In theory, you don’t need an advanced understanding of Instagram’s most complex technicalities to succeed on the platform. The algorithm running things can be boiled down very simply: if your content is making people spend more time on the platform, Insta is going to view it more favourably. This, of course, means engaging content that people stop for, digest, interact with, and share.
Still, there are several key metrics that are going to be beneficial if you have at least a basic grasp of them.
The two that we’re exploring today (which will help steer your campaigns in the right direction), are reach and impressions. And no, contrary to popular belief, these are not the same metric with different names.
Impressions and reach are similar to a degree, but make no mistake – they are indications of two very different things. By continuously tracking, measuring and analysing metrics like these, you gain the insights you need to run a more effective Instagram strategy.
Irrespective of your main objectives on Instagram, impressions and reach are metrics to prioritise.
Instagram Impressions – What Does it Mean?
The official definition of Instagram impressions is:
“The total number of times that your post has been seen.”
Much as this sounds disconcertingly vague, it’s a perfectly accurate description.
For example, if analytics indicate that something published on Instagram has 100,000 impressions, it means it has been seen 100,000 times. But this does not necessarily mean that 100,000 unique Instagram users saw it.
Instagram impressions are purely numerical indicators of the number of times a post was seen. Of these 100,000 impressions, any number of viewers could have seen the post several times.
Plus, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that impressions are not an indicator of engagement or interaction. They simply confirm the number of times the post has appeared in front of someone on Instagram.
This is not a measure of people who like, comment, share, or save your content.
Why Are Instagram Impressions Important?
Impressions are important for two reasons. First, they provide invaluable insights into how many times your posts are being seen – aka, how discoverable your posts are.
Second, Instagram’s algorithm uses metrics like these to determine which posts and profiles should be recommended and promoted. The more impressions a post accumulates, the more popular it appears to be. The more popular a post is, the more likely it is to appear in more people’s feeds.
Instagram Reach – What Does it Mean?
With reach, you are also provided with an indication of how many people have seen your posts. Though in this instance, the number indicates how many unique Instagram users have viewed your content.
If your reach figure is 100,000 , this means 100,000 unique people have seen your post. Irrespective of how many times a person views something on Instagram, it still contributes just once to the reach count.
Why is Instagram Reach Important?
Tracking reach gives you a more accurate indication of how broadly your content is being picked up and viewed. Reach could therefore be argued as a more important metric than impressions, as it discounts multiple views from the total count.
Again, reach is one of the primary metrics Instagram uses as the basis for its indexation algorithm. More reach means more unique users viewing a post, indicating its popularity, credibility and value. Like impressions, reach therefore makes a direct contribution to prominence and exposure on Instagram.
Tracking and Measuring Impressions and Reach
When it comes to measuring Instagram metrics, there’s only one place you really need to go looking: Instagram Insights.
This is the platform’s in-built analytics tool, which provides invaluable data on the performance of your Insta posts. There are also third-party apps and tracking solutions available, but few are as user-friendly or intuitive.
Insights is designed to be easy to use. You’ll need a business account to gain access, and once you’re in it’s a simple case of exploring the available, easily categorised data.
It’s certainly valuable to know your way around Instagram metrics and the Insights feature, but here’s our pro tip: don’t let yourself get caught up chasing numbers.
Success on Instagram (or any social media platform) is about being social, engaging with other human beings. It’s about creating and sharing content that people will take time out of their day to stop and consume.
Learn the metrics, yes, but above all else you should prioritise your audience – entertain them, teach them, help them. Give them something they want, don’t spend hours trying to cleverly beat the algorithm. Doing so will only come across as a box-ticking exercise; it’s why so many businesses fail to make an impact on social media.
Put the people first, and the numbers second. Use the data to help you see what’s working and what isn’t, but not as your be-all-end-all.
And if you’re still lost, contact our team of experts today – we’ll help you through.