Should Content Creators really be reporting on impressions?
It's more complex than you think
The Esports and Gaming Industry’s favourite reporting metric these days is impressions. You’ll see it at the top of most reports and tends to be the go-to in pitch meetings when convincing a brand to give you money… “look at the impressions we get”. But should that really be the focus of your reporting?
The short answer is actually no, but the short answer also isn’t really the one you should be going with. It is a bit more complex than that. Let me explain this a bit more:
Impressions, as they relate to social media and content, are the number of times your content is displayed.
So lots of impressions is great for brand awareness right? It means lots of people saw your content. Cool. But is that really enough? When it comes to most social media platforms it is now relatively easy to throw ad spend behind content you put up. That ad spend specifically pushes your content into the feeds of more people and thus, increases your impressions. If brand awareness is your only focus, then great, a gazillion folks have seen your content. But so what?
Did they engage?
Lots of people seeing a piece of content in their feeds really isn’t enough to justify brand spend. Ideally, you want people to see content and engage with it in some way. From a brand perspective the reason you want engagement is because this will mean the person engaging with the content either clicked a like button, felt the need to comment or clicked a link to go buy, sign up or whatever other call to action you promoted. An engaged audience is always more valuable than a large audience – because engaged audiences tend to act and, by act, that can often mean spend.
It’s a double edged sword though. Social media algorithms are weird beasts. The more engagement a piece of content has, the more people the content is served to organically meaning…. you guessed it… the larger the number of impressions. I can confuse you a bit more and start breaking down the difference between impressions and reach (which is a far better metric to use, in my opinion) versus engagement, but for the sake of this, I’m going to keep it simple.
When reporting on the content you’ve made, impressions can’t be the stand alone metric you’re relying on. Impressions, reach and engagement go hand in hand. If you’ve got mad impressions but very low reach and engagement, the content is potentially not doing what you wanted it to do OR you’ve had to pay to push it into feeds.
Let’s dig a little deeper
If you really want to understand the impressions debate a bit more I have some great insights on Season 2 of my podcast.
In “Why no one is watching your esports broadcast”, Richard Lewis explains the problem with relying on impressions alone:
Then in the 2 part episodes around esports sponsorships, there is insight on how best to report your success and the metrics to keep in mind – with insight from a brand lead and one of the biggest tournament organisers in the world (content creators can learn A LOT from both of these episodes):
Sometimes reporting on your content creation can be tough (and time consuming). I use Digital Republic for all my reporting needs and they’ve honestly made monthly reports and campaign reports SO much easier to do. You get all the metrics you need in one place for a host of different platforms. Check out what their reporting software offers here, and definitely reach out to them if you want help with your reports in the future.
Disclosure: Digital Republic offers me a trade exchange on their reporting software.
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