What is “reach”? And does it matter… even a little?



Often at ISEBOX, during the sales process and before becoming our clients and customers, we get asked a very direct question that should have a very direct answer. One that we have yet to find a direct answer to, in the context of what we believe. The question?

“What is the reach of your service or technology?”

The number wanted here is something in the tens or hundreds of thousands, or even millions. This is a number that can be reported up-the-chain to prove that the job was done successfully. That the message, news, content, video, images, etc. had a reach of 600,000 people. Or 6,000,000. Incredible! Good job. Great work. Well done.

Wrong. Horrible. Failed.

What is reach?

The word often left out of this is potential reach. This would be the same as putting a sign in a store window on 5th Avenue, New York City, and stating that potentially every single person that walked by that day potentially saw that sign. In actuality, though, we know this number is a miniscule fraction of that. For every 1,000 people that walk by, maybe one will notice. Maybe one in 10,000 will act. Maybe on in 100,000 will convert.

Here is an example of the report often received by those publishing press releases:


Amazing! The press release was published on Yahoo! With 76 MILLION potential viewers per day! Sounds great.

But let’s break that down. That number includes every visitor – remember, your press release is published on that site. But how deep is it buried? How many actually viewed – set eyes on- your press release? And does it matter unless they take some action? Not really. Not at all, in fact.

Sometimes quantity is key. For our needs – yours, and mine – quality is critical.

Let’s look instead at verified interest. Meaning, these are folks that actually took action. Consumers, or your ideal customer, are typically not browsing latest press releases to find the newest products and services. Instead, they’re looking at the online and offline consumer publications.

What does that mean? It means you only need a small handful of those publications to actually reach millions – millions of people that could actually buy your products.

Using forward-thinking platforms that measure direct impact instead of lofty vague numbers is important. Otherwise you’re using a spoon to do the work of a shovel.

Here is an ISEBOX example – L’Oreal distributed news via the ISEBOX Content Platform. The numbers aren’t in the millions. Not even thousands. But with a few key downloads, not only are they able to see which media outlets downloaded content, but also what they downloaded, when, and who.



This is quality that is useful. Reach, actionable, and measurable numbers. The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Hello Magazine, and so on.

Potential Reach has its place. Personally, I’m not sure what it is. But enough people depend on it enough to prove value that I’m sure somewhere it holds water. But for most of us, we need to pay the bills. A million people walking by your store window sign won’t do that.

When measuring your campaigns, look at quality. When choosing your technology stack, look for detailed results over vague “potential”.

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