What Social Media Reach Is and How It Can Help Your Marketing Strategy

Updated June 24, 2022

The data from social media metrics can provide important insight to companies on how their customers see and respond to their brand. Social media reach is a good metric for measuring the success of individual posts. You might learn about reach if you want to understand the demographics and interest of your online followers. In this article, we discuss what social media reach is, why you might track it, the different types and how it compares to other social media metrics.

Related: What Is Social Media Management?

What is social media reach?

Social media reach is a measure of the number of people who see content posted on social media. It's one of several social media metrics, which are specific kinds of data that show how users see and interact with content on social media. Marketing departments may measure social media metrics like reach during the planning and evaluation stages of campaigns to understand who their content is reaching and whether it's effective. Here are some things social media reach can give you information on:

  • Success of individual campaigns

  • Number of active followers

  • Impact of partnerships with influencers and other brands

  • Online reach beyond social media

  • Relative effectiveness of different platforms

  • Response and interest in online events and launches

You can present your social media reach in two ways: as a number of users or as a percentage of your total follower count. Some social media platforms directly tell you your reach by letting you know how many users saw an individual post. You may choose to calculate the percentage to put that number in the context of your whole audience.

Related: 14 Ways To Increase Social Media Presence

Why is it important to measure social media reach?

By tracking reach, you can better understand how large your customer base is and how effective your marketing strategies are at putting your content in front of potential customers. Because social media reach measures unique visitors rather than counting the same viewer multiple times, it can give you a more accurate idea of how many individual potential customers you have than similar metrics like impressions. As you track reach over time, you can measure how your brand awareness is growing.

Reach can provide a more accurate number of how many people are actually seeing your content than followers. The algorithms that sort how information appears on social media sites may not show your original posts to all followers, and some followers may be bot or spam accounts, which can be why your reach is smaller than your total follower count. The advantage to reach is that it usually indicates when a user actually views your post.

Related: What Is Viral Marketing? Overview and Steps for Successful Implementation

What are the types of reach?

Some sites break down reach into types based on how the user saw the content. Here are some common types of reach:

  • Organic reach: Organic reach counts visitors who see your content from your original, non-sponsored, non-advertisement posts.

  • Paid reach: Paid reach counts users who see your paid content like ads.

  • Viral reach: Viral reach counts how many visitors see your content because other users have interacted with it by sharing it or reacting to it.

Related: How To Become a Social Media Consultant

What can affect your social media reach?

These are some factors that can affect how many people your social media content reaches:

  • Time of post: If more of your followers are online when you post, you are likely to reach more people with that specific post. The time of day, week or even month can determine how much of your audience is online.

  • Content: Content that's entertaining, interesting or otherwise valuable to your audience can encourage many more shares and a larger reach.

  • Call to action: The call to action is any request for the viewer to respond to the post, whether it's by clicking a link, signing a petition, buying a product or signing up for something. An effective call to action might encourage users to share your post with their networks, leading to a larger overall reach.

  • Search terms: Content that includes common search terms, trending topics or related hashtags can be more likely to show up in user searches and can have a wider reach.

Other essential social media metrics to track

Here are some other metrics that can help you track your social media impact:


Engagement is a broad metric that counts many types of user interactions. Which interactions count can depend on the social media platform, but it generally includes comments, reaction button responses like "likes," new follows and shares.

Related: 10 Types of Social Media To Promote Your Brand

Applause rate

Applause rate is a metric within engagement that measures only positive reactions to a given post. This depends on the platform but may include likes, favorites or specific emotive reactions like a thumbs-up or smiling response.

Virality rate

A post's virality rate is how many times it's shared compared to the reach. Measuring the virality rate of different posts can show you what kind of content your audience wants to share, whether because they want to talk about it or find the post itself valuable.


An impression is a single time that a viewer sees your content on social media. While reach counts the number of people who see a post, impressions count the number of times a user sees the post. For instance, if a user sees a post twice, from the original source and then when someone else shares it, that counts as two impressions, while it would only count as one user when tracking reach. Some sites may detail the type of impression by the content and how it appears on the page. Here are some specific types of impressions:

  • Served ad impressions: A social media site may record a served ad impression each time the page sends an ad to the browser. This number may not accurately indicate how many times users viewed an ad since it also counts instances where the user left the page before the ad loaded or before scrolling down far enough to see the ad.

  • Viewed ad impressions: A viewed ad impression is an instance when an ad loaded for a page and came into the user's view, whether it loaded initially or came into view when they scrolled down the page.

Read more: Reach vs. Impressions: Which One Do I Need?

Account mentions

Account mentions are times when users mention your company organically, and they can indicate good brand awareness and even brand loyalty. Account mentions usually include tags and mentions of your company using an @ sign that are not responses to one of your posts or comments.

Share of voice

Also called social share of voice, share of voice is like share of market for online presence. It measures how many people are interacting with your brand compared to how many people are interacting with your competitors.

Click-through rate

The click-through rate for an ad or post is the ratio of how many people click on a link compared to the total number of impressions for that ad or post. This can be useful for understanding whether your content has an effective call to action or not.

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