Social media – what is the difference between reach and impressions?

There are only three social platforms that show both reach and impressions. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Others show one but not the other. However, does this make one more important than another?

Cartoon of a man pole jumping over a graph line. Surrounded by Instagram and Facebook likes. To the right of this is a cartoon selfie of a girl pouting on Instagram with reactions underneath.

Both reach and impressions allow you to see how much of an impact your social media profiles are making. They’ll show you how much your content is being viewed and interacted with by users on various platforms. However, not all platforms share data in the same way, so it is a case of trying to understand each social site individually.

To sum it up simply: reach refers to how many people saw your content and impressions refer to how many times your content has been viewed. So, your content may have been viewed 50 times, but by only 10 people. Therefore, your impressions will look a lot higher than your reach. This doesn’t mean all 10 viewed your content 5 times each though.

There is no way of knowing for sure how many times each person viewed your content. These numbers are essentially summaries, rather than super in depth information. Typically, your impressions will be higher than your reach and that’s because it’s likely that multiple followers of yours have viewed your content more than once.

Social media reach

The amount of users who saw your content will come under your reach. It simply translates to how far your content has reached. If it hasn’t stretched far, then your reach will be low because you haven’t had many people viewing your posts.

A few platforms let you track your overall reach separate to each post’s reach. You will be able to see how well each post, Reel or Story has done and then see how your account is performing overall. You might find a large portion of your overall reach comes from popular posts.

Social media impressions

Impressions refer to the amount of times your content has been viewed. If multiple followers view your posts over and over, this will rack up your impressions, but your reach will be lower. That’s because your content is being viewed a lot but only by a certain number of people.

Every time your content has appeared within a user’s search results, or feed it will count as an impression. All visits to your content are counted as impressions, whether the person chooses to interact further or not.

You’re able to see how each post has done individually for impressions. Or, you can see your impressions overall. If you constantly get high numbers of impressions but a low reach, you’ll know your followers are regularly viewing the same posts.

How reach and impressions work across various social platforms

Each platform works slightly different. There are platforms like YouTube, or Twitter that don’t offer both. Therefore, we are only going to dive into the three that do offer both reach and impressions statistics. These are Facebook, TikTok and Instagram.


Reach is defined by how many people saw your content through your Facebook page. Or, alternatively, how many saw your content through you being tagged in a post. For example, if we were to be tagged in a post about a PUSH link, and people saw it. It would count as reach.

This is because people are learning about your content, and services through Facebook. They are seeing who you are and therefore your name is reaching various accounts. Whether they see it through other people or your own posts, it doesn’t matter.

However, impressions refer to the number of times your content has appeared on someone’s screen. So, as we were saying before, if someone clicks on your content at various stages, this will count for multiple impressions.

Your work has still only reached one person, but if they show one friend, then another, each time they get your content up on their screen will count as an impression. These views count whether the person has chosen to search for your content or not.

If your content appears on their news feed, then again through searches, or they click on your page. All of these methods will count as an impression separately. If you have paid for adverts, Facebook will split your paid impressions from your organic ones.


With Instagram, any time a new account views your content will count as reach. These accounts must be different. They won’t count various visits from the same person as new reach. They have a section called Accounts Reached to show this information.

However, their impressions work the same as most platforms. Each time your content is seen will count as a new impression. Even if one account views your content multiple times. It will count as a new impression each time.

You’re able to view your reach and your impressions over the last 7 days within Instagram’s app. However, you can’t view this on the desktop version. You can also see the past month, and the past 90 days. This allows you to see where any spikes or drops are.


With TikTok you’ll see a section in your statistics called Reached audience. This refers to how many individual accounts have viewed your content. If one person views your videos multiple times, it will only count as one person within your reach.

Their impressions can be found under Total video views. This can be split down from the past 7 days, month or further. These will show you how many times your TikTok content has been seen. Even if it’s been viewed multiple times by one person.

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