TRAC: Social Impressions

Discover the meaning of social impressions and how to effectively utilise this crucial metric within the TRAC platform.

Hassan Elgaddal avatar
Written by Hassan Elgaddal
Updated over a week ago

Learning Outcomes

  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the concept of social impressions.

  • You will learn how to apply your knowledge of social impressions effectively when using TRAC.

What are Social Impressions?

Social impressions are the number of times a post has been displayed in a timeline, whether the post is clicked on, or not. In other words, it’s an estimate of how many times people have most likely seen or been exposed to a piece of content. This is a standard reporting metric used within marketing and insight teams, and one of the main reasons for this is that this metric is very easy to interpret.

As the name suggests, Social Impressions is a metric available for all social platforms (X, Facebook, Instagram), and other online sources, such as Blogs, Forums and Reviews. The alternative to this for Media Monitoring is called Media Reach.

That said, Social Impressions are also one of the hotly debated metrics in the industry. That’s because the number of potential impressions is always a much more inflated number than the volume of impressions actually delivered, (based on the number of people who are online, on a specific channel, at any given time).

So, given that the endgame is getting people to see your content, how useful is that potential impressions figure really? To support both these angles, Pulsar provides two metrics, PEI and AEI, and these are available on TRAC and CORE. Let's look at TRAC Social Impressions first.

Potential Estimated Impressions (PEI)

Potential Estimated Impressions is the potential amount of times your post has appeared in a timeline, giving you an indication of how large your potential exposure might be. This metric takes into account the number of followers the account has. Now, imagine someone like @BarackObama with an audience size of 100+ million followers on X tweeting something - the PEI for that tweet will be insane!

💡 Top Tip: It's important to stress that these figures are not unique users, but an estimate on how many times people have most likely seen a piece of content. It helps you answer the question: What is the maximum exposure that my content has received?

On TRAC, Potential Impressions are calculated by looking at the audience size and the amount of engagements generated by that post. For some channels, where we currently do not have information on the audience size, for example YouTube, we are unable to give an estimate on the number of Potential Impressions.

Actual Estimated Impressions (AEI)

The AEI metric uses channel specific benchmarks and is calculated as a percentage of PEI, and attempts to predict the actual times a piece of content was delivered to a timeline, so how many times people actually saw a tweet? This percentage is dependent on the average social impressions each channel generates. We know that for Instagram it's around 5%, whilst for X it's around 11%. This is a much more desirable option if you are looking to compare or consolidate social data with other data sources as it gives you a much more realistic view of your audience’s behaviour.

You can find the Actual Impressions metric in the Feed Results, or the Pulsar feed exports.

Channel Specific Impressions


For X Social Impressions, we take into account the sum of the author's followers, the sum of all retweeting users' followers, and the number of retweets the post has received on X.


For Instagram Social Impressions, this is based on the number of Likes the post has received and then we add a likes multiplier to estimate the audience size, as we do not have follower information from the hashtags APIs, so our multiplier is based on a study that says that for every 1k followers, you get 37 likes on average. You can read more about it here.


For Reddit Social Impressions, we take into account the number of the subreddit's subscribers, upvotes, i.e likes, plus the number of comments left on that post.

Forums, Blogs, Reviews

We look at the estimated daily visitor count for those websites, based on Alexa ranking, and if available we also factor in the number of times the url for that review, blog or forum post has been shared on Facebook, which we call "Social Shares".


For Facebook data we look at the number of page followers plus the number of total engagements on the post.


The Social Impressions count mirrors the views count for Twitch content.


We calculate Pinterest's impressions based on the profile's follower count and the number of engagements.


We calculate Discord's impressions based on the server size and the number of replies to the comment (if the comment was a Thread)

We hope you enjoyed reading this article! 📚

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please don't hesitate to reach out to our support team via live chat. 🚀

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