What is reach and why does it matter?

We often get asked about reach. How is reach calculated? Why reach? How can you really know how many people were reached? These are great questions and a big part of our business – we even named our product after it! At TweetReach, we think reach is one of the most important, but also one of the most misunderstood, metrics in social media. Our reach metric calculates the size of the potential audience for a message and this metric is an essential measure for any earned media campaign.

How TweetReach calculates reach

First, let’s talk a little bit about what we mean by “reach” and specifically how we calculate reach at TweetReach.

Typically, reach refers to the capacity or range of something. In the case of earned and social media, reach is the size of the potential audience for a message. What is the maximum number of people who could have been exposed to a message? In newspapers and magazines, reach is measured through circulation numbers. In television, we use Nielsen ratings to understand a TV program’s reach. For social media, we have TweetReach.

So when you run a TweetReach report, the reach number in your report reflects the size of the Twitter audience for your search query. Our reach number is a count of the unique Twitter accounts that received a tweet about your topic. It’s an actual computation of unique Twitter IDs, with duplicate recipients removed. Our reach metric is not an approximation or estimated ballpark figure, nor is it total impressions or exposure; it’s the real size of the potential audience.

Why reach matters

So, why go through all the trouble of calculating reach? Why does it matter? Because reach helps you understand the full impact of your tweets. Reach provides context for other engagement metrics. Reach quantifies the size of your message’s universe and helps you understand if your campaign is successful.

Think of reach as the denominator in your measurement equations. Use reach with action or engagement numbers like clicks, retweets, or replies to calculate an engagement percentage. Of the possible audience for your campaign, how many people participated? Reach helps contextualize other engagement metrics.

Other reach resources

Obviously, this is something we think about a lot. If you’d like to hear more, we have a few ideas about how you should use reach to contextualize and interpret your campaign’s success. We’ve also written about the relationship between reach and overall impressions. Finally, here’s more detail about how we calculate reach, exposure and other metrics. So, what’s your TweetReach?