In an era where influencer marketing is booming and Instagram continues to reign supreme as a social media giant, buying reach and impressions has become a popular growth tactic for brands and creators alike. But what do “reach” and “impressions” on Instagram actually mean? And is purchasing them an effective strategy or simply smoke and mirrors? This article breaks it all down in plain English.
Defining Key Terminology
First, let’s clarify some key terminology that gets thrown around when discussing Instagram analytics:
Impressions: The number of times a post or profile is displayed to users. This includes posts appearing in someone’s main feed, hashtag search results, the explore page, etc. Each instance of a user scrolling past one of your posts counts as one impression. This matters because more impressions means more visibility for your brand.
Reach: The total number of unique Instagram accounts that have seen your post or profile in a given period of time. For example, you can have multiple impressions on one user but it only counts as one unique account reached. 50 people could see your post 3 times each—that would amount to 150 impressions but a reach of 50 accounts.
Engagement Rate: The percentage of your overall reach that engages through liking, commenting or saving your post. To calculate, you take total engagements divided by reach. An account with 60,000 impressions but only 100 likes would have a low engagement rate. Conversely, 100K impressions and 30K likes is superb engagement.
So in simple terms, reach is about unique eyeballs and impressions are total views. Engagement rate measures what percentage of the people you reach interact and show genuine interest.
The Case for Buying Impressions
For businesses and influencers, high impressions numbers signify rising awareness and visibility of your brand on Instagram. And visibility is key for growth on a platform with over 1 billion monthly users.
That’s why some opt to purchase Instagram impressions from third-party providers. Services allow you buy impression packages on specific posts as well as inflate the overall impression figures reported on your profile. Packages often start around $10 USD for 5,000-10,000 impressions.
Proponents argue buying impressions can:
– Kickstart new posts: Purchased impressions help new posts gain visibility within hashtags and on the explore page. This allows you to test content without relying solely on existing followers.
– Reinforce top posts: Boosting impressions on your best-performing content keeps it circulating longer for continual brand presence/exposure.
– Influence perceptions: Higher impressions metrics can persuade others your account has strong reach and authority in your niche.
However, there are also significant downsides to avoid with bought impressions that must be considered…
The Fallout from Fake Impressions
While first glance it may seem clever to “juice up” your Instagram numbers artificially, obtained impressions rarely convert into actual value. Worse still, focusing too heavily on vanity metrics can actively damage your account reputation if not careful.
Drawbacks of bought Instagram impressions include:
– No engaged reach: Impressions alone drive no real traffic value without subsequent actions like clicks, follows, shares etc. Fake impressions don’t necessarily correlate to higher engagement rates.
– Violates Instagram policies: Explicitly prohibited in Instagram’s terms around artificial inflation tactics. Risk account deletion if caught buying inauthentic activity.
– Penalization from algorithms: Networks like Instagram get smarter at sniffing out and ignoring inauthentic traffic. Too many fake impressions can suppress your organic reach capabilities going forward.
– Waste of time/money: Budget wasted chasing vanity metrics rather than time/money spent creating content your true target audience loves and engages with.
Essentially unless the purchased impressions convert into genuine user engagement, they hold little tangible value beyond ego boosting. Prioritizing real relationship building almost always drives better ROI long-term.
Strategic Use Cases for Purchasing Impressions
While largely discouraged, some niche use cases exist where buying Instagram impressions may align strategically:
– Rapidly testing new hashtags: Paying to increase hashtag impressions allows you to swiftly gauge which hashtags resonate best with your target audience.
– Promoting time-sensitive campaigns: Short boosts help promote contests, special sales etc where velocity in driving traffic is the priority over sustainable growth.
– Nurturing old evergreen content: Maintain impressions on historically top-performing evergreen posts that still offer value for new visitors to discover.
However, caution remains warranted even in the above contexts around overspending or becoming reliant on unsustainable, inauthentic impression sources counterproductive to long-term organic growth.
The Takeaway: Prioritize Quality Content and Community
While impressive vanity metrics like millions of Instagram impressions are enticing, purchased reach rarely drives meaningful impact. Rather than chasing superficial numbers, the savviest brands and influencers dedicate their efforts towards building loyalty and engagement through creative, value-driven content strategies.
Only real humans have the capacity to become loyal brand advocates that follow, share, and eventually convert into paying customers. By focusing on nurturing authentic communities rather than artificial inflation, you set yourself up for more sustained expansion powered by real word-of-mouth influence.
So while buying Instagram impressions remains potentially tempting as reach goals expand, maintaining perspective on quality over quantity is vital not to lose sight of what truly fuels breakout Instagram success stories.
The key is to remain committed to delighting those already within your reach rather than pursuing what are ultimately hollow metrics devoid of meaningful interactions. Sustainable Instagram growth stems from people over vanity metrics.