What is the Difference Between Impressions vs Reach in Facebook Advertising?

February 6, 2020

When it comes to building brand awareness, Facebook is a must for your business. Social media is a valuable tool to reach out to your current and potential customers. You need followers. But it’s important to know not all followers see your content every time you post.

When looking at your metrics, you need to understand impressions vs. reach. Impressions are the number of times Facebook shows your content. Reach tells you how many different people actually see the content. Facebook breaks this down even further. Letting you divide reach and impressions into categories.

Impressions vs reach: Smart phone displaying Facebook app

Categories of impressions vs. reach on Facebook


The numbers from your organic reach tell you how many different people saw your content in their newsfeed. Organic impressions reflect the number of times your content is freely shown. This can either be on your page directly or within a user’s newsfeed.


If someone sees your page or content in a story published by someone’s friend, it reflects viral reach. Viral impressions show how many times other people displayed your content.


Paid reach shows the number of people who saw your paid content. Paid impressions are the number of times Facebook displayed your paid content. This category includes Facebook Ads. These ads can be very beneficial for your business if you know how to use them efficiently. Testing and checking metrics will help a great deal.

Other types of impressions you can track on Facebook Ads

Served impressions

A served impression occurs when the system registers the delivery of an ad by the publisher. This number can be deceiving because it counts as a success regardless if the ad is actually seen. These could be ads that didn’t load or aren’t seen because the user didn’t scroll far enough. This number is unreliable and there is a big gap between ads served and seen.

Viewed impressions

Viewed impression numbers are more reliable. These are only counted when the ad enters the screen. The ads that don’t enter the screen don’t count. So if the ad doesn’t load or the person doesn’t scroll the ad into the screen, it won’t count as a viewed impression.


Not only do you need to understand your metrics, but you also need to create great Facebook Ads. That way your ads get viewed and interacted with. Understanding impressions vs. reach will help you adjust your marketing campaign to greatness.

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