Impression: Definition, Types, Functions, Benefits, and How It Works

Impression is – Some say first impression is important because it will determine other decisions. Maybe because this is also the impression in digital marketing that must be considered.

For those of you who work in digital marketing or actively play social media and websites every day, you must be familiar with the term impression. Some of you may already understand 100% what it means, some others may know what it means but don’t understand what it does.

Therefore, in this article, we will discuss impressions and everything related to them. Listen carefully, okay!

Definition of Impressions

The Internet has taken product and brand marketing to a more advanced stage. If in the past, companies that put up billboards couldn’t know how many times their ad was viewed, in the digital marketing era like now, this has become more measurable.

All advertisements that appear on the internet can be measured by various metrics provided by platforms, such as social media, websites or Youtube. The data displayed in metrics can be analyzed in depth to determine the right digital marketing strategy. Well, impressions are one of the metrics that must be considered.

However, what exactly is an impression? In short, impression is a term used to measure the appearance of digital content and the interactions made by internet users. There are various types of digital content here, starting from advertisements, website pages, articles, social media posts, videos on Youtube, and the like.

In the context of advertisements or advertisements, impressions can also be considered as the number of times an advertisement appears on the user’s screen. Usually, the number of impressions will determine the costs required when placing an ad.

In addition, impressions can also be used to measure the performance of a brand or company’s digital campaign. Related to this, sometimes there are people who think that impressions show the number of clicks that the ads they post get. When in fact, impressions only show the number of times the ad appears, which means it has nothing to do with the number of clicks, not even necessarily that the ad has been viewed.

For example, on Instagram, ads can appear in your “story” section but you don’t see them at all. By advertiser service providers, this is still counted as one impression.

Because of this, the debate about the accuracy of impression metrics to measure digital campaign performance has never been completed to date. Even so, impressions are still useful for measuring ad or content performance in several ways, namely:

  • Pay per Click (PPC)
  • How many times the ad or content is displayed
  • How many times the call-to-action on the website has appeared

The difference between Impressions and Reach

Not infrequently, digital marketers, especially beginners, are confused about the difference between impressions and reach. As a result, when evaluating content performance, the results can be erroneous.

In fact, the key difference between these two metrics is in the words “view” and “view”. To make it clearer, try to pay attention to the difference in the meaning of the two below.

Reach is the number of people who saw your ad or content. Meanwhile, impressions are the number of times your ad or content appears on the screens of internet users.

For example, like this, you uploaded a photo on Instagram three days ago, when I checked it today, it turns out that the photo got 100 reach and 500 impressions. This means that the photo has been seen by 100 people and has appeared 500 times on other people’s Instagram.

As explained by Jefferly Helianthusonfri in his book entitled Instagram Marketing for Beginners. This book is a complete guide to learning Instagram marketing for beginners that will guide you to learn Instagram marketing from scratch.

Why is the number of impressions greater than the reach? Because one user can generate more than one impression depending on the frequency with which your content appears, while one person can only be counted as one reach, even if he views your content 50 times.

Impression Types

Basically, impressions are divided into two types, namely served impressions and viewable impressions. Here is the full explanation.

1. Served Impressions

Served Impression can be regarded as a standard used to measure the impression of a content on the internet. This Served Impression only relies on data obtained organically, aka not paid, so it’s easier to calculate.

Unfortunately, this type has a weakness, namely limited data. In the context of website advertising, for example, served impressions only show that the ad has been installed on the web without indicating whether the ad is actually displayed or seen by its web visitors.

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In fact, served impressions also count ads that don’t fully serve when the web content isn’t 100% loaded. In addition, visitors who use ad-blockers are also counted.

As a result, served impressions are very difficult to analyze to measure the performance of an advertisement or content.

2. Viewable impression

The second type is viewable impression which is often used to enhance analysis because this type collects data from users. Typically, the way to measure this is to exclude conditions in which it is highly unlikely that the user will see the content. For example like:

  • Users using ad-blockers
  • Users whose device screens are too small
  • There is a plug-in that is damaged so that it blocks the ad from appearing
  • Users who closed their browser tabs
  • Tabs that load in the background and never open

In other words, viewable impressions have more accurate data, so they can be used to assess content performance and determine what strategy to do next.

Types of Impressions

So, because impressions are closely related to the digital world, they can be further divided into several types based on existing digital content, namely:

1. Page Impressions

Page impressions are views that are calculated after the website page is loaded by the user’s device.

2. Ads Impression

Ad impressions (ad impressions) are impressions that show ads that have been loaded on website pages.

3. General impression

General impressions are impressions that can be seen in general.

4. Social Media Impressions

Social media impressions (social media impressions) are impressions that show a post has been loaded by a social media user.

5. Advertising Impressions

Advertising impressions (impressions of advertisers) are the types of impressions that exist in online advertising.

How Metric Impressions Work

When dealing with impression metrics you have to remember that one impression is worth the same as one content display, whether it’s a website page, ad, or post on social media.

Of all the existing metrics, impressions are often used as an economical way to determine whether a content or ad is viewed or not by users.

In addition, most online advertising service providers have their own impression calculation criteria related to the calculation of advertising costs.

There are at least two ways of calculating advertising costs used by online advertising service providers, namely:

1. Cost per Impression (CPI)

CPI is a way of calculating that requires advertisers to pay per impression. Usually payments can be paid directly to the service provider.

For example, you want to create an ad to sell a new product to a specific market, you can use this CPI calculation method. Generally, costs are calculated in the following way:

required advertising costs / number of impressions obtained

2. Cost per Mile (CPM)

CPM is a cost calculation method that is widely used by online advertising service providers, especially in search engines and social media. In this way, the server will record the number of times the ad is loaded and the advertiser is asked to pay per 1000 impressions. That is, advertising costs can be calculated in the following way:

required advertising costs / total number of impressions x 1,000 = CPM value

The Impression function in digital marketing

The main function of impressions in digital marketing is as a tool that makes it easy for advertisers to measure the number of impressions of a content (ads, websites, posts) regardless of user activity.

On social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and the like, impressions are a very important metric. Because, from here the platform owner can make offers to potential advertisers.

For potential advertisers, impressions play an important role in making effective digital marketing plans, especially when it comes to calculating costs.

In addition, impressions will also be used as a tool to measure the performance of an ongoing digital marketing strategy. Therefore, a digital marketer or advertiser must understand impression metrics well.

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At the very least, they should know that page impressions don’t mean the same as online ad impressions. Because on one website page, you can get many ad impressions.

In addition, they must also understand that impression data is very influential with digital campaigns that aim to increase brand awareness and build branding.

In other words, every time a brand or product requires maximum exposure, impressions must be a metric that is included in the initial calculations and when analyzing the results.

That way digital marketers or companies can find out which digital marketing channels get the most exposure and need to be optimized again.

The Benefits Obtained from Measuring the Number of Impressions

The benefit of measuring the number of impressions is that it determines the performance of your marketing campaign. Did the campaign succeed in reaching the predetermined target or not.

In digital marketing, interactions and relationships with target markets are very important, especially predetermined target markets. But on the other hand, reaching as many potential target markets as possible must also be carried out to determine new target markets and increase brand awareness in leads.

Leads themselves are customers who respond or are interested in the product or service you offer after seeing the campaign. In the right way, you can turn leads into new customers.

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Especially now that consumer trends are always changing and digital marketers are required to continue to test the effectiveness of the campaigns or marketing strategies being implemented.

By looking at the data on impressions, you can find out whether the strategy being implemented is effective or not, the results are in accordance with the target or not. If not, then there must be changes to make it more effective.

How to calculate Impressions

To calculate impressions you can use several ways, including:

Click-through Rate (CTR)

CTR is the percentage of internet users who click on your content compared to those who see it. If the ad or content that you post has a high impression but a low CTR, it can be concluded that the content is not interesting. Therefore you have to re-evaluate the content and target audience.

The formula for calculating CTR is as follows:

Cost per Mile (CPM)

As previously explained, CPM is a cost that needs to be spent every 1,000 ad impressions. As a marketer or advertiser you need to know how to calculate it, namely:

Meaning of Impressions on Instagram, Google Ads, Facebook, and Search Console

It has been explained above that impressions are very important on social media. The reason is because currently social media marketing is a strategy that must be implemented by brands or companies to increase sales or other goals.

Below is an explanation of the meaning of impressions on each social media that you need to know.

1. Impressions on Instagram

Instagram provides an “insights” feature to every business account or content creator on its platform. This feature serves to show the performance of a content or post. So, in this “insight” you can see 4 sources of impressions received by your content:

  1. Home means Instagram users see your content from their homepage
  2. Profile means Instagram users see content from your account profile
  3. Hashtag means Instagram users see the content from the hashtag that you put in the caption
  4. Others (others) means Instagram users see your content because it is shared, tagged, or mentioned by other users.

In this case, “Instagram users” can mean followers or non-followers, yes.

2. Impressions on Google Ads

In Google Ads, impressions mean the number of times an ad is seen by internet users either in search results or other sites that have entered Google’s network.

You need to remember, impressions on Google ads are somewhat different from others because ad performance is not always measured by the number of impressions you get, but the keyword type you choose.

If you choose “broad match”, impressions can be obtained from various words, including those that are not in accordance with your business. Therefore, you have to evaluate regularly and use “negative keywords”.

In addition, there is a possibility that you will not get an impression at all in Google Ads Search. Usually because the search volume is low, the bid you set is too low, or the quality score is low.

In Google Ads there is also the term “Impression Share” which means an indicator of potential missed impressions due to a reduced budget or too low a bid. If the number is low, you can still try to make ads appear more by optimizing bids, budgets, and ad quality.

3. Impressions on Facebook Ads

Just like Google Ads, impressions on Facebook Ads are also calculated every time the ad that you post is seen by a Facebook user. The difference is, on Facebook Ads the expenses incurred can be greater because the payment system that is widely used is Cost per Mile (CPM).

In addition, impressions are also often used to calculate the average frequency of each Facebook user seeing your ad. This frequency can be calculated by:

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4. Impressions in Search Console

If you are a blogger or are responsible for managing a company website, you will often see the data in Google Search Console. Inside there is an impression that is usually calculated every time your website URL appears on a search page and is seen by internet users organically.

Google Search Console can display a site’s total satiation impressions in detail based on:

  1. Page/URL
  2. Queries
  3. Device
  4. Country
  5. Date

Usually, this impression is used to see and measure the performance of pages/URLs based on Click Through Rate (CTR) and then optimize keywords based on query results so that your website can get a higher ranking on search engines.

Thus the discussion about impressions is a term used to measure the appearance of digital content and the interactions made by internet users. Hopefully all the discussion in this article can add to your insight in the field of digital marketing.

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