How to Calculate Reach in Marketing [3 Simple Formulas]

Thiago Nogueira
Thiago Nogueira
Customer Success Manager at Insense
a phone screen showing instagram reach

Marketing reach is a key element in planning marketing campaigns, as it helps to give an estimated number of people that will view your ad.

This way, you can choose the ad campaigns with a higher chance of success. 

Calculating marketing reach is no easy feat though, as the metrics can be difficult to measure. And even if you find the perfect method to measure them, data on audience size, demographics, impressions, and engagement may still be incomplete.

But, here’s the good news:

In this blog post, we’ll define marketing reach and explore how it's measured, so the process becomes as hassle-free for you and your team as possible.

What Is Marketing Reach?

Simply put, marketing reach is the potential number of people you can reach with a marketing campaign.

It's a key figure for quantifying the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and return on investment (ROI). By using this, you'd invest your time and resources only on revenue-generating campaigns.

Plus, knowing the total reach of your campaigns gives you a better idea of your target audience and what they want.

This helps you align the messaging with them and estimate the number of potential customers accruable from the campaign.

Now, let's say you post in a do-it-yourself (DIY) Facebook group with 10,000 members to promote your product.

This means your reach is 10,000, because you’d naturally expect every group member to see the message. 

Using an expected conversion rate of 10 percent, you can expect to have 1,000 customers.

Simple right?

Well, it's not always that straightforward simply because some channels are harder than others. 

For example, it’s harder to measure the market reach for a traditional channel like television media, than digital marketing channels like social media.

Plus, it’s somewhat difficult to differentiate between estimated and actual reach, and reach versus impressions. They all bear close similarities.

Let’s explore the differences before showing how to calculate reach.

Estimated reach vs. actual reach

For some marketing channels like native advertising, it's hard to know the reach before you actually start the campaign—that’s what we call an estimated reach.

You can only know the actual reach—the marketing reach—when the campaign is in motion.

Here's an example:

You're using influencer marketing for an Instagram campaign and the total number of followers for one of the influencers you work with is 100,000. 

So, it's fair to assume your estimated reach is 100,000.


The social media platform's algorithm is constantly changing and this naturally affects the reach of the ad or piece of content you put out on social platforms.

And factors like the time you post the ad, the hashtags you use, and the engagements it receives, affects the number of people who see a social media post.

Hence, the estimated reach is not the same as the actual reach.

Reach vs. impressions

In the context of marketing campaigns on social media, both words, reach and impressions, seem similar. But they're also different.

In simple terms, impressions are the total number of people exposed to your ad, while reach is the number of unique users or people who view your ad.

Let's use an example to illustrate the difference more clearly.

You're running a Facebook ad campaign

John viewed it twice, while Sophia and Amanda saw it once.

The reach is 3, which is the number of unique viewers, while impressions is 4, since that's the total number of viewers or the number of times the ad was viewed.

How to Calculate Market Reach

You already know the definition of market reach and the important role it plays in planning marketing campaigns. 

But calculating it is difficult. 

Maybe you've even tried calculating it before, and hit a brick wall.

No worries!

We've broken down the complex process of calculating market reach into a 3-step process you can easily use:

  • Check the number of impressions
  • Calculate the frequency
  • Calculate the reach.

Let’s explore each step in more detail.

1. Check the number of impressions

First things first, you need to get the number of impressions.

Luckily, most social media and digital marketing platforms automatically calculate and display the number of impressions.

What if the platform doesn't display the number of impressions?

You can either use analytics tools or calculate it manually with this formula:

Impressions =cost/CPM1,000

More specifically, divide the total amount spent on the campaign by the cost per thousand impressions (CPM). Then multiply the result by 1,000.

For example, if you’re running a marketing campaign costing $500 with a CPM of $2, your impressions will be 250,000.

Let’s proceed to obtain the frequency…

2. Calculate the frequency

Frequency is how many times a person is exposed to an ad or content, within a specific time frame.

Optimizing your ad frequency is key to preventing overexposure which causes ad fatigue, leading viewers to ignore your ads.

Optimal ad frequency also helps keep the messaging fresh.

To obtain the frequency of your campaign, divide the total number of impressions by the unique views.

Frequency = Impressions/Unique views

Let's say your impressions are 250,000 while the unique views are 10,000. Your frequency will therefore be 25.

3. Calculate market reach

Now, you can calculate market reach since you have the ingredients—impressions and frequency.

Here’s the formula:

Market reach = Impressions/Frequency

So, since our calculated impressions and frequency from previous sections are 250,000 and 25 respectively, the market reach is 10,000.

How to Increase Your Reach

There're strategies you can implement to boost your reach. They include:

  1. Leveraging social media marketing: 

60% of the global population use social media and people spend an average of 144 minutes daily on social media.

These numbers make social media a natural channel to reach the highest amount of people.

You naturally want a part in it and we hear you!

Firstly, determine the platforms your target audience frequents. 

Then get active there, and utilize strategies like:

  • Running giveaways 
  • Posting quality educational content that’s shareable
  • Appending hashtags to posts
  • Running social media paid ads.
  1. Incorporating more visuals in your marketing content:

Research has proven that people connect and engage more with visual content than textual content. 

Also, people are more likely to recall and understand information communicated using visuals, due to the picture superiority effect. And there’s a higher chance of people engaging with your content if they understand your message.

Consider using infographics, short videos, and images in your marketing copy. And here are some tips for ensuring they have maximum impact on the reach of your campaign:

  • Accompany the visuals with clear and concise text.
  • Ensure the visual looks and feels native to the platform you're using.
  • Steer clear of generic stock images. Instead, use real images of your product, employees, or service.
  • Optimize for mobile users.
  • Adhere to the platform's specifications.
  • Keep videos short and straight to the point.
  1. Collaborating with influencers:

To boost the awareness of your brand, consider using influencers relevant to your target audience.

This is because your target audience is more likely to like, share, and comment on their posts. And since social media algorithms prioritize posts with high engagement, this leads to greater reach.

You can either execute a search on digital platforms to find influencers or use the Insense platform, which has multiple vetted micro-influencers and UGC content creators matching your brand identity. 

  1. Maximizing word-of-mouth (WOM):

According to Hubspot, 90% of customers believe suggestions from friends more than advertisements.

So, prioritize delivering quality service and reward customers for referrals.

You could also reward customers who share their experience with your service or product on digital platforms.

  1. Jumping on trends (trend jacking):

You can exploit the popularity of a topic to get people talking about your brand and boost your organic reach.

Rely on Google trends and social listening tools like Buffer and SparkToro to keep a pulse on trends.

Once you've found a trend, ensure it's relevant to your audience before creating a meme or post about it. 

Need Help With Boosting Your Reach?

Now that you know about market reach, use it to create ad campaigns that resonate with your audience and will bring better results.

You can also use strategies like trendjacking, influencer collaborations, and word-of-mouth marketing to reach more people.

Last but not least, you can book a free demo with Insense to find influencers to grow your reach and brand awareness using influencer marketing.

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Thiago Nogueira

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