Instagram Impressions vs Reach: What’s More Important & How To Track?

If you’re working to build a following on Instagram, or even become a professional influencer, you may be thinking about what you can do to improve your stats. This sometimes leads to questions about the difference between impressions and reach, which means more, and how to analyze them. Should you always buy Instagram impressions, unique visitors, or both? These and more questions we’ll discuss in this article.

The Difference Between Impressions and Reach on IG

In broad internet terms, while Instagram impressions count how many times a piece of content has been seen, reach indicates the number of distinct users that have viewed it. It’s easy to confuse the two, so think of it this way: If you go on Instagram every day, and the same ad for a new movie rolls before every video you watch, that ad may have gained thirty or forty impressions on Insta, but its reach only went up by one, because only one unique visitor saw all those ads.

On IG, how frequently a Story, post, or video appears in a user’s news feed determines how many Instagram impressions it has. Remember that this doesn’t mean they actually watched a video or paid attention to a picture – it still counts if it appeared in their feed and they scrolled past. It’s also important to understand that reach is usually a smaller number than impressions due to the fact that your content may appear in someone’s feed multiple times.

Unique users can also include both your fans and people who share some interest mentioned in your post, such as a hashtag or hobby. For example, if you follow a lot of accounts and hashtags associated with romantic comedy movies, you will probably get a lot of content related to this topic. So it’s possible for both reach and IG impressions to be higher than your follower count.

So Which is More Important for Your Stats?

It depends somewhat on your plans for your account. Do you need to broaden your audience,  and raise your brand’s visibility in general? You may want to focus on reach, because that is the number of unique visitors who see your stuff. Instagram impressions are not irrelevant, but they may not show you an accurate picture of growth and might only indicate that a few people have become more aware of your brand.

When Should You Worry About IG Impressions?


If you plan to use paid ads, and/or prioritize making sales or getting people to click a link, you may want to concentrate on boosting your impressions on Instagram. 

  • One reason is that sometimes people are interested in an ad but don’t have the time or desire to click on it right now. The third or fourth time they see the ad, they may finally decide to click on it. 
  • For this purpose, having a lot of impressions from one person is not necessarily bad. In fact, reinforcement is good in advertising, even for those who never convert in a measurable way (i.e., clicking on a link). 
  • The more times a person watches an advertisement, the more likely they are to recall the brand and the product features conveyed in the advertisement (become brand conscious).

What About Engagement?

This is another important metric that most users should pay attention to and raise their income. While having 100 Instagram impressions can tell you that your post appeared in user feeds 100 times, this info doesn’t help do much to tell you how frequently or infrequently the users responded. They may have barely glanced at your post while scrolling by, or they might have loved it. How would you know?

Engagement. This metric includes: 

  • likes, 
  • comments, 
  • shares, 
  • saves.

And it lets you know how many people were interested enough to interact with the post in some way. Although IG views all engagement the same way from an algorithmic perspective, it’s still helpful to look at the individual numbers yourself. Likes and saves are the best metrics to confer positive attention for your post. People are more likely to like or save a piece of content because this takes only a second or two, while making a comment may take a little longer (sometimes a lot longer if they have a lot to say!).

However, people don’t always leave comments because they like the content. They might leave it to say something rude or negative, to complain about a product, or to argue with other people in the replies. Scrolling through your actual responses will give you a better idea of how people really feel about your content. In particular, business owners or marketing managers should make time to read replies every day – not only does it give you a general idea of sentiment toward the post, but it’s sometimes the modern version of a Complaint Department. If there’s a customer service issue, some buyers may let you know about it by commenting on a social media post. For this reason, you need to have someone in charge of monitoring replies and responding politely and professionally. This is true not only of Instagram but any other site you have a presence on, such as Twitter, TikTok, or YouTube.

What Does the IG Algorithm Care Most About?

IG’s algorithm determines what shows up in your feed and when. It’s based on several factors, including:

  • Relevance. This has less to do with metrics and more to do with whether you communicated the topic of your post and used hashtags effectively.
  • What IG knows about the audience, i.e., their interests – but also, their interaction with you. If you like each other’s posts a lot, you’re more likely to see each other’s posts (which is why you see your friends’ stuff often).
  • Engagement. This is the metric most directly important to the Insta algorithm, because IG is more likely to place content that has gotten a lot of engagement recently.
  • The poster’s overall account popularity. Profiles with more interaction overall tend to get better content placement. This goes back to engagement again, but is somewhat affected by reach and Instagram impressions – the more followers you have, the more engagement you’re likely to have. But this can make impressions on IG a bit of a catch-22 – you need them to get more eyes on your content but you need more eyes on your content to get impressions.

What’s the solution? To maximize reach, Instagram impressions, and engagement, you might consider investing in buying both views from unique visitors and engagement. This will help get your posts in more feeds, so that more new people can see and like your content.

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