You were asked to report on a recent social media campaign, but now what? Creating an analytics report can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure where to start. Here are a few insights to help you choose the best data sets to reflect your campaign’s performance.

Impressions v. Reach (organic social media)

On the surface, impressions and reach measure very similar metrics. However, there’s one important distinction; impressions measure the number of times your content was displayed in a user’s feed, whereas reach measures how many people viewed your content. For example, you’re scrolling on Instagram and see your high school best friend’s life update. Two hours later, you reopen Instagram and see the same post again. In the social media analytics world, this would count as two impressions, but only once for reach.

Team CC recommendation: Use reach because it reflects the number of people who actually saw your content.

Engagement v. Engagement Rate (organic and paid social media)

Both engagement and engagement rate are helpful metrics to understand what content is resonating with your audience. Here at Conceptual Communications, we use both metrics to understand how well a campaign performed and to gauge what content is important to our clients’ followers.

They are slightly different data sets though.

Engagements measure the total number of times a post was interacted with, for instance link clicks, reactions, comments, and shares. In a report, this number would be a whole number. Also, each user can engage with a post multiple times, for instance if you “liked” your friends post and then also shared it.

Engagement rate on the other hand is a percentage that’s calculated by dividing the total number of engagements for a post by the reach for that post and multiplying by 100. The engagement rate is displayed as a percentage. For example, a post that earned 500 engagements and had a reach of 1,000 would have an engagement rate of 50 percent.

Team CC recommendation: If you’re trying to determine the number of times your content was engaged with, use engagement. If trying to determine comparatively how well one piece of content performed compared to another (or one campaign against general messaging), use engagement rate.

Ad Impressions v. Ad Views v. Ad Reach (paid social media)

If you’re running Facebook and Instagram ads through Meta Ads Manager, there are three metrics that measure the numbers of times your ad was seen; impressions, views, and reach.

Like organic social media analytics, impressions refer to the number of times your ad was displayed, which is a metric available for every ad. However, say you ran three ads last month. It’s possible that a user saw Ad 1, Ad 2, and Ad 3. This is where views versus reach comes into play. Ad views measures each of those views, whereas ad reach measures how many unique users that saw the ad. In this case, there would be three ad views, but the reach would only be one.

Note: To view the ad views versus ad reach metric, multiple ads must have been run during the selected timeframe. If there was only one ad in the selected timeframe, ad reach and ad views will be the same.

When it comes to ad metrics, impressions are usually the biggest number (because an ad may be displayed multiple times for each user), ad views are the second largest number (because it counts each view, regardless if the same user saw multiple ads from one brand), and ad reach is the smallest number (because it only counts a user once, regardless how many ads they saw and how many times they saw an ad).

Team CC Recommendation: Use reach over impressions and use both ad views and ad reach when multiple ads are run within a set timeframe.