the differences between social media metrics – WAU

There are many doubts about the reach x impressions relationship on social networks. While the first metric signals the number of people impacted by a content, the second counts how many times it was seen, even when a single user contacted the post in more than one moment.

If you work with social networks, you’ve probably had doubts about the reach x impressions relationship.

Both metrics are very important in a social strategy and must be studied thoroughly to improve the performance of any brand.

The area is only growing. It is no wonder that LinkedIn, in an annual report, which predicted the main professions for the year 2020, pointed out two positions related to social networks.

The top of the list was conquered by the position “Social Media Manager”, while the 12th position was for “Social Media Assistant”.

That is why it is extremely valuable to study the main success indicators on networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – it is wrong to believe that the platforms are only for entertainment.

There is a gigantic market in need of trained professionals who master Digital marketing.

In this post, we will talk about the subject from the following topics:

What is the difference between reach and impressions?

Reach represents the number of people who contacted a publication. If you’ve seen the same post 3 times, it doesn’t matter: it will count as a single user.

For impressions, are counted how many times the posts were displayed to the user.

All numbers are added up, even in cases where the same user sees content more than once. When analyzing the metrics in reports, you can see that impressions will be at least equal – in most cases greater – than the number of people reached.

It is worth noting that both metrics do not offer data on how many people have actually engaged with the content, since this is due to the engagement metric.

How does each major social network define the terms?

To move forward in the marketing strategy and understand the issue of both metrics in practice, it is important to understand how each of the major social networks defines the terms.

Even though Facebook and Instagram belong to the same company and are increasingly moving towards unified processes and concepts, there are still different aspects between platforms.

In addition, Twitter also use the metric and deserves due discussion.


Regarding reach and impressions, there are three subcategories for each of the two concepts. They are called paid, organic and viral:

  • organic: free impact for any content that has been posted on a page;
  • paid: impact paid through sponsored posts and advertisements or dark posts;
  • viral: impact of people who saw the contents of a page on your timeline because friends liked or followed the page, became involved with posts, did some publication or shared photos, for example.

It is important to note that in the case of paid reach, the greater the amount of money invested in publications, the better the delivery of Facebook.

Money alone does not guarantee the performance of a post – after all, it needs to have quality and make sense to a brand’s audience – but it is important to study paid online media stocks to succeed.


Unlike Facebook, Instagram does not break down metrics into more specific categories. Therefore, it is worth the concept that we explained at the beginning of the content.


Twitter doesn’t work with reach metrics, just impressions. According to the platform, they can be defined as “how many times a user receives a tweet on the timeline or search results”.

That is, in the same way as on Instagram and Facebook, the same person is counted several times in the metric if it has been impacted by the content in more than one moment.

This happens, for example, when several friends retweet the same content on different days or times.

How to improve such metrics?

After understanding the concept of both metrics, the time has come to understand what are the best ways to perfect the content so that it reaches an increasing number of people.

Initially, it is important to make it clear that, even though the metrics are not “stamped” on the face of the reader or business partners – like likes and comments, also known as “vanity metrics” -, reach and impressions are extremely important in a social media strategy.

Brand recognition and branding are two important factors to invest in this type of metric. When viewing content more than once, establishing frequency, the user begins to create memories about specific brands and products.

And we know how important it is to work on it!

Check out what you can do next.

Invest in paid content

In recent years, social networks – mainly Facebook – have positioned themselves as business tools.

That is, to appear in the users’ news feed, brands would need to invest more and more money.

A post by Facebook’s Vice President of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland, was striking and represented a kind of watershed in understanding the decline. According to him, there are two main causes for the fall.

The first would be the increasing amount of content published on the social network. That is, the more people publishing, the greater the fight for space in the timelines. The second, in turn, is how Facebook’s news feed works.

Instead of showing all content posted by everyone and pages liked by a profile, Facebook studies what would be the most relevant posts for each specific person.

From more than 1,500 publications that could be viewed in one day, approximately 300 are displayed.

A survey released by Ogilvy in 2014 indicated that a page with approximately 500,000 fans would have an organic reach of at most 2%. Therefore, to circumvent the algorithms that close the siege more and more, it is important to invest in paid content.

In addition to ensuring that the posts will reach an expected number of people, tools such as Facebook For Business or Twitter Analytics allow the creation of campaigns for extremely segmented audiences and married to the most diverse persona profiles of any brand.

Periodically monitor

One of the main ways to understand if the content is being delivered – and how the numbers are performing – is through periodic monitoring of social networks.

In the case of organic posts, analyze users’ peak activity to set time and date for publication. That way, you will better explore the potential of that post. For paid posts, the question of time is not so important, but it is worth following to understand each of the metrics.

Oftentimes, even when there is investment in media, some formats “don’t work”. This can happen due to several factors, such as distance from the subject, campaigns not thought for the right personas, lack of creativity or a simple bad luck.

This is a great reason to monitor beyond the numbers, also understanding how the public’s response is. For this, it is worth analyzing metrics such as engagement and views in the case of videos.

Invest in hashtags and locations

In addition to media investment, there are some small “tricks” that can increase the reach of a post.

When using specific hashtags, as well as tagging posts in feed posts or stories, your content will be available to everyone who searches for those keywords on the social network.

It is an excellent way, even, to conquer a new audience. To do this, map those words that make the most sense in relation to the moment of your business and the universe of the brand as a whole.

In the case of geolocalized markings, study points that may somehow have connection with the profile.

When there is exaggeration – many brands publish in locations that have nothing to do with the proposal – what happens is a reverse effect, causing distance and even disgust on the part of the reader.

At the time of Hurricane Irma, which hit the United States and the Caribbean in 2017, it was common to search for islands like Sint Maarten to see real-time content about the situation of the population and, among some stories, to find random photos of stores or services. completely random places. Not cool!

Invest in quality, periodic content

Maintaining an editorial calendar that maintains frequency is important to ensure the reach of a page.

Thus, the reader will be “fed” by content constantly, without running the risk of forgetting about your company or losing interest.

Remember, though, that quantity alone does not mean quality. Keep in mind that all content must present a value proposition – even those that are part of more aggressive campaigns and have sales as a goal – and think of each one strategically, always remembering to offer relevant information for the your audience.

Practices such as storytelling, creative writing and humanized campaigns can be noticed with a frequency that increases dramatically every day.

This was only possible due to changes in user behavior, which is not easily “sold” as it was in the past. To win a customer, you need to deserve his attention.

Therefore, invest in relevant content, paying attention to technical terms and constantly monitoring success metrics. Thus, the long-awaited positive result becomes a simple consequence of a lot of hard work and dedication.

If you liked this post and understood the reach x impressions relationship, discover 35 tools to make the most of the benefits that social networks offer!