What is an impression?

Impressions measure how often something is displayed on a screen. This can refer to entire pages (page impressions) or specific elements. Impressions are also counted for ads, as well as how often a snippet is displayed in organic search results.

What are impressions?

An impression is counted whenever a certain element or a complete page is displayed on a user’s screen. For this metric, the user does not have to interact with the element in any way other than scrolling so that it appears on the screen.

Impressions can be used for various evaluations on many networks. Here are some examples:

Analytics: What are page impressions?

Google Analytics provides the Page View evaluation feature. Each page view is measured, even if the website is reloaded. Google makes a distinction between unique page views and page impressions.

Advertising: What are ad impressions?

Google Ads also measures impressions, which then show how often your own ad was shown in search results or on other websites in the Google network (via AdSense). With other advertising networks, impressions work in a similar or identical way.

The CPM (cost-per-mille) billing method can be used, in which a fixed price is paid for every 1,000 impressions.

SEO: What are SERP impressions?

In Search Console, Google offers very interesting insights into how websites and their subpages appear in Google search results in the form of its Search Analysis report.

This report includes the number of impressions that websites receive for different search terms: Google shows how often URLs within a site domain were displayed for specific search queries. This impressions data, together with the number of actual clicks, can be used to calculate the click-through rate.

Social: What are Facebook impressions?

On Facebook and Instagram, the volume of impressions is calculated for each of the advertisements placed on these platforms. Further information on this can be found directly on Facebook in the Business Help.

Why should I care about impressions?

Impressions data gives you a good idea of how many pairs of eyes have potentially seen your webpage or advertisement, whether you are viewing this information in web analytics or when you are being billed for your advertisement media.

When you then combine this information with other metrics, such as clicks on the result, a much more interesting picture opens up: how often did web users interact with a displayed element?

Only with this knowledge can you optimise your website to increase conversions and evaluate the performance of texts, images and videos in your ads.

Steve Paine