What Every Marketer Should Know About Instagram Impressions

Reading Time: 6 minutes

When it comes to social media, there are a lot of metrics to keep track of. To ensure that your Instagram business account is reaching its full potential, you need to dive deep into Instagram analytics so you can gauge the performance of your Instagram posts and see how they are influencing your brand awareness and conversions.

​While there are many metrics that you’ll be keeping track of through the Instagram Insights tab, one of the most important ones to be aware of is Instagram impressions.

By understanding what impressions mean, you can make valuable changes to your posts to enhance your social media marketing strategy and get better results for your campaign.

Instagram Impressions Defined

Person taking a photo using her phone

While Instagram impressions can seem straightforward at first, there is still some room for confusion with this commonly cited metric. Impressions tracks how many times a piece of content was viewed by Instagram users.

The metric for the total number of impressions applies for regular posts, IGTV videos, and Instagram stories. If someone scrolls past your piece of content, that counts as an impression. If that same person scrolls back up to look at the post again, that counts as another impression.

Instagram impressions are an important metric because they measure the total number of times a single post exposed someone to your brand. 

Reach vs. Impressions

Instagram Impressions: hand reaching for the sky

One area that often trips marketers up (both on Instagram and other social media platforms), is that they confuse reach and impressions. They aren’t the same thing, and understanding how they differ is vital to using your Instagram metrics properly.

As previously noted, Instagram impressions measure the number of times any user saw a post. This means the same user could see a post five times, and each of those would count as a new impression.

Instagram reach, on the other hand, measures the number of unique users who saw a post. That previously mentioned user who looked at your post five times would still only count as one when measuring your total reach. 

Breaking things down a bit further, organic reach measures the number of users who saw your post without it being served to them as part of a paid promotion. Typically, the average Instagram post isn’t going to reach all of your followers organically, simply due to the way the algorithm distributes posts to users’ news feeds.

This also means that sometimes, you’ll see posts with a higher number of impressions than reach. This means that you had more people who went back and revisited the post after the first time they saw it.

Why Impressions Matter

Instagram Impressions: person using laptop while holding her credit card

In the marketing world, the “rule of seven” is often cited as being crucial for getting potential customers to buy from you. Essentially, it means that each individual customer needs at least seven exposures to your brand (through any medium) before they’ll be ready to make a purchase.

A specific post that got someone to return to it multiple times means that the individual user had more of those valuable exposures that will drive them to take other meaningful actions. It isn’t unusual to see posts with a higher level of Instagram impressions lead to more profile visits or website clicks.

Posts with more impressions are also likely to see a higher number of other engagement metrics, such as the number of likes or comments. This can also accelerate the organic reach of a post. As the algorithm sees more users engaging with the content, it views it as being higher-quality and will distribute it to more followers.

When planning an Instagram marketing campaign, impressions can be a valuable metric to monitor when you’re trying to increase brand awareness on the platform. Messaging that gets people to come back to your content (or even save it) creates a lasting impact in the viewer’s mind.

How to Increase Your Instagram Impressions

Person getting a lot of likes and loves

While reach and impressions are different measurements, to increase your Instagram impressions, you’ll largely need to focus on tactics designed to improve your reach. These metrics are closely related—after all, the more people who see your post in the first place (reach), the more potential users there are who will look at that post multiple times, driving up impressions.

Here are six ways to improve your reach.

1. Post at the Right Times

Start by posting at the time when your target audience is most active. In general, most studies recommend that businesses and influencers post in the morning or early afternoon. However, the ideal time to post could vary based on your target audience. 

Use your Instagram analytics tools to determine when your followers are most active. Posting shortly before or during these times will ensure that your fresh content appears near the top of their feed.

2. Make Use of Different Post Formats

Don’t limit yourself to a single post format. Between simple visuals and carousels, Instagram Stories, IGTV, reels, highlights, and live video streams, there are options to help you reach your followers in the way that is most appealing to them. Some users may follow multiple forms of content, while others may focus on just one.

3. Use Trending Hashtags

With a business profile, your public posts can be viewed via Instagram’s search and trending features by people who don’t already follow you. Adding relevant trending hashtags to your post is a great way to get your content to show up in these sections. Many of these new viewers might choose to follow your account if they like what they see.

4. Partner With Influencers

Influencer marketing is one of the best methods to expand a brand’s reach and impressions on Instagram. When a user sees a favorite relevant influencer in one of your brand’s posts, they’re going to stop and pay attention. Influencers can expose your brand to thousands or even millions of new users who might otherwise never have heard of you.

To sway followers and others to give your posts a second (or third) look and drive more impressions, use the next two tips. 

5. Create Eye-Catching Visuals

This isn’t a secret: Instagram is an inherently visual platform. Quality graphic design work or a stunning photograph will get your post to stand out as someone is scrolling through their feed. It may also get them to come back and read the rest of your post’s content. Give your visuals the attention and budget they deserve to grab users’ attention.

6. Provide Valuable Information

While the text tends to be secondary to the visuals in most Instagram posts, quality copy can give followers a reason to refer back to your post time and time again. Informing users of a sale, providing tips or how-to’s related to your products or services, or announcing the date of a special event are a few ways to get them to bookmark your post for future reference. Always consider how your post’s copy can add value.

Making Those Impressions Count

Instagram Impressions: woman happily using her smartphone

While optimizing your Instagram impressions can feel like a tall task at times, it’s well worth the investment. By ensuring that your Instagram account is truly speaking to your target audience and providing meaningful content, you can dramatically increase your engagement rate and get a higher number of people interested in your business.

Better yet, Markerly can help you improve your Instagram strategy with integrated campaign management and influencer outreach. By equipping your account with the tools it needs to succeed, you can have confidence in your ability to grow your number of Instagram followers, boost reach and impressions, and win at all those important metrics that define social media success.

Want more content like this?

Influencers, brands and marketing are our passions, and sharing our perspective is our way of starting a conversation! We'd love to have you follow us, and more importantly, engage with us. Sign up to be the first to hear what's making an impression on us!