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We hate to be that digital marketing agency, but the answer is: it’s complicated. Determining whether reach or engagement is better for your business is like asking what’s better- delicious cake or mouth-watering ice cream? Most of us would love to have both, but what if you had to focus on just one? Well, here’s how to choose your content desserts.

Reach And Engagement: Clarifying The Terms

Unlike many marketing terms, reach and engagement are pretty straightforward. Personally, we like Adweek’s concise definitions:

Reach: the number of people who see your content.

Engagement: the number of interactions people have with your content (i.e.: likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc.)”

Ideally, you’d want to maximize reach and engagement as much as possible. Both metrics have discernible, powerful rewards for businesses, such as:

  • Increased sales
  • Brand loyalty
  • Visibility

Unfortunately, strategies for increasing reach differ from those for boosting engagement. Unless you’re a giant marketing firm that can compartmentalize well, you’ll need to pick a goal and stick with it. So how do you know whether reach or engagement is best for your business?

Reach Vs. Engagement- Which Should You Focus On?

Focusing on reach is recommended when you’re brand new to digital content marketing and haven’t acquired a sizeable audience yet. While having high engagement is awesome, it doesn’t do you much good if your audience solely consists of family and friends.

To increase reach, you’re just trying to get as many eyes as possible on your content. The more people you reach, the more likely you are to attract new followers. While many marketers and business owners think the key to reach is “viral” content, we want to warn you from sliding down that slippery slope.

According to Phil Mckenna of New Scientist, the phenomenon of virality is a random act. If your marketing team unveils a plan built upon creating “viral” content, you’re relying entirely on chance for your strategy to succeed. Instead, increase your chances of success by:

It may seem like nothing but tedious work (and it can be), but you’re actually more likely to create a piece of viral content if you adhere to those guidelines. People want to share high-value content, and the more you put out there the easier it is for you to grow an audience.

Once you’ve built a sizeable following for your business, it’s time to turn your attention towards engagement. Instead of focusing on sheer metrics and numbers, you’re now trying to establish a relationship with your customer and encourage them to take action.

You’re no longer trying to make content that appeals to as many people as possible. Instead, try to create content that resonates with your target audience and encourages them engage with it through:

  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Likes
  • CTA clickthroughs

What’s considered significant engagement differs from business to business, and from content to content. While you may want nothing more than likes and comments on your latest company vlog, your product review video should entice customers to purchase from you.

Whether reach or engagement is your goal, remember to track metrics and analyze data. Without having the numbers readily available and easily understandable, you’ll be lost as to whether your strategy is working and where you need to improve.

If you’re interested in expanding your content’s reach, promoting your brand’s engagement, or just discussing the comparative merits of reach vs. engagement, get in touch. We believe storytelling is at the heart of content marketing, and the key to maximizing both reach and engagement.

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