Why potential reach and impressions matter on Twitter

All TweetReach reporting includes a number of engagement and listening metrics for Twitter. Two of the main metrics we provide are potential reach and impressions. Let’s talk a little more about what reach and impressions are, and why they’re so important to your Twitter strategy.

Reach is the size of the estimated potential unique audience for your tweets. TweetReach calculates reach algorithmically, based on data we’ve been collecting from Twitter for more than five years. It’s the best way of knowing how large your audience on Twitter can be, and takes unique recipients into account.

Impressions measure the size of total potential exposure. This shows you how many total timelines your tweets were delivered to, so it’s a count of the maximum total impressions possible for your tweets.

TweetReach potential reach and impressions

Both of these estimated audience metrics are essential for understanding the full impact of your tweets, especially when used alongside Twitter’s internal analytics. Here’s how.

Reach and impressions for your Twitter account

Twitter’s analytics calculate actual impressions for each of your Twitter account’s tweets. That shows how many people actually saw that tweet. TweetReach calculates total possible impressions for those tweets. Use actual impressions and potential impressions together to fully understand your impact on Twitter. The number of actual impressions received will vary from tweet to tweet and account to account, but your actual impressions will likely be between 1% and 20% of your potential impressions.

Knowing how your actual impressions compare to your potential impressions shows you exactly how well your tweets are performing, how large your audience is, and how large your audience could be. What’s the ratio of your actual impressions to potential impressions? Are your tweets on the low side? Do some perform better than others? Use this information to determine how you can improve your ratio. Which tweets are seen – and engaged with – by more people? What makes those tweets different? Maybe you used a particular hashtag or included a photo. If so, try doing more of that to see how you can activate more of your potential audience, and improve your ratio of actual to potential impressions.

Additionally, you can use other TweetReach metrics on engagement (like retweets and replies, average retweets rate) and contributors (such as contributors who have engaged the most with your content and generated the highest exposure) to understand not just how far your content is reaching, but how and with whom.

Reach and impressions for competitors’ or influencers’ accounts

While Twitter’s activity dashboard focuses on your own Twitter presence, you can use TweetReach to analyze any Twitter account, including your competitors, influencers in your industry, celebrities, or any other public Twitter account.

Start with a quick share of voice analysis. How do your reach and impressions compare to those of your closest competitor? How about other similar Twitter accounts? Remember these are potential impressions, so know that – just like for your own Twitter account – your competitors’ actual impressions will be a similarly small percentage of their potential impressions.

For a more advanced analysis, dive deeper into competitive intelligence. Run TweetReach reports or Trackers for your competitors, then take a look at the popular content and top contributors in these conversations. What Twitter accounts are engaging with your competitors? Who are they and do you follow them? What hashtags are your competitors using? Are there any new or relevant hashtags you could use? What tweets are resonating in the conversation?

Reach and impressions for hashtags, keywords or other terms

With TweetReach, you can measure more than just a Twitter account – you can measure the impact of anything in a tweet, like a hashtag, a phrase or keyword, even a URL. Twitter’s activity dashboard only includes tweets posted from your account, so you can’t use it to analyze impressions for the overall conversation around a hashtag, for example.

You’re probably using a variety of hashtags in your tweets – some for specific campaigns or events and other more general hashtags to signal participation in a particular industry or conversation. Do you know the reach of those hashtags? With TweetReach, you can understand the potential reach and impressions for any hashtag, which helps you understand the size of the conversation you’re participating in. If a hashtag has a low reach, then you’ll be able to have a large impact in a smaller space. If the hashtag’s reach is high, you’ll less likely to make a big impact in the overall conversation, but you’re participating in a more popular topic. The best Twitter strategy includes a bit of both; use a combination of specific and general hashtags in your tweets to reach the most people.

Interested in learning more about how you can use potential reach and impressions to improve your Twitter strategy? We’d be happy to show you how to use TweetReach’s Twitter analytics to better understand the full impact of your tweets. Let’s talk!