Creating an online strategy usually means designing campaigns and using tactics that are meant to persuade users into checking your website, following you on social networks, or even buy and use your products and services. A very important part in any online strategy is the measurement of the results, which are usually made through following these two-main metrics: reach or engagement. If you are running a budget-free activity, measuring these metrics it’s not mandatory, but it will provide you with some insights on how to optimize your efforts into achieving the best results. If you are investing advertising money, measuring these metrics is a must, in order to get the best that you can from your budget.
What is reach?
Simply described, reach measures the number of people who saw your post or visited your website in a particular timeframe. Going in depth, reach is measuring how your content is spread on social media or the internet, indicating how many people have seen your post in their own news feeds. Reach can be organic, viral or paid. Usually, the organic reach of a post on Facebook is up to 2% of the total number of your online fans. Viral reach refers to the number of unique people who have seen your post shared by a friend, while paid reach shows the number of users who have seen your post as a result of an advertising activity (sponsored ad). One can increase their reach whether by investing some money into boosting the post, or by achieving a high engagement rate.
What is engagement?
Engagement is the measurement unit representing the totality of actions such as likes, shares, comments, click on links, click on the image etc. taken by users on your content in a given timeframe. Engagement is driven by the quality of the information you are sharing and the content strategy you are using. Quality content encourages consumers to participate in discussions, to express their opinions and get involved into your activities, even becoming your own brand ambassadors. When a post has a good engagement rate, it will reach even more users. It goes without saying that a post with an increased engagement rate has an increased potential to become viral, thus lowering the pressure on the media budget.
What should I look for, reach or engagement?
The answer to the question comes right after revisiting the purpose of your online campaign. Wanting to extend your reach means getting more website traffic and improving the brand awareness, while going for engagement brings brand loyalty, better customer relationship and more sales leads. If you are looking to make your brand or website better known, or to enlarge your audience, then investing into a reach campaign might be the best solution, bringing lower advertising costs and a lower need for investments in quality content.
However, it is very easy to fall into the trap of building a large audience, thinking that increasing the number of people that would see your posts will improve your sales results. Keep in mind that a bigger audience is not necessarily a more active audience. It is very important to build a community where people are actually interested in what you have to say and are paying attention to your messages. No matter the kind of campaign you would be running (for brand awareness, for reach, traffic, engagement, lead generation etc.), choosing the right audience is essential and it is always the main drive for success.
The optimal solution is combining the reach campaign tactics with a functional engagement strategy, which includes creating specifically designed content for your target audience. Only in this way you can convince both new and current fans to keep following your page or your website and engage with your brand. Increasing the reach or enlarging the audience of your posts is a relatively easy thing to access, but engagement is the actual deal, which converts your online efforts into profits.