The Blog

December 13, 2019

brands resources

Impressions vs engagement: Understanding the difference

If you’ve ever been confused about the difference between impressions and engagement, this blog post distils it all. The reason the terms are often confused or intertwined is because different social platforms use slightly varying definitions, so we’re here to set the record straight. We’ll also consider how to use these metrics to improve your influencer marketing social strategy.



Impressions refer to the number of times your content is displayed to your audience. If you’re running paid social campaigns, your budget will be spent each time your content is viewed. You can track this by looking at your cost per impression (CPI).


How to use impressions as a metric

Impressions are a great metric to use when you want to build brand awareness. Increasing your impressions means more people view your content. Provided you create content for your target audience, you’ll find as your impressions increase so does your engagement.



The number of interactions people have had with your content. This includes likes, comments, retweets, shares etc. When you create better content, your audience is more likely to engage. For paid campaigns, you’ll spend your budget per engagement. This is known as cost per click (CPC).

For many social users, engagement is the best metric to track. When you have high engagement you often see your reach and impressions increase too.


How to use engagement as a metric

Engagement may not lead to a direct sale, however, it does tell you people are resonating with your content and making an effort to interact with it, whether that be liking, sharing, commenting or saving. This may then lead to sales further down the line.

impressions vs engagement


Facebook impressions vs engagement

Post impressions

The total number of times users saw your posts on Facebook.

Post engagement

The total amount of engagement on each Facebook post, whether that be shares, comments, or reactions.

Page engagement

The total number of page likes, mentions, check-ins.


Twitter impressions vs engagement



The total number of times your tweet appears in a user’s timeline or search results.


The total number of times a user interacted with your tweets. Interactions could be anything from retweeting your content, replying, sharing, or liking.


Instagram impressions vs engagement



The total number of times your content was shown to users. This can include story posts or on-feed content.


On Instagram, engagement refers to any time a user likes, comments or shares your content

Engagement rate

Your post engagement divided by your post impressions. Engagement rate is an indicator of how engaged the users who saw your content were.


Which should I track?

Ideally, you should measure engagement and impressions and create a strategy to improve both. However, how you choose to measure them depends on the objectives of your social campaigns. If you want to increase your brand’s visibility, impressions are a great first point.If you’re looking for more people to take action with your content, buy your products or sign up for your service, engagement is a great metric to track.

When you target the right people, with the right message, at the right time, both engagement and impressions will increase. As your engagement increases so do your impressions as the total number of people to potentially see your content increases.

Impressions and engagement work well together in a cyclical nature, where improving one metric ultimately leads to improvement of the other.

To see how influencer marketing can help you improve both your engagement and impressions, check out our Brand Catalogue that allows you to work with up to five influencers for free.

brand catalogue cta


Which metric is most valuable for your business? Leave a comment below.