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Image showing a floating pink staircase leading up to a target with an arrow in the bullseye, on a pale pink background. Achieving Instagram impressions and reach blog post

Instagram Impressions & Reach: Definitions

TJ Kiely

Jan 17, 2024

Tracking your success on Instagram is a surefire way to make your Instagram marketing more effective. Like other social media platforms, Instagram collects and organizes a variety of metrics to help you see how you’re doing. Two all-important metrics you’ll want to pay attention to are impressions and reach.

But what does reach mean on Instagram? What is an impression on Instagram? And most importantly, why should marketers care?

This guide gives you the definitions you seek along with tips on how to use reach and impression data to improve your social media marketing.

Table of Contents:

Opening Instagram on a phone.

What Are Impressions on Instagram?

Let’s start with the basics: What is an impression on Instagram?

Impressions represent how many times your Instagram content has been displayed on screen. Let’s say you post a piece of content on Instagram and a user sees it. That counts as one impression. Now, let’s say that same user sees that same content three more times. That counts as three more impressions.

What Do Impressions Mean on Instagram?

Impressions do not measure engagement, nor do they indicate any form of interest from the user. So, how can we define the Instagram impressions meaning?

Simply put, impressions are a measure of visibility. The higher the number of Instagram impressions, the more your content has been seen by others.

What Does Reach Mean on Instagram?

The Reach metric shows how many different users have seen your content. There are different types of reach:

Organic reach refers to the number of people who saw your content in their feed. In other words, you didn’t have to pay for an ad to show them your content. These people probably see your content because they have chosen to follow you on Instagram.

Paid reach is the number of people who saw your content because of a paid ad. You’re paying to get in front of people who wouldn’t have otherwise seen your content.

Viral reach refers to the number of people who saw your content because other people have shared it.

What Does Accounts Reached Mean on Instagram?

Accounts Reached on Instagram refers to the total number of unique user accounts that have seen your content. Accounts Reached doesn’t take into account the nuances between the different reach types. It gives you a simple number that lets you see how far your content has traveled on Instagram.

Reach vs Impressions Instagram

Instagram impressions are often confused with Instagram reach, but the two aren’t quite the same.

Going back to our previous example, let’s say you post a piece of content and one user sees it. That means you have a reach of one. Now, let’s say that same user sees that same piece of content three more times. While this would result in four total impressions, your reach would still be one because the same person viewed the content multiple times. Those four impressions didn't come from four unique individuals.

Instagram impressions and Instagram reach are likely to be different numbers.

Why Does Instagram Reach Matter?

The Reach metric in your Instagram analytics can help you gauge the effectiveness of your ads. For example, if your reach is high but you have zero clicks and conversions, you might need to rethink your ad creative. Something might not be resonating with your audience, or you might not be reaching the right people.

On the flip side, if you have a healthy reach, you can feel confident your content is being seen and people are engaging. Analyzing reach alongside other Instagram metrics, like impressions, clicks, and shares, will help you demonstrate your content’s success.

Why Do Impressions on Instagram Matter?

Impressions also matter in your Instagram marketing. Similar to reach, impressions on Instagram let you know your content is being seen. It can also help put your mind at ease that you're not overwhelming your audience with too many ads. This could be the case if your impressions are significantly higher than your reach (e.g., 1,000 impressions with a reach of 100, which would be an average of 10 impressions per user).

Low Instagram impressions right after launch can also be a sign there’s something wrong with your ad. Something may not have loaded correctly, which should prompt you to go back and check your creative and fix any potential errors.

As with reach, you should measure impressions on Instagram alongside other metrics, such as clicks, conversions, and shares. These metrics work together to give you a more realistic picture of your Instagram performance.

Tip: Take a look at more important social media metrics.


How to Track Reach and Impressions on Instagram

Instagram analytics does most of the work for you in tracking impressions and reach. Log into your Instagram profile, then go to Insights. From there, you can see your Metrics in the Overview section to get a detailed breakdown.

You can only access Instagram Insights if you have an Instagram business account. If you're still using a personal account for Instagram, you will need to convert to an Instagram business profile before you can get metrics on your content.

In addition to Instagram impressions and reach, you’ll also see other helpful data, including:

  • Number of people who viewed your Instagram Stories
  • Number of people who forwarded your Instagram Stories
  • Number of people who swiped to the next Story
  • Number of website and CTA clicks
  • New followers gained
  • Total Instagram posts
  • Number of account views
  • Engagement rate

Tip: Take a look at our Complete Guide to Social Media Reporting for more insights.

In addition, you can also view some analytics data by clicking on your individual posts (images, videos, etc.). You’ll see basic engagement metrics, such as likes and comments. You can click on Insights at the bottom of the post for more details.

Tips for Improving Reach Rate

Beyond asking questions like, “What does reach mean on Instagram?” and “What are Instagram impressions?”, brands need to know how to use these KPIs to their advantage. Increasing your reach gives you more opportunities to improve your Instagram engagement rate — the more people who see your content, the more people you can connect with.

Your followers are likely to see the content you post without your having to pay for ads. But beyond your current fanbase, you can do other things to increase your reach.

Social media planning

Use the Right Hashtags

Hashtags allow your content to be viewed by anyone, not just your own followers. Anyone who is interested in a hashtag will see content related to that hashtag. This also helps the Instagram algorithm understand what your content is about so it can be displayed to the right people.

Tip: Take a look at our ultimate hashtag guide for more insights on how to use hashtags.

Post on a Predictable Schedule

In a perfect world, your content will be displayed to all of your followers every time you post. But that’s simply not the case. Your followers take breaks, might not scroll far enough in their feed, or won’t check their Instagram every day.

To increase visibility with your followers, make sure you’re posting at times when they’re most active. You can use a social media listening tool like Meltwater to pinpoint when your audience is most likely to engage on Instagram to optimize your publishing timeline.

Create and Post Content Frequently

Creating a post one day, then waiting a month to post again isn’t likely to catch the attention of your audience — or the Instagram algorithm. Creating a regular posting cadence makes you more likely to be seen by the right people.

Leverage Paid Ads

Paying for ads gives you a shortcut into the feeds of people who don’t yet follow you on Instagram. You can choose your ad budget and customize your target profile, then let Instagram do its best work.

Tips for Improving Impressions

One impression isn’t always enough to stand out to your target audience. Research shows it takes an average of seven times before someone will recall or take action on your ad. Increasing impressions can help you earn more staying power with your content and build trust with your audience.

Similar to increasing reach, there are a few ways you can grow your Instagram impressions.

Using a variety of formats.

Use a Variety of Formats

Instagram accounts aren't just a collection of selfies anymore. It’s become a feature-rich platform that gives brands more ways to connect with their customers and prospects.

One way to do this is to take advantage of those features. You can cross-promote your content in IG Reels and Stories, for example. Or turn single static images into a slideshow. This makes your content more engaging — and more shareable.

Turn Stories into Highlight Reels

Instagram Stories only last for 24 hours. This limits the number of post impressions you can receive, as your content will only be seen by those who are active during that time.

A better approach is to turn your Stories into Highlight Reels. This helps you turn your temporary content into visuals your audience can enjoy again and again.

Build on Your Successes

Use your Instagram Analytics to see what top-performing content is getting the most post impressions. This is a great way to learn more about what your audience loves so you can create more content like it.

Maximizing Reach and Impressions with Meltwater

Meltwater helps you take your Instagram content strategy to new heights with social listening data and intelligence you can trust.

Learn more about what your audience likes from you and your competitors. Connect with influencers and collaborators to craft winning campaigns that will grow your reach and impressions. Aggregate user-generated content that will resonate with more people in ways that matter. With Meltwater, you gain a leg up across your entire Instagram marketing strategy.

Schedule a demo today to learn more!