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Digital Marketing 10 min read

What Are Impressions and How Do They Impact the Growth of Your Business?

Natalie Yelton photo

Written by Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Communications Manager @ Galactic Fed

Published 02 Feb 2022

You’ve developed a near-perfect piece of content. 

It tells people what you do and how it can help them. It’s concise, engaging, and reflects your brand. Oh, and not only that, it’s SEO-optimized and follows web accessibility guidelines. 

You’re ready to publish said piece of content on your website and across your social channels. Heck, maybe you’re even thinking about turning it into a paid ad campaign on Google and Facebook.

Let’s take a moment to give you a virtual round of applause for your hard work.

There’s a minor issue, though. You’re not sure how best to measure the performance of your content. What metric or metrics matter most when it comes to the success of the content to publish on the web? 

With the United States ad market forecast exceeding $300 billion and the global ad market expected to reach above $700 billion this year, as reported by Forbes, there’s no time like the present to get to grips with expanding your business through growth marketing. There’s a real risk of getting left behind if you don’t. 

If your firm has set up marketing analytics with Google, we’ve got some good news; you’re halfway there. If you’re slightly confused about what to do and look at once you open Google’s Search Console, then Galactic Fed is here to assist. 

In this article, the growth marketing experts at Galactic Fed explain what impressions are and how they impact your firm’s online presence. We also dive into other key metrics and help you understand the difference between them, in plain English, with real-life examples too! 

To kick-off, let’s get crystal clear on defining what impressions are:

What are impressions? 

Impressions are the number of times your firm’s content or ad is displayed on a screen. 

This use of the word impressions is borrowed from the newspaper printing days. An impression is when a piece of content or paid ad has been printed one time. Think of impressions as the number of flyers printed for distribution.

To understand impressions as they are used today online, take one of the best online ads from last year, for example. Heinz challenged people from around the world to draw ‘ketchup’ with all of them drawing a bottle of Heinz:

Source: Heinz

Without knowing the total number of impressions Heinz’s ad secured, let’s estimate it popped up on people’s screens 1 billion times. That means the number of impressions for Heinz’s ad is 1 billion. Pretty simple math. 

Why do impressions matter? 

Caring about the number of impressions your ad or content received largely comes down to the campaign goal to set at the very beginning of any growth marketing effort. 

For example, if you’re conscious about inundating your audience with too many ads, you might track impressions. 

Impressions are also useful when your firm wants to track your ads or content in real-time. Once you launch an ad or a piece of content, you can immediately get a sense of how it lands with your audience through impressions. Little to no impressions early on could be a sign that you need to adjust the framing of your ad or content.

Google impressions versus Meta impressions

It’s worth noting the difference in definitions between impressions on Meta Ads and Google Ads. 

Google defines impressions as how often someone sees the link to your website on Google. Depending on the result type, your link may need to be scrolled or expanded to view.

On the other hand, Meta (previously Facebook) defines impressions as the number of times an instance of your ad is on screen for the first time. 

For example, if your firm’s ad is on screen and someone scrolls down and then scrolls back up to the same ad, that’s counted as one impression. If your ad is on screen for someone two separate times in the same day, that counts as two impressions.

Meta’s method for counting video impressions differs from industry standards for video ads. They explain that except for ads across their Audience Network, impressions are counted the same way for ads that contain either video or images. This means that a video doesn’t need to start playing for it to be counted as an impression.

Meta can also detect invalid traffic from non-human sources, like bots, and doesn’t count these as impressions.

The difference between impressions, position, and clicks 

Google’s Search Console provides data showing how often someone sees or interacts with links to, or content from, your firm’s website.

Impressions, Clicks, and Position metrics are available to you and what you’ll want to focus on when measuring the performance of your content online.

Impressions

As we explained previously in this article, Google defines impressions as how often someone saw a link to your site on Google. 

Clicks

The clicks metrics show you how often someone clicked a link from Google to your website.

Position

Google also offers your firm a relative ranking of the position of your link on Google, with 1 being the highest position, 2 being the next position, and so on. 

Your firm’s position value is the average position across all searches. For a specific search, your position might be different than the average because of several variables, such as your search history and location, to name a couple. 

Reach versus impressions 

Source: Zine

Impressions and reach are often confused so we thought we’d explain the difference between the two important metrics. 

Reach refers to the total amount of people who see your content, whereas impressions are the number of instances that your content is displayed, whether it is clicked on or not.

A couple of years ago, Google replaced cookie-based metrics with unique reach metrics as the main method for measuring the reach of your content.

By analyzing reach and frequency data for your firm’s ad campaigns, you can better understand how many people see your ad and how often the same people see your ad over a set period of time.

Whether your firm wants to focus on reinforcing a message or reaching new people, data on your reach can help you get a clearer picture of how you’re meeting campaign goals. 

Meta has a similar separation between reach and impressions. They note that reach is different from impressions, including multiple views of your ad by the same people.

Reach gives you a measurement of how many people were exposed to your message during the timeline of your ad campaign. People may not always click on your company’s ads, but they may be more likely to engage with your business if they pick up on your messaging. Keep in mind that your reach on Meta is affected by your bid, budget, and audience targeting.

Meta uses unique reach metrics to measure the total number of people who were shown your ad. These metrics go beyond the basic cookie measurements, helping your firm understand how many times people were shown your ad across different networks, devices, and formats.

With most people using multiple devices while on the go throughout the day, chances are your ad is viewed multiple times a day on someone’s phone, laptop, and tablet. Meta’s unique reach model measures the total reach of your firm’s ad by accounting for cases where people may see the same ad on different devices or when numerous people share the same device.

Impressions and SEO

Up until now, this article has talked about impressions primarily in the context of paid ads. Impressions are just as important when it comes to your company’s search engine optimization (SEO) for bringing people to your website organically. 

A comprehensive keyword strategy and link-building campaign are just two ways to improve your impressions online, the natural way. Let us provide more details on how each of these activities impacts impressions and the growth of your business: 

Keyword Research 

Keyword research allows your company to get to know your target audience better, making it possible for your team to write content that speaks to existing and potential customers, leading to more impressions online, naturally. 

Link-building 

The next step is to take your fresh and evergreen content that includes keywords that resonate with your target audience and supercharge it through a successful link-building campaign

By developing and deploying a backlink strategy, you make it easier for Google to find and index your content as it boosts the credibility and authority of your web pages and content.

Using impressions metrics to optimize your content 

Analyzing your company’s impressions data early on in the life cycle of your campaign can help you optimize your content, so it reaches and engages the people that matter most to your business. 

Your firm’s impressions can also be improved upon with the right SEO strategy, driving people to your website organically through a robust keyword strategy and link-building campaign, for example. 

We like to think of ourselves as impressions experts here at Galactic Fed. Recently we helped beauty biohacking firm, HigherDOSE increase their impressions by 109% through an in-depth technical site audit and subsequent link-building campaign:

Galactic Fed infographic highlighting increase in impressions

If you want to see similar results for improving your impressions online, reach out to us today. Book a 30-minute free consultation with Galactic Fed and let us run the show while you hit your growth marketing goals with ease.

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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