Impressions vs. Reach in Facebook Reports

Discover why these metrics can vary and how they impact your social media analysis

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Written by Napoleon The Cat
Updated over a week ago

πŸ€” Have you ever wondered why the impressions and reach data in your Facebook reports might differ? In this article, we'll break down the reasons behind this discrepancy and explain how Facebook sends reach and impressions data via their API. No need to fret; we'll walk you through everything you need to know!

Reach vs. Impressions: the definitions

Before diving into the examples, let's make sure we're on the same page with the definitions of reach and impressions in Facebook reports!

πŸ‘₯ Reach is the number of unique users who see your content on Facebook. It is an indicator of how far your content is spreading and how many people are exposed to it. There are different increments of reach data, such as 1-day, 7-day, and 28-day reach.

πŸ”— Looking to learn more about how to understand reach metrics? πŸ‘ˆπŸ½ Check out this full article.

πŸ‘€ Impressions, on the other hand, represent the total number of times your content is displayed on Facebook, regardless of whether it's seen by the same user multiple times. Impressions provide an overview of your content's visibility and how often it appears in users' feeds.

Scenario 1

πŸ€“ Now let's try thinking of some real-life scenarios to help you understand the difference!

So, let's look at the disparity between impressions and reach from, say, March 1st to 28th.

Impressions are the total times your content was shown during the analyzed period, while reach is the average 28-day reach within the same timeframe. Facebook provides reach data in increments like 1-day, 7-day, and 28-day reach, so each day in the analyzed period has its own reach value.

For instance, on March 1st, the reach includes the total reach for that day plus the previous 27 days, even counting some days from February. However, the impressions for March 1st only cover that specific day, not the days before.

To calculate the average 28-day reach, the 28-day reach value for each day is added and then divided by the number of days (28). This way, we're considering the incremental reach values for each day.

So, impressions and reach are different and you shouldn't compare them directly. But.... comparing the total reach and impressions within the same period does make sense. The data would only be wrong if the impressions were lower than the total reach.

❌ Unfortunately, third-party apps like NapoleonCat don't have access to Facebook's "total reach" data via their API. But don't worry, you can find this information directly on the Meta admin side.

Scenario 2

In this example, let's take a look at the difference between impressions and reach for a Facebook page analyzed from March 1st to 7th, using 7-day increments.

So, imagine the reach on March 1st, which includes the total reach for that day along with the reach from the previous 6 days, even reaching back into February. The same goes for the reach on March 2nd. However, impressions for each day during this period (March 1st to 7th) are all about that specific day, not counting the days before.

We hope this explanation goes some way towards helping you understand the difference between impressions and reach! 😺

πŸ—¨οΈ Still got questions? Don't hesitate to reach out to our Customer Success team on chat! Find us purring in the bottom right-hand corner, ready to lend a paw.

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