Impressions vs. Engagements: What’s the Difference?

Impressions vs. Engagements: What's the difference

Impressions vs. Engagements on Social Media: What is the difference?

Helping you Find the right marketing platforms – based on the data!

Does this sound like you?

Your company is working hard to advertise in all the places it can, you’re posting videos, posting everyday sometimes multiple times per day on 5 platforms or more, but you still can’t seem to get any traction.Or maybe you are getting what seems like tons of impressions, you show 600 impressions on a video right after ending your latest livestream but only 2-3 people who have watched it or commented.

Why don’t these impressions = dollars in your business?

Often the answer comes down to paying attention to the ENGAGEMENTS and CLICKS instead of chasing impressions.

So let’s take some time and talk about impressions and engagements and what is the difference for a minute.

Listen in here, or keep reading.

Impressions are the number of times your piece of content had the opportunity to be clicked on in some way no matter the platform. It is the number of times someone scrolled past your content or that it was on their screen at all. I don’t know about you but I scroll past a lot of things that I am not really interested in and those companies shouldn’t take my scrolling past as a sign I am interested.

But engagements tell us who is ACTUALLY interested in your content. Engagement tells us the number of times someone liked, clicked on your content, watched it for any length of time if it was a video, or went on to visit your profile because of a piece of content shared either on social media or if you were on a website search engine and someone clicked through to your website either from an ad or organic search results.

But each platform shares the data a little differently and while most do have the same metrics for measuring impressions vs engagements, sometimes business owners can be deceived by the numbers.

So today I want to go through different insights you will find on your various social media and analytics channels and break down the confusion. The reason being is sometimes we focus too much on one platform that isn’t working for us when really we should dedicate our marketing dollars and time somewhere that we DO get better engagement.

I am not one of those online marketers that believes you have to be everywhere and be everything to everyone. It is perfectly fine for businesses to analyze the data, see where their audience is coming from and focus on those marketing channels that ultimately are bringing them revenue.

Because as Todd Herman once told us at his 90 Day Year Conference – If it doesn’t equal dollars in your pocket, in the end those likes and impressions are really just vanity numbers.

Facebook Insights

Let’s start with Facebook and understanding Insights – this is the analytics data that they give you.

In explaining Impressions, we have to change terms platform to platform to understand what each is telling us. On Facebook they call Impressions – Post Reach. Again, this is the number of times your content was scrolled by total. I want people to be realistic with this metric on social media. While it can be exciting to see a really big number if you have spent a lot of time building your followers, it isn’t always the number you should be paying attention to the most.

It does help you see if you are getting in people’s feeds which can be a challenge for businesses, and maybe your goal is awareness in your business, not driving traffic to buy but this “Reach” number doesn’t always equate to dollars in your pocket.

So when analyzing, instead of focusing on Reach in Facebook focus on the Engagement metrics.

In your Facebook Insights, right below Post Reach you will see Post Engagement – this is the number you want to pay the most attention to. Post Engagements are the number of likes, shares, clicks, or profile visits to your page all rolled into one metric.

This is a better metric for knowing how your message is being received, it is also a better gauge of what content they like you sharing the most and gives you ideas on what to change in the future based on the data not what you think people will like.

Which leads me to another part of your Insights that many of you are not paying attention to which is looking at the individual posts and how different types of content are performing. If you scroll past the Page Summary down to All Posts Published you can get a feel for what people like to see more. From this clients data we can see people could care less when we publish “Happy Labor Day” posts but they love when we share job openings and desserts! It also tells us that images without words perform better than posts with words/sales feel graphics do.

Are you rethinking anything you’re doing in your marketing yet? We hope so!

Impressions vs. Engagements- Facebook

Impressions vs. Engagements- Facebook

Instagram Insights

Now Facebook is one of the bigger platforms but there are a few others that we think you should pay attention to as well like Instagram, the favorite younger sister of Facebook – especially if you are marketing to a younger crowd. I’m not talking about teens exclusively – even the 20, 30 and 40 somethings are starting to prefer Instagram only. They are tired of Facebook and all the ads and divisiveness so they are turning to Instagram and often only Instagram as their social media platform of choice.

What type of content are people wanting on Instagram – pretty pictures, videos and great quotes. That is pretty much it and they don’t want to be sold to so we need to stop trying to and instead use it as influencer type marketing for our businesses. SHOW people what you do and you will influence them to buy, stop trying to get graphics all over your images. I’ve been guilty of this one too but I’m working on changing!

For impressions on Instagram insides they are content as Accounts Reached. Content interactions are Engagements. I’ve been MIA on Instagram this year so I know my numbers are abysmal but I am being very transparent here and showing you my interaction of the past week.

What is frustrating about Instagram is you will only be able to see insights on your phone and they only give you the Last 7 days data, no going back except for the individual posts data – which has some cool metrics to see how individual posts did based on impressions, reach, comments, call taps, website clicks, follows and more up to 2 years worth of data! I totally geek out on this data!

Pinterest Analytics

The next marketing channel I want to talk to you about is Pinterest, I am finding that Pinterest is one of those platforms that we all probably underrate. We did a class on this recently in my networking group and it was so interesting to me how many people view it as just a recipe finder for woman and who finds all their ideas on it.

Pinterest is the 2nd largest search engine used today. They are ahead of Bing and Yahoo (are they really still a thing??) and if you aren’t using it for your business you really are missing out.

When I hired my assistant to help me with the personal marketing of my business that I just wasn’t getting to because I was in the thick of building websites and doing work for clients, our Pinterest numbers were terrible. I was getting like 200 views per month on Pinterest if I was lucky. In a little over 2 months she has those numbers up to 17K+ and continually growing. She’s amazing! If you want to learn the things she has done to fix my forgotten Pinterest page, visit our blog for 10 Tips for using Pinterest for your Business. Seriously they work people!

But the again Impressions aren’t dollars in your pocket or even an indication of an engaged audience. On Pinterest they are telling you that your keyword strategy is working.

As long as your content matches your messaging and keyword strategy you will start to get engagements too. We started at about 0 Engagements for the 1st half of 2020 and now we are getting about 400+ engagements per month. That means more people sharing and visiting MY content, blogs, podcasts and website around the internet. That is your ultimate goal in doing any sort of social media marketing.

Our numbers for the first half of 2020:

Impressions vs. Engagements: Pinterest

Our numbers on Pinterest today:

Impressions vs. Engagements: Pinterest


So what can you go and do today to implement and use this information?

First, I recommend going and looking at your own data. Analyze where you are getting the most reach, but more importantly the most engagements.

Second, look at what the data is telling you about the TYPE of content your engaged audience likes most. And not just likes but also interacts with, what are they clicking on, commenting on, and clicking through to your website from, not just giving you a thumbs up on! Remember vanity numbers don’t equal dollars.

Third, make a plan to give the people more of what they want based on the data. That could mean cutting out under performing products, creating more videos, and taking pictures of yourself to post doing less salesy post graphics and more educational or light hearted posts. If you look at the data, it will tell you the things you need to change about the way you share information to give the people who are interested in your business what they want. And that will make a huge difference in not only your reach but your engagements.

And if you’re just getting started, don’t forget to optimize your social media profiles first. We have 3 great articles on our website all about optimizing your Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram accounts and get started right.

I hope you are inspired to stop worrying about impressions so much and start focusing on creating engaging content for your audience, no matter how big or small that audience is right now.

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