What Is An Impression?

One of the most common questions people ask me is what is an impression? Does it matter?

Impressions, are any interaction with a piece of content and a member of your audience. For example, when you read the front page of the Wall Street Journal, every article on that page counts your viewing as one impression. When you are on Facebook, every ad that scrolls by in your news feed is considered to be an impression. An impression is the largest or broadest possible metric for any piece of media’s performance. Whether you pay for it or not it is an impression.

Do impressions matter? In the big picture, they do matter, sort of. If your impressions count is zero or very low than that means your other metrics are not going to look very good. Think of impressions as being the top of the ladder, once that ad is served up you need to focus on engagement. When they saw that ad or impression did they pay attention? Did they click on it? Once you engaged them did they do anything? If they did that is a conversion. From clicking through to get to your website to actually filling out a form to join your mailing list or maybe even buying something. This is a measurable result of that first impression. That impression can set you up for everything that happens after…or not. So yes, they matter.


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