Tracking social media engagement can help you determine how many people are reading your content. You can then analyze this data to identify potential customers. First you must figure out  what the social media metrics mean and how to interpret them. This requires an understanding of the differences between social media reach and impressions.

Reach Versus Impressions 

Social media impressions indicate how many users were exposed to your content on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It should be close to the number of followers you have on each of those websites.

Reach, meanwhile, tells you how many people actually clicked on your content or engaged with it by commenting, sharing or liking it. Your reach is usually smaller than your impressions are. While the basic differences between reach and impressions are easy to understand, the major social media websites each count these statistics differently.  


On Instagram, you receive an impression each time someone sees one of your videos, posts or stories. The website determines your social media reach by counting the number of unique users who engage with your posts. This includes both your followers and those who see your photos and videos as suggested content on their pages.


Facebook defines impressions as the number of times your company’s content appears on a screen. If a user originally scrolls past the ad and then scrolls back up to look at it more closely, that counts as just one impression. However, if the user sees the same ad during a second visit to Facebook that same day, that counts as a second impression.

Facebook for Business offers a “Viewed Impressions” section that lets you see how many users have looked at your content. Keep in mind that Facebook will count an impression even if a user does not actually play your video ad.


Unfortunately, Twitter does not track social media reach. However, it does calculate your impressions. Twitter counts an impression whenever a user sees one of your tweets. Best of all, the website provides this analytics information for free.

Twitter also keeps track of the impressions you receive for a tweet thread. Impressions for each tweet in the thread are counted individually.    

Track social media engagement to see if your digital content is achieving a solid return on investment. If you are focusing on online ads, pay special attention to the impressions. This helps you determines how many people actually saw those ads. However, if you joined Facebook or Instagram to boost brand awareness, you should primarily look at your social media reach.