosted post. Viral reach is the number of people who saw your content because someone else shared or interacted with it.

Twitter, on the other hand, does not track reach at all. However, Twitter does track impressions and classifies them as any time a Twitter user sees a tweet, whether that be through search results or in their feed.

Instagram is a little more straightforward as opposed to its other social counterparts. Instagram simply coins reach as the total number of unique accounts that have seen your story or post. Impressions calculate the total number of times users saw your story or post.

Both reach and impressions are tracked together when looking into the effectiveness of a campaign.

With impressions, each person has seen the add once, if not multiple times. To figure out the average number of impressions by user, you must divide total impressions by total reach. This is also often call “ad frequency.”

According to Hootsuite, most research done on brand awareness suggests that users must see an ad several times before they become aware of the brand. Advertisers often call this “effective frequency,” or the number of times one sees an add before they respond to it.

Both reach and impressions are great to use in campaigns that are centered around increasing brand awareness.

Make sure you take time to learn about your target audience. This will help to determine what social platforms and message strategies you will use.

Engagements are the number of times people interact with your post, whether it be a like, share or comment. This is often an important metric to follow as it allows you to see how well your audience is connecting with your content.

Once you know the number of engagements a post has, you can then calculate the engagement rate. Engagement rate is the total number if engagements divided by the total number of impressions multiplied by 100.

According to Sprout Social, engagement rates are great indicators of which posts your audience interacts the most with, whether that be video, photo or carousel posts.

Engagement rates can also help you to evaluate your message strategy.

If video posts tend to have a higher engagement rate than photo posts, using video posts may be something you want to implement in future strategies.

When launching your next campaign, remember to ask yourself one key question: “What’s the main goal of this campaign?” Your answer will drastically impact the amount of reach, impressions and engagements you will be after. However, setting targets for where you would like each of these metrics to be will help you to narrow down your target audience in a more strategic way.

About The Author

Abby came to ABC as an intern only to return and emerge as a social media, content development and PR powerhouse.

She was turned onto marketing and its cultural influence as an avid social media user and now channels her knowledge of those platforms to craft consistent messaging and engaging content.

The public relations degree-holder moonlights as a foodie and fan of all things Syracuse, from the eateries to the sports teams. Abby appreciates the family dynamic at ABC, where she can exercise her creativity in a collaborative setting.