What Are Impressions on Instagram, and What Do They Mean?

Jun 14, 2024
Jun 14, 2024
9 min
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Impressions on Instagram

What’s the deal with impressions on Instagram? Find out why they matter for your brand's visibility and engagement, and learn how to get more of them.

You might have read our blogs about the dynamics of Facebook impressions and the intricacies of Google Ads impressions, but what exactly are impressions on Instagram? Let’s explore the IG world of impressions and what they mean for your brand.

What are impressions on Instagram?

Impressions on Instagram are a crucial metric that tells you how often your content—a photo, video, story, or ad—displays on someone’s screen. Unlike reach, which counts unique views, impressions tally every time your post shows on people’s screens, even if the same person sees it multiple times. 

If your photo shows up in someone's feed three times, it counts as three impressions. This is why impressions can multiply quickly and often be significantly higher than the number of unique viewers (reach).

Understanding impressions is crucial for gauging the visibility of your content. High impressions indicate that your posts are circulating widely, which is excellent for brand awareness. However, it’s essential to consider impressions alongside metrics like engagement and reach to get a complete picture of your content's performance on Instagram.

Reach vs. impressions on Instagram

When analyzing your Instagram performance, it's essential to distinguish between reach and impressions. Although they might appear similar, they measure very different aspects of your content’s visibility.

Reach represents the number of unique users who have seen your post. Everyone counts only once, no matter how often they view your content. For example, if 100 different people see your post, your reach is 100.

Impressions, on the other hand, count the total number of times your content is displayed, regardless of who sees it. If one person views your post three times, it counts as three impressions. So, if those 100 people view your post twice, you will have 200 impressions.

High reach indicates a broad audience, while high impressions suggest your content is viewed multiple times, potentially increasing brand recall and engagement.

How Instagram impressions are different from engagement

Impressions track how many times your content displays on someone’s screen. That includes repeated views from the same person, making it a measure of how often your content shows but does not necessarily interact with.

Engagement is the most crucial metric to monitor for social media success. Unlike impressions and reach, engagement involves direct interaction from users. It's one thing for someone to see your content, but it's a whole different level when they actively engage with it.

Users who interact with your content by liking, commenting, sharing, or saving are taking a step further in their journey with your brand. This active involvement makes them more likely to convert from casual viewers into potential sales leads. Engagement indicates that your content is hitting the right notes with your audience and that you are motivating them to take action. 

While high impressions mean your content is getting seen, high engagement indicates that viewers find it compelling enough to interact with. Both ad metrics are valuable: impressions can help you understand your content's visibility, while engagement shows its impact and relevance to your audience. Balancing both enables you to create content that reaches people and resonates with them.

Why do impressions on Instagram matter?

This metric is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Visibility: Impressions indicate how frequently your content appears on the platform, giving you an idea of its visibility. The higher the impressions, the more often your content appears in feeds, Stories, or search results.
  2. Building trust: Frequent exposure to your content helps build brand awareness and trust. Even if users don’t interact with your posts immediately, repeated impressions keep your brand top-of-mind.
  3. Repetition -> conversion: Research shows it takes an average of 7 exposures before someone will recall or take action on your ad. Increasing impressions can help your content achieve this repetition and increase the probability of conversions. However, it's crucial to strike a balance by monitoring ad frequency to avoid 'ad fatigue,’ which occurs when excessive exposure to an ad reduces engagement.
  4. Conversion rate analysis: Higher impressions generally increase visibility and awareness, thereby boosting the likelihood of users taking actions like visiting your website, subscribing to your newsletter, or making purchases. Monitoring impressions alongside conversion rates lets you gauge whether your ad is reaching enough people and compelling enough to prompt actions. 

How to monitor impressions on Instagram

The more obvious route would be to monitor via Instagram Insights. For personal and business accounts, Instagram Insights provides detailed analytics on your posts, Stories, and overall account performance. You can access impressions data directly from the Insights tab, which gives you a breakdown of impressions for each piece of content.

Instagram Insights and Story views

While Instagram Insights is great for quickly accessing your Instagram content data, Instagram is likely not the only platform you're using to distribute your content. That means you'll need to jump between multiple platforms to gather all your data, which can be time-consuming.

If you're short on time and would benefit from a more comprehensive reporting tool, we recommend using Madgicx’s One-Click Report.

This reporting tool allows you to monitor all your important metrics for paid ads—like ROAS, impressions, CPM, and engagement—across multiple popular channels in one live dashboard, including Meta, Google, and TikTok. 

One-Click Report

With One-Click Report, you can also effortlessly generate detailed reports using one of the 19 ready-made templates with just a single click. Prefer customization? Personalize your reports with the quick drag-and-drop method. 

And if you work with clients and teammates, our reports come with a shareable link for easy collaboration. Try One-Click Report for FREE now.

Tips for increasing impressions on Instagram

Increasing impressions on Instagram involves creating high-quality content, engaging with your audience, and utilizing Instagram’s features effectively. Here are some tips to help you get your content displayed on as many screens as possible:

#1 Create high-quality content

Part of creating high-quality content is using high-resolution images and videos. Ensure good lighting, composition, and editing. Stick to a consistent theme or aesthetic that reflects your brand and share genuine, relatable content that resonates with your audience.

Davidoff has mastered the art of Instagram aesthetics by consistently showcasing a beachy summer lifestyle and using a blue filter across their images. At a glance, you know exactly what the brand represents.

Instagram aesthetic account

#2 Leverage Reels

It’s no secret that Instagram’s algorithm favors Reels. On average, Instagram Reels receive a 22.6% higher interaction rate than regular Instagram videos. Creating engaging, trendy Reels can significantly boost your impressions and help you reach new audiences through the Reels tab and Explore page. 

Consider the interaction contrast: The Reel received 9,249 likes and 70 comments, whereas the feed post for the same product got 7,877 likes and 47 comments. It’s worth mixing some video into your content strategy.

Instagram - comparing Reels and Posts engagement

What’s unique about Reels is that you can use popular audio tracks, join in on trends, and experiment with creative transitions and effects to maximize your reach.

#3 Engage with your audience

Engaging with your audience improves impressions by fostering a sense of community and encouraging interaction. When you reply to comments, like and comment on other users’ posts, and use Instagram Stories, you create more touchpoints with your followers. These interactions increase the visibility of your content, leading to higher impressions.

Not only is engaging with your audience potentially the difference between an impression and a click for your content but engaging with people also improves impressions by fostering a sense of community and encouraging interaction. When you reply to comments, like and comment on other users’ posts, and use Instagram Stories, you create more touchpoints with your followers. These interactions increase the visibility of your content, leading to higher impressions. 

For example, see how Goodyear Bike strategically and organically integrated into GoPro’s content. They know consumers will consciously and subconsciously associate the bikers’ tires with their brand. This approach entices people to click on Goodyear Bike and explore their Instagram page.

Instagram - brands commenting on other brands' content

#4 Utilize hashtags and geotags

Use a mix of popular and niche hashtags relevant to your content. There are tools that can help you find popular hashtags with influencers, competitors, and your target audience. Avoid using too many hashtags; 3-5 well-chosen ones are usually effective. 

On top of that, you can tag your location to reach users searching for content from that area. For brands with a brick-and-mortar presence, claiming your Instagram geotag is an obvious decision. But what about e-commerce brands? Believe it or not, geotags on Instagram can be beneficial for all types of businesses. 

Big brands with multiple locations can use geotags to boost local engagement. In contrast, e-commerce brands with no physical location can still leverage geotags to create a sense of community and presence. Companies with just headquarters can use geotags to enhance brand visibility and connect with their audience.

Instagram. - ecommerce brand geotag

#5 Post at optimal times

Different formats may perform better at various times. According to Later, IG posts are most effective between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. Reels, however, tend to do best between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., with another peak performance period starting around 9 p.m. in the late evening.

Best time to post on Instagram - Infographic

#6 Collaborate with others

Collaborating with influencers or complementary accounts in your niche can help you reach new audiences and increase your visibility. Connect with accounts with a similar target audience and suggest a mutually beneficial partnership, such as a shoutout, guest post, or joint giveaway. 

Collaborative Instagram giveaway

You can also encourage participation by asking followers to like, comment, share, and tag friends to enter. Just ensure the prize appeals to your target audience. Bonus: This is also a surefire way to win more Instagram followers.

#7 Promote your Instagram on other platforms

Share your Instagram content on social media platforms like Facebook, X (Twitter), and LinkedIn. A time-saving hack is linking your Instagram to your Facebook page to share content simultaneously on both platforms. 

Automatically share IG content to Facebook

Additionally, you can promote your Instagram account on your website and in your email signature.

#8 Analyze and adjust

Using a reporting tool, regularly identify and analyze which types of content perform best. Then, use this data to make informed adjustments to your creative strategy. 

You should also continuously reassess your unique selling proposition: What are your customers asking? What are your strengths? What are your competitors excelling at? These factors constantly change, so staying flexible and ready to adapt is essential.

Creative Strategy

Impressions on Instagram - FAQs

Alright, time for the most frequently asked questions about impressions on Instagram.


What is the difference between views, reach, and impressions on Instagram?

Views indicate how many people watch a video, while reach is the number of unique users who see your content. Impressions, on the other hand, represent the total number of times your content is displayed, regardless of whether someone watched it or clicked on it.

What does impression from profile mean?

Impressions from your profile indicate how many users visit your page. This metric helps you understand how often your profile is accessed, providing insights into the effectiveness of your bio, profile picture, and overall profile attractiveness.

Are impressions the same as likes?

No, impressions are not the same as likes. Impressions measure how often your content shows, while likes indicate the number of users who actively engage with your content by clicking the ‘like’ button.

What does ‘from other’ on Instagram impressions mean?

‘From other’ on Instagram impressions refers to several indirect ways your posts can be seen, such as when someone shares your post through messages, interacts with posts you’ve been mentioned or tagged in, or saves your content.

What's better, reach or impressions on Instagram?

Both metrics are important, but they serve different purposes. Reach measures how many unique users see your content, which is critical for brand awareness—you want to know that new people are discovering your posts and getting to know your brand. 

Conversely, impressions provide insight into overall visibility, how much ground you're covering online, and the frequency of your content exposure. Balancing both metrics helps ensure a broader and more engaged audience.


While impressions and covering as much digital ground as possible matter, we must recognize that reach is the accurate gauge of whether new people are discovering your brand or content. 

We also can't overlook the value of engagement—when users actively hit that like, share, or click on your ad link to purchase, that's the real gold right there (💰). It means your content is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing and compelling users to take action.

Now, go out there and make an impression!

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Jun 14, 2024
Jun 14, 2024
Annette Nyembe

Digital copywriter with a passion for sculpting words that resonate in a digital age.

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