Introducing nova Intelligence: real customer insights within minutes.

Learn More
Blog Post

Instagram Reach vs Impressions

June 17, 2021
Table of Contents

When you’re gauging the effectiveness of your Instagram campaign, it can be difficult to figure out which analytic measures are most meaningful.

For example, what’s the difference between Instagram reach vs impressions?

No matter how successful your campaign, you’ll usually notice your impressions are higher. Impressions refer to the total number of times a post or story is viewed, while your reach refers to the number of unique viewers.

Want to better understand these instagram metrics and the best ways to maximize your impact on Instagram? This is our guide to one facet of Instagram management.

All About Instagram Analytics

Business and creator accounts can view analytic insights from the Instagram app. While insights aren’t yet available for newer features like Instagram Reels, you can crunch the numbers on:

  • Your overall account
  • Timeline posts
  • Stories
  • Paid ads
  • IGTV videos

To measure the success of your various kinds of posts, take advantage of Instagram data in the following categories:

  • Reach – If you have 1,000 followers, you would ideally have 1,000 views on your timeline posts. While this rarely happens due to social media breaks, scrolling habits, and the algorithm, reach measures the number of users who see a post, story, or ad.
  • Impressions – Even if you only have 1,000 followers, you might occasionally have 1,500 impressions. Why? Some users return to the same content multiple times—which is usually a good sign. This means you’ve captured their attention. Posts that have been on your timeline for longer will gradually accrue a higher impression count.
  • Engagement – With any luck, your instagram followers will interact with your instagram post and instagram story. Metrics that are available to all viewers (i.e., likes and comments on posts and views on stories) are also viewable on business accounts. In addition, you’ll be able to see the number of saves garnered by post.

Which of these metrics is the most important? 

In short, all three help you understand how well your campaign is performing. The best place to focus your attention depends on your ultimate goals.

Next, we’ll take a deeper dive into each important metric and the ways you can boost your numbers.

social media agency

Extending Your Reach

When it comes to Instagram marketing, reach is the name of the game. The social media giant has a base of 1.16 billion users.1 In the U.S., 63% of those users visit the app on a daily basis.

While different campaigns have different CTAs, awareness is always an important goal and metric. And reach is one valuable potential tool to measure your success in creating brand awareness.

As we explained, your reach refers to the number of people who scroll past a piece of content—but it’s possible to get eyeballs beyond your Instagram followers’. How?

  • Post at the right time – The Instagram algorithm can be a mysterious nut to crack, but more recent posts tend to appear at the top of users’ news feeds. That means posting at 3 a.m. might not help you connect with your target audience (unless you’re targeting users in another time zone or insomniacs).
  • Create content on a regular schedule – Ever log into your account after a long social media break and find yourself disappointed with the number of likes? The Instagram algorithm seems to reward regular posters (perhaps because they foster regular engagement). However, there’s also such a thing as overposting. Scheduling your posts in advance can help you keep to a reasonable number of posts per week.
  • Use hashtags – A post with one hashtag tends to get over 12% more engagement than a post with zero.2 Because Instagram users can follow and browse hashtags, utilizing trending hashtags related to your business can help grow your reach (and, potentially, your follower count). But there is such a thing as too many hashtags. Make sure to leave room for a fun, engaging description below your post, too.
  • Implement paid ads – Growing your organic reach is always a long-term goal. But for the most part, your newsfeed posts and stories will only show up to your followers—unless you’re lucky enough to get featured on the Instagram Discover page. Paid ads, however, will appear in other users’ feeds, and Instagram’s advanced targeting tools make it possible to micro target specific market segments.

Why Reach Is Not Enough

When it comes to Instagram reach vs Instagram impression, which is more meaningful?

While it’s important to grow your reach by exposing more users to your posts and ads, you want to make sure they’re actually paying attention.

This is where impressions come into play.

How to Make a Bigger Impression

If your reach and your impression numbers are similar, it could pose a problem.

Why is that?

Well, consider the number of times you’ve scrolled past an ad on Instagram without taking the time to read the caption—much less like, comment, or investigate the brand.

Your impressions refer to your total number of views (including by users who returned to a post twice or ten times). If someone’s interested, there’s a higher likelihood they’ll return to your post again and again.

Therefore, impressions are an even better measure of your campaigns’ success in generating awareness. Likewise, they can be used to gauge the stickiness of your posts.

To boost your impressions, try out the following strategies:

  • Create content-rich posts – Instagram used to be synonymous with selfies, but in the past few years, text-based slideshows have garnered more popularity. If education is part of your platform, consider creating informational slideshows or IGTV recordings that your followers can share in their stories.
  • Mix it up – If you currently focus on static images, it’s time to try out Instagram’s other tools. Fun or educational videos might garner rewatches, and IGTV is a great opportunity to engage with your target audience in a longer format. The only way to figure out which posts generate the most impressions is to dabble in each genre.
  • Curate your stories – Stories go away within 24 hours—unless they’re saved to your highlight reel. Use your highlights to create a library of topics and memorialize your highest-performing content.
  • Learn from the past – Take note of which posts generate the most impressions. Seek to duplicate their format and spirit in the future.

From Reach to Engagement

It’s great if someone views your content more than once—but keep in mind that the ultimate goal is for the user to take action.

More engagement signals the Instagram algorithm that your post is worth promoting in the newsfeed or on “Discover.”

Compare Engagement to Your Other Metrics

If you partner with an influencer, one of the first questions you’ll want to ask is how much engagement they receive.

There are several ways to calculate your engagement rate:

  • Per post: Add up your likes and comments and divide it by your total follower count. if 33 of your 1,000 followers liked or commented on your post, your engagement rate is 3.3%.
  • Per 30 days: Add up the likes and comments on all your posts over the past thirty days. Divide this number by the total number of posts during that same period. Then, divide the resulting number by your follower count.

You can also use third-party tools to track this information without the help of a calculator.

Keeping track of individual posts’ engagement can help you understand what motivates users to go the extra mile and comment or like. You can use this information to adjust your marketing strategy, striving toward an uptick in your 30-day engagement rate over time.

Tracking Website Clicks

As noted above, the Instagram Analytics tool also enables you to track your profile’s performance, including the number of website clicks.

Likewise, you can view your website referral traffic using Google Analytics or another tool of your choice.

While this data may not directly correlate to a specific post, it’s straightforward to cross-reference clicks with the timing of recent posts and stories. 

Website clicks are an important step in the sales funnel, so identifying successful posting strategies is key in converting clients.

Using Analytics With Instagram Shopping

Different campaigns have different goals. While awareness helps capture users at the top of your funnel, Instagram can also help drive more viewers down to conversion. In fact, Instagram Shopping can help them convert without leaving the app (depending on your checkout experience).

When you are in the process of learning how to set up instagram shopping, you’ll unlock new tools.

  • Place stickers on posts, stories, reels, IGTV, and Instagram live so that viewers can easily access pricing, product details, and purchase information.
  • Depending on your eCommerce provider, you may be eligible to let users check out in the app. Otherwise, you can redirect them to your website (or your DMs).
  • Instagram Shopping’s additional analytic tools can help you get an even clearer picture of your ROI on a tagged ad.

Power Digital’s Instagram Expertise, From Reach to Reels and Beyond

Between mastering Instagram’s ever-multiplying features and keeping track of KPIs using native and third-party tools, it’s more complex than ever to grow your success on Instagram.

Tired of experimenting with posts, videos, and reels?

At Power Digital, we understand the importance of a holistic marketing strategy—and the key role that Instagram can play within it. We’re Instagram experts, which means we can increase your impressions and your ROI. 

Get in touch today to learn how we can help your business grow.



  1. Search Engine Journal. Instagram facts.
  2. Fohr insights. The State Of Influencer Marketing 2020.

Empowering you to break the mold.

Kind of like a full-service agency, kind of like an in-house CMO. Elevate your brand's presence with custom strategy, channel expertise, and flawless execution.

Learn More