While Others Are More Focused On Engagement, I’m Focused On Impressions.
Okay, hear me out.
I focus on engagement as much as the next person. Engagement is key in whatever you do online. However, I believe when it comes to the bigger picture, I do believe impressions should be first in line. I want to make a point as to why attention matters just as much as 1,000 likes and comments.
So what are impressions anyway?
An impression is when someone views content on their screen. A viewer doesn’t have to engage with the content in order for it to count as an impression. They just have to see it. Also, one person could have multiple impressions for a single piece of content. An example of this is when you see a post on your feed show up from the original poster, then later on one of your friends shared the same post. In this case, it would count as two impressions for the same post.
For me, I don’t ask myself how many likes and comments can I get on my posts. I ask myself how many people can I get to see my posts. More importantly, I ask who can I get to see my posts. I notice some people who are trying to get themselves noticed seem to expect likes and comments without justifiable output — things don’t work like that. In this microwave generation, we have access to almost anything we want in seconds. Because of this, we have lost the art of patience. We have become unreasonable with how reality works. We have developed a poor expectation of feeling entitled to the world's attention without proving ourselves worthy of anyone's attention. Starting out, we are nobodies wanting to be somebody. It isn’t until we show people why we are somebody and have them see things from our view that we are able to have them pay attention.
It was when I was starting to build a presence for myself on Facebook that I realized that impressions seemed to hold more weight over engagement. Back in 2013, I did Multi-Level Marketing. I would make posts and get few to no likes on my post, yet it would be a topic of conversation when I would speak with people. I didn’t understand.
If no one is liking my posts, are they really paying attention?
Yes, they are.
We tend to define engagement by the attention received and that's just not true. If you pay attention to the analytics of companies or public figures you will know that 100% engagement doesn't exist. We scroll social media looking at posts and see the funny posts, the person who posted their vacation pictures, a news headline, etc. We know all the updates because we see it on our feed. For those few seconds, we are giving our attention to something may or may not care about. Whether we care about it or not doesn’t matter because the impression was already made and there is a chance that it’s embedded into your memory. On the other hand, impressions aren’t exactly set in stone. Often times you can scroll on your feed and you will never see it or notice a post and that’s okay. For the poster, it’s about hitting one person who will spend a couple of seconds to glance at the post, which will hopefully lead to engagement. Picking up on having things embedded in memory, that’s the goal of the advertisement. If they can get you to think about it, they can get you to engage.
We only interact when something evokes emotion from us. Look at how ads are made. The whole point of advertising is to bring attention to consumers with the intention of conversion.
In short: Attention + Emotion = Conversion.
One thing we do know is that people read. Whether it’s a notification, email, or browsing the web. We are reading quite a bit every day. We pay attention even when we aren’t paying attention. There was a San Pelligrino commercial that played a few times on television and when I got to the store I purchased a bottle out of curiosity. Their plan worked and the conversion was made. It’s not a bad drink. You guys should try it.
Do you see what I did there? That’s how the game is played.
So getting impressions lead to engagement, right?
Correct. If people focused more on how to grasp peoples attention, the engagement will come naturally. If I made a funny and relatable tweet with only 1,000 followers, that tweet will most likely get enough engagement to go viral. Now I don’t need all 1,000 to retweet or reply. I just need a few people with a nice sized following to retweet or like. If someone with 100,000 followers retweets my tweet, that increases my chance of going viral much more. If you’ve ever seen someone with a tweet that has 140k retweets and 283k likes with the account only having 734 followers, that’s how it happened. How are memes always getting high numbers? It’s simple, people love to laugh and laughing is as contagious. Businesses have picked up on this and it has increased their relevancy.
Another example is becoming a public figure in a field. Let’s talk about internet personalities. You see them online and they have something to show you. I believe most of them have the same thought process when it comes to giving their audience what they want and that is how they’re able to get reach their targets. If they’re one of those high life celebrities they understand that everyone wants to be rich and want the same life. So what do they do? Sell the image that will capture peoples attention. People live vicariously through others and the sellers are able to capitalize in their favor.
After they have your attention they’ll probably sell you something else — and you will buy it because you’re emotionally invested. That’s the main goal. When the engagement comes it’s important to double down on the analytics to sharpen your approach. Take a look at where most of your attention is coming from, the demographic, the times your posts are receiving the most attention, how to address your audience, etc. Learn the information and move accordingly.
I focus more on impressions because I choose to start from square one. When it comes to presenting yourself it’s better to be calculated instead of putting yourself out there without a plan. If you’re online and want to make a presence, your goal should be getting yourself in front of as many people as possible. The end goal should be having an audience you know could help get your brand out there to more people. Get the eyes on you, keep them interested, then scale your audience.