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Twitter Metrics Defined: Reach

Reach is an important metric for any social media marketer. On Twitter, we aren’t just focused on engaging the people already following us. We’re trying to grow and expand our audience. Reach is a key way to tell if we’re doing that successfully.

Twitter Reach

What Does Reach Mean to You?

Similar to  potential impressions,  the reach metric allows you to quantify not only the users you engaged with, but the followers of those users, who may have seen your @handle or Tweet. This is important. The focus of social marketing is to expand your audience, and promote your message to a wider segment of the population.

What Makes Reach Different From Impressions?

Reach accounts for the people who may have seen your content, where as impressions go a step further and calculate the number of times the people you’ve reached may have seen it.

The reach metric is a good indicator of the content that’s working to grow that audience and…well…”reach” new people. Focus on the content that’s being shared, talked about and promoted, and measure the reach of your actions. This is a true look at the audience you have the potential to engage.

How is Your Potential Reach Calculated

Unfortunately, there’s no catch-all for calculating potential reach. Our team of seasoned analysts collected feedback from customers and developed three different formulas for calculating this metric, along with potential impressions. While these aren’t the only ways to identify potential reach, we found that these are the three types of analysis social media experts are interested in. As we researched other analytics services, we found that most use a calculation similar to one of the options below. Simply Measured’s Twitter Analytics supports all three calculations at the push of a button.

Method 1: In this more “conservative” calculation, one @reply results in one person reached. This will likely give you a lower than actual reading, but makes a fair assumption that @replies won’t generate the full reach of the author’s followers. In addition, @replies are typically 1-to-1 interactions where reach/impressions are not as relevant, rather than broader messages. We’ve focused on this approach as the go-to model, and the majority of the customers we consulted support this method.


Method 2: This is the most aggressive method, accounting for each follower of the author as a potential user reached, even in cases of direct @Replies. This approach takes the word “potential” at its most literal form.


Method 3: This method will let you define any percentage contribution for followers of @replies from 90% to 10%. For example, if you believe that 20% of the average author’s audience is overlapping with the account replied to, you can use this as a basis for  potential reach across all @Replies on all Twitter reports.

Before reporting on your potential reach, it’s important to know the formula being used, so you can develop an understanding of your full virality and brand exposure.

Download the complete guide to Twitter Analytics

Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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