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What is a Facebook Impression?

No, it’s not a man dressed in a blue Lycra suit undulating in a way that to him, creates an F shape. That would be quite different and if that’s what you were after then there are darker corners of the internet that will happily provide for you.

A Facebook impression, put simply, is the measurement of the number of times people are subjected to your posts or page activity via organic or paid means.

“Ok…but what’s the difference between Organic and Paid?”

Organic

An Organic Impression means the amount of times people saw your content through ordinary exposure. It could be seeing it directly on your page or on their newsfeed. An advertising algorithm wasn’t involved, just ordinary distribution, like when you see cousin Tom’s latest fishing photos.

Paid

Paid Impressions, as the name suggests, means the number of people exposed to your content via a paid advertisement. One way you can analyse how well your adverts have run is comparing key metrics, like conversions, with the amount of impressions the advert received.

facebook-impression-metric

An Impression should not be confused with Reach – another core metric of Facebook.

They’re similar but separate.

An Impression does not differentiate between individuals, whilst Reach does. Put another way, a post may be seen multiple times by a single individual, let’s call her Mable. Mable saw the post via an ad and then saw that same post in its organic form on the publisher’s page. That would be read as 2 impressions by Facebook analytics, yet the Reach would show as only 1.

Impressions measure the amount of times people are subjected to your post, Reach shows how many unique individuals were subjected to it.

Simple right?


The ASK series is all about illuminating the muddy waters of all things social media. Drop a comment below if you think we’ve missed anything or if you want a completely different question answering.

Idea for an acronym? Here’s the first non-crap one we came up with.

ASK: Answers Supplementing Knowledge

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Nakita Mason

Author: Nakita Mason

Media Executive at Midas Media. When I'm not writing or reading, I'm wondering how I would fare in a Zombie apocalypse. Pretty sure I'd ace it.

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