Faulty Impressions

Today is Black Friday, which means a lot of retailers are going to be counting impressions. What are impressions? Impressions are the number of times your content loads on a web page (e.g. in the newsfeed on Facebook) or the number of times your store gets seen, presumably by everyone who walks by.

Impressions are a good way to assess a number of potential eyeballs but a bad way to measure success. Just because your content loads in someone’s newsfeed or someone walks by your store, doesn’t mean they even see or acknowledge your advertisement.

Impressions are bunk. People pass by me every day (1 person = 1 impression) in New York but they rarely acknowledge my existence. They never look at me, we never chat, and vice versa. But it’s practical: we can’t possibly see and talk to everybody. Time is of the essence!

Attention and engagement are the real success measures. Engagement is a click, a share, or a like. The most engaged people are the usually the ones that are the most loyal, tell their friends, and keep coming back to buy more.

Engagement is the currency of the social web and real world. Impressions inflate views and project false realities. How do you call attention to yourself, your content, or your product? You create great awareness and a good product experience. Engagement is a combination of both style and substance that is measurable beyond the naked eye. Engagements sell.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.