Crash Course Blog Post on Impressions reach engagement

Crash Course: Impressions, Reach and Engagement

It is no exaggeration to say that say social media has a language of its own. From emojis to abbreviations to tons of different metrics, many terms can be easily confused by even the most fluent social media users. Today we will dive into one of the biggest sources of confusion for many people: the difference between reach vs. impressions, and how these metrics influence engagement on Facebook.

These terms are all used frequently when referring to social analytics and are essential to forming an idea of how your Facebook page is performing. To help clear up any misunderstanding when it comes to these terms we will first define all three, and then break down how they relate to each other and why they are important to reporting on your Facebook performance. So let’s dive right in!


Impressions are the number of times a post from your page is displayed. For example, if someone sees a page update in their Facebook newsfeed and then sees that same update when a friend shares it, that would count as 2 impressions.


Reach is the number of people who received impressions of a Page post. If we continue with the previous example, there was only one “reach” recorded for that post, even though it was seen twice by that same person. That is because it was only one person who saw it.

While this is the most basic definition of “reach” there are all also three different categories reach can fall into on Facebook.

  1. Organic Reach: this represents the number of unique people who saw a piece of content for free, or without any advertising dollars spent, in their newsfeed after it was shared on your page.
  2. Paid Reach: This is the number of people who saw your post as a result of a promotion. Paid reach is influenced by your ad spend, so the more you spend the more people will see that content or ad.
  3. Viral Reach: This is the number of unique people who saw your post as a result of another Facebook user liking, reacting, commenting, or sharing that piece of content. This can be a result of organic posting and/or paid posting.

Now that we understand the difference between impressions and reach, we can dive into engagement!

Engagement and Engagement Rate  

Engagement on Facebook is when people perform actions on your content. They may like a post, click on a link or comment on an image. The number reported by Facebook as engagement is defined as the number of clicks, likes, shares and comments on a post.

Engagement rate is the number of people who’ve engaged with the Facebook post by liking, reacting, commenting, clicking on or sharing the post divided by the number of people who were reached. For example, if you had 10 likes on a post that reached 100 people your engagement rate would be 10%. The average engagement rate for our industry is right around 2%.

Why Should I Care About Engagement?

Past post engagement plays a huge role in determining who is going to see your posts. Engagement is a major factor in Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm that determines who gets to see your posts, or in other words what your reach is going to be. The algorithm is meant to enhance the user’s experience so it takes into consideration if a user has engaged with your posts before when determining who to show your post to. This is why engaging content should be the overall goal for your Facebook posts. The more your content is liked, replied to or shared, the more unique users you will be able to reach!

The relationship between engagement and reach is therefore co-dependent. You need reach to build engagement, and high engagement to keep increasing your reach. This means you need to focus on creating high quality content designed to engage with users while at the same time thinking of new ways to attract new Facebook followers to increase your reach.

For ideas on how to build high quality content and increase your Facebook reach, check out our Dealer Content Suggestions to start brainstorming!


Sarah Gallagher
Pradip Bhintade / December 5, 2018

Thanks for sharing

Chong Boon Keang / January 6, 2019

Good Info. Thanks!

Ahmet / February 13, 2019

This is very helpful for advertising thanks…

BVC / April 18, 2019

Excellently explained Sarah. You write the way I read.


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