Facebook Analytics 101: Impressions
For a long time, digital marketers have relied on the Impressions metric to determine how much exposure they are getting.
When it comes to Facebook, Impressions are still valuable to measure, because then you can easily compare the exposure your brand receives on social media to other online channels.
Impressions is the total number of times activity related to your Page is seen by people on Facebook, whether they see it organically, virally or via a paid advertisement.
Impressions vs Reach
Impressions and Reach (People Reached) are related but slightly different.
Let’s say somebody on Facebook sees your post three times in their news feed during the day. You have basically received 3 impressions on your post, but the reach is just 1 person.
Reach measures unique people. Impressions does not measure unique people, but rather the total number of times your activity is seen.
In the above, we can see there are 289,272 impressions and 164,149 people reached. Your Facebook Page has reached some people multiple times
As you can see, both of these metrics are valuable for marketers to analyze.
The 3 Components of Impressions
Impressions can be broken down into the following 3 components:
- Organic Impressions: The number of times people saw activity related to your Page directly from your Page.
- Paid Impressions: The number of times people saw activity related to your Page via a paid Facebook ad.
- Viral Impressions: The number of times people saw activity related to your Page via a story published by a friend. For instance, if someone likes, comments or shares something on your page, their friends might see a story about your page virally.
Note: Unfortunately, Facebook Insights no longer displays the Viral Impressions of your page. Facebook has grouped Viral Impressions into the Organic Impressions value in the Insights tool. Luckily, Crowdbabble still supports Viral Impressions as the data is still available in the API.
Above, we can see the breakdown of Impressions over time for a Facebook Page. The sum of organic, paid and viral impressions are equal to the total impressions.
It’s clear this Page relies heavily on paid distribution and would only be able to get a small fraction of the impressions without buying Facebook ads.