What Are Twitter Impressions & Why Are They So Important to Twitter?
June 12, 2018
Of the numerous Twitter metrics to track, Twitter impressions should be high on your list. When combined with other metrics, tracking impressions gives you an idea of how far your Tweets have gone.
Twitter impressions are one of the indicators of brand presence. If you want to have your pizza company known across Twitter, then you’ll care about how many times your Tweets have shown up in someone’s timeline in a month. More likely, you want your pizza company known across a certain segment of Twitter. This means you’ll pair your impressions metric with another metric like clicks to see if the Tweets are relevant.
Impressions shouldn’t be the only Twitter metric you track, but for this article, we’ll break down what they are and how they’re important to your brand. We’ll also examine how they interact with other metrics like reach and engagement.
Twitter Impressions vs. Reach
Twitter impressions are a metric readily available to any Twitter account with a setting adjustment. If you enable Twitter’s native tools and analytics for your account, you’ll see activity per Tweet in Twitter.
A small graph icon appears at the bottom of each Tweet and upon opening it up, you’ll be given some data about the Tweet, including impressions and Total Engagement. This feature is available on both the web and mobile versions of Twitter.
Impressions on Twitter is a total tally of all the times the Tweet has been seen. This includes not only the times it appears in a one of your followers’ timeline but also the times it has appeared in search or as a result of someone liking the Tweet. It does not include times someone may have seen the Tweet through an embed on a website, third-party platform like Sprout Social or via text preview. It only counts when you see it on Twitter itself.
In the Twitter Analytics Dashboard, you’re see how your Tweets performed over time. Hovering over each day gives you data on organic impressions, promoted impressions and Tweets. It’s easy to filter by a date range and to see how your top Tweets performed.
In Sprout Social, we added another metric called Potential Reach. You can find this through your Twitter report under the Twitter Top Posts section or in your Sent Messages Report.
Potential Reach is defined as the total number of people who may have seen your Tweet. This means all of your followers plus any of the accounts’ followers who retweeted you. So if you have 50 followers and an account who Retweets you has 200 followers, your Potential reach is 250. With every account that Retweets you, the followers get added on. It does not compensate for duplicate accounts, so if one person follows two accounts that Retweeted the Tweet, they still get counted as two in Potential Reach.
When paired together, impressions and potential reach can give a clearer view on your Tweet. Since it’s near impossible for your Tweet to have reached every one of your followers, your Tweet’s actual reach is likely between your impressions and Potential Reach metric.
How Twitter Impressions & Engagement Rate Interact
The ideal Tweet will have both a high impression number and a high engagement rate. Having both means that your Tweet spread far and was relevant enough for people to engage with. The engagement rate is found in Twitter Analytics per tweet and over time. This way, you can compare how one Tweet performs to the average over the month.
The Engagement Rate is calculated by dividing the number of engagements by the number of impressions. Engagement includes any way someone interacts with a Tweet, including but not limited to, Retweets, clicks and Likes.
In Sprout Social, our Twitter report breaks down impressions and engagement further. You’ll see engagements and organic impressions per follower and per Tweet. All of these metrics are important because they give you insight on your audience and its activities.
If you have a low impression number with a high follower count, your followers may be inactive. And if you have a high impression number with a low engagement rate, then your Tweets could use some work. If you have the opposite, then you should try Tweeting at a different time.