What Are Digital Marketing Impressions?

If you’ve ever talked about social media or websites, you may have heard the word ‘impression’ used a lot. But what does the term mean?

What Are Digital Marketing Impressions?

The word ‘impression’ is used as a type of measurement that helps marketers assess how they’ve been performing.

In the past, impressions might have been heard on the radio or looked at while passing a billboard on the road.

As the world of marketing grew, the capacity to precisely measure impressions did too. 

In today’s world, we can remark on impressions used for classic channels, like radio ads and mailers, as well as modern elements like websites, SEO, email marketing, social media, and much more.  

You’ll learn more about digital marketing impressions in this article.

We’ll cover what marketing impressions are, how to assess impressions in marketing online, and why impressions are so important. 

What Are Marketing Impressions?

Many people ask what online impressions are, but the word has many definitions. Marketing involves many alike terms, so it can be hard to keep track of them all. 

One definition is that impressions are a measurement used to evaluate the performance of advertisements on web pages.

This definition mainly focuses on impressions that connect with online ads, but in marketing, impressions can relate to anything on digital platforms.

These include emails, ads, marketing, social media, and blog content on websites. 

Simply put, the answer to what online impressions are is that they refer to whenever your digital content is displayed on a user’s screen.

In this case, the number of impressions would relate to how many people have viewed your content online. 

Served Impressions

The way impressions are calculated is when a web page fetches and loads a particular link or ad.

It’s easy to calculate the metric linked with impressions, as the server easily tracks the data. Did the ad load, or didn’t it?

However, it can be difficult to assess whether impressions are valuable in this case, as they don’t state whether the ads were actually viewed, or if they had an effect on the viewer.

The analysis also doesn’t tell us if the ad was really seen by the user, or if the ad was located in a viewable area. Impressions just tell us that the ad was retrieved and loaded. 

Served impressions can involve pages that viewers closed before the ad finished loading, as well as instances when the viewer scrolled past the ads before they could load. 

These views can also include impressions that don’t have any marketing worth, like pages with ad-blocking software, websites that aren’t compatible with smartphones, pages opened by bots, and faulty plug-ins that stop the ad from loading. 

Viewable Impressions

Viewable impressions use information from a viewer’s device to improve the impression count.

They do this by eliminating instances where the chances are that the content was not viewed. 

Tracking viewable impressions can recognize user actions that prevent ads from being seen, like minimized browser windows, moving between different applications, and non-user interference, like malware concealment ads. 

Viewable impression tracking has two main advantages. The first is that businesses acquire more accurate data on how many impressions were actually made.

The second is that information gathered is very actionable. It implies improvements that can secure better content delivery rates. 

Assessing Impressions In Digital Marketing

Something to bear in mind is that impressions in digital marketing cannot be measured by interactions or clicks with the media in question, only the capacity of the user to view that digital media. 

Impressions are usually mixed up with the term ‘reach’, a metric that measures how many individual users have seen your online content.

Impressions metrics, on the other hand, monitor every time that the content appears, even if this happens several times for one user.

For instance, if you posted a blog post to 100 followers, your reach would be 100, no more, no less.

This reach would be the same even if another follower views the post from a friend that shared it.

Impressions are different, as they will grow every time someone views the content, even if they’ve viewed it before.   

Impression Counting Inconsistencies 

What Are Digital Marketing Impressions?

Impression counts shouldn’t be taken as hard facts as they can incur several inconsistencies. 

For instance, a person might open a web page ten times, so each one of the ten views would be measured as an impression.

However, this doesn’t mean that the person engaged with the content. 

This person might have opened several tabs without looking at all of the content.

Each of the ads on the unseen pages would also generate an impression, but the person never used them.

Impression fraud is also a big concern. Measures have been taken to eliminate as much click fraud as possible.

The aim is to reduce the number of non-human views on web pages that would affect how many impressions were registered. 

Unfortunately, some robotic activity still manages to sneak through.

Impression fraud sites might use techniques like pixel stuffing and ad stacking, as well as creating sites that deliberately cultivate false impressions and traffic. 

Controversy About Impressions In Digital Marketing

Due to the method that impressions are worked out within online marketing, this has brought up some concerns as to how accurate impressions are as a metric.

This debate is present within the marketing industry as some believe impressions act better as an estimation, instead of hard, factual data.  

With impressions, it can be tricky to find out if the user is actually looking and engaging with the content.

This is because there is no click or interaction – the impression is established entirely on whether the post, content, or ad is being viewed. 

Even so, this doesn’t mean that impressions in digital marketing are useless! Impressions are still a significant metric.

Compared to the past, when marketers used impressions 30 years ago, measuring impressions is a lot more accurate compared to marketing tactics from previous decades. 

Why Impressions In Digital Marketing Are Important

Despite the controversy around impressions in digital marketing, the metric can still be used as a tool within the industry.

This is because impressions can be used alongside other metrics to understand other elements within online marketing information. 

Digital marketing agencies are always examining email and social media impressions, as this helps understand other metrics better, like CTR (click-through rate). 

For instance, in the case of email impressions, if we notice that an email generated lots of impressions, but had a lower click-through rate, this indicates that something in the email didn’t connect with the audience. 

Once this is established, we can move forward and create a plan, looking at calls to action and how to form each email better in the future. 

Another way of using impressions in digital marketing is by the way your brand is perceived. Brand awareness is very important in business and marketing.

Working to get your brand noticed is important to keep establishing and growing your customer base. 

What Are Digital Marketing Impressions?

Using impressions through social media channels, for instance, helps you understand how your content and brand are performing.

When you compare this metric along with others, you can gauge and assess your social media outreach and construct a personalized, tactical strategy.

Final Thoughts

Impression data can be used to assess how well your brand is performing.

The world of digital marketing is always changing, but some things remain constant, like assessing a range of quality data and metrics can help you create a great tactical strategy. 

The information above should give you a better understanding of what impressions are.

Even though they should be taken with a grain of salt, impressions can still be compared with other metrics to see how people are engaging with your content.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is An Impression In Digital Media?

Also known as a view-through, an impression is when a user views your content Impressions happen any time when users open a web page with this piece of content.

This also includes ads, as apps and websites can have visible advertisements. 

Impressions must not be confused with the term engagement, as engagement looks at how many interactions a piece of content received. 

Are Views The Same As Impressions?

Impressions and views are normally confused for each other, but they mean different things.

Impressions depict how many users your content has been shown to. Views are how many times people have engaged with your content.

For instance, in the case of videos, views will depict how many times a video has been watched. 

Are Engagements More Important Than Impressions?

Out of reach, impressions, and engagement, engagement is the most important metric. Unlike views and impressions, engagement is the only term that directly involves a user.

Viewing and seeing a piece of content is significant, but not as much involving a person and influencing them to act. 

What Is The Difference Between Clicks And Impressions?

Also known as ad clicks, clicks are a metric used in the digital marketing world. These count how many times users have clicked on a digital ad, extending to an online property.

In the ad world, ad impressions count how many times digital advertisements are presented on a user’s screen inside the publisher’s network. 

Why Are Impressions Important In Digital Marketing?

You can use impressions to understand how your content and brand are performing.

Impressions might not give an accurate impression of how your content is doing by themselves, but they can be compared with other data metrics to help you better assess your brand.

Through this, you can use the data to generate a better, tactical marketing plan.

Justin Shaw
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