What Social Media Reach Is and How It Can Help Your Marketing Strategy

Let’s say you’ve just launched an advertising campaign or published a piece of content, and you want to see how it’s doing. You open up your analytics dashboard and see two words pop up over and over: “impressions” and “reach.” You’re sure those are two separate things, but you’ve never fully understood the difference.

What are social media impressions and social media reach?

Why is it important to measure social media reach?

By tracking reach, you can better understand how large your customer base is and how effective your marketing strategies are at putting your content in front of potential customers. Because social media reach measures unique visitors rather than counting the same viewer multiple times, it can give you a more accurate idea of how many individual potential customers you have than similar metrics like impressions. As you track reach over time, you can measure how your brand awareness is growing.

Reach can provide a more accurate number of how many people are actually seeing your content than followers. The algorithms that sort how information appears on social media sites may not show your original posts to all followers, and some followers may be bot or spam accounts, which can be why your reach is smaller than your total follower count. The advantage to reach is that it usually indicates when a user actually views your post.

What is social media reach?

Social media reach is a measure of the number of people who see content posted on social media. Its one of several social media metrics, which are specific kinds of data that show how users see and interact with content on social media. Marketing departments may measure social media metrics like reach during the planning and evaluation stages of campaigns to understand who their content is reaching and whether its effective. Here are some things social media reach can give you information on:

You can present your social media reach in two ways: as a number of users or as a percentage of your total follower count. Some social media platforms directly tell you your reach by letting you know how many users saw an individual post. You may choose to calculate the percentage to put that number in the context of your whole audience.

What are the types of reach?

Some sites break down reach into types based on how the user saw the content. Here are some common types of reach:

What can affect your social media reach?

These are some factors that can affect how many people your social media content reaches:

Other essential social media metrics to track

Here are some other metrics that can help you track your social media impact:


Engagement is a broad metric that counts many types of user interactions. Which interactions count can depend on the social media platform, but it generally includes comments, reaction button responses like “likes,” new follows and shares.

Applause rate

Applause rate is a metric within engagement that measures only positive reactions to a given post. This depends on the platform but may include likes, favorites or specific emotive reactions like a thumbs-up or smiling response.

Virality rate

A posts virality rate is how many times its shared compared to the reach. Measuring the virality rate of different posts can show you what kind of content your audience wants to share, whether because they want to talk about it or find the post itself valuable.


An impression is a single time that a viewer sees your content on social media. While reach counts the number of people who see a post, impressions count the number of times a user sees the post. For instance, if a user sees a post twice, from the original source and then when someone else shares it, that counts as two impressions, while it would only count as one user when tracking reach. Some sites may detail the type of impression by the content and how it appears on the page. Here are some specific types of impressions:

Account mentions

Account mentions are times when users mention your company organically, and they can indicate good brand awareness and even brand loyalty. Account mentions usually include tags and mentions of your company using an @ sign that are not responses to one of your posts or comments.

Share of voice

Also called social share of voice, share of voice is like share of market for online presence. It measures how many people are interacting with your brand compared to how many people are interacting with your competitors.

Click-through rate

The click-through rate for an ad or post is the ratio of how many people click on a link compared to the total number of impressions for that ad or post. This can be useful for understanding whether your content has an effective call to action or not.


How is social media reach calculated?

Reach is the total number of people who see your content. Impressions are the number of times your content is displayed, no matter if it was clicked or not. Think of reach as the number of unique people who see your content. In a perfect world, every one of your followers would see every piece of content you posted.

What is social media reach vs engagement?

CTR gives you a sense of how many people saw your social content and wanted to know more. It’s a good indicator of how well your social content promotes your offering. To calculate CTR, divide the total number of clicks for a post by the total number of impressions. Multiply by 100 to get your CTR as a percentage.

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