How to Calculate Engagement Rate in Social Media: The Definitive Guide

social media

There are many “currencies” by which to measure the success of your social media marketing efforts, but the engagement rate is arguably the most valuable.

That’s not to say that vanity metrics like impressions, likes, and followers count for nothing. Each of these is important in its own right, but engagement metrics like comments and shares are the quickest way to evaluate your social media performance. This is why these metrics are commonly used to calculate a social campaign’s ROI or as selling points by social-media influencers.

Despite all this, there’s no straightforward, standardized approach to calculating engagement rates. So, if you’ve been wondering what a good social media engagement rate is and how even to calculate it, you’re in the right place.

It’s time for some math! Be sure to take the formulas presented in this guide and hook them onto your social media marketing utility belt. But first, let’s briefly cover what an engagement rate is and why it matters.

Engagement Rate: An Introduction

We can define engagement rate as a measurement of interaction a piece of social content receives relative to other audience figures, such as reach. We can measure engagement through click-throughs, mentions, direct messages, saves, shares, comments, likes, and reactions.

What sets these engagement actions apart from other social media metrics is their dynamic nature, as opposed to views and impressions, which are inherently passive.

Since there are different ways to calculate engagement rates, we can use the different formulas to measure success related to various social media objectives. More on that below.

Why Does Engagement Rate Matter?

There are many important metrics in social media analytics.

For example, you might have a high rate of follower growth, and that’s objectively great, but you might not be making the most of it if your audience couldn’t care less about what you post. That’s where likes, shares, and comments come in. These actions prove that your content resonates with your audience.

Engagement rate measures just that — how much your content resonates with the people it’s meant to resonate with. It also shows that you have a strong and healthy relationship with your followers.

A prospect’s willingness to take some time out of their day to comment on your post shows that they’re paying attention to your content. This is a strong indicator that they might be willing to also become a loyal customer down the line.

Typical Engagement Metrics

We’ve already briefly touched upon what counts as engagement above, but here’s an extensive list of social media interactions that could be considered “engagement.” Your equations can include any or all of these metrics.

  • Likes
  • Reactions
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Direct messages
  • Saves
  • Click-throughs
  • Mentions
  • Profile visits
  • Clicks
  • Retweets
  • Replies
  • Link clicks
  • Quote tweets
  • Texts
  • Calls
  • Emails
  • Sticker taps (IG Stories)
  • Branded hashtags

5 Ways to Calculate Engagement Rate

For this section of the guide, we sat down with our friends from a prominent Florida web design company to discuss the most commonly used formulas for calculating social media engagement rates. The takeaways from that discussion are listed below.

Keep in mind that total engagement typically represents the sum of retweets, views, shares, comments, reactions, favorites, and likes. Let’s begin!

ERR (Engagement Rate by Reach)

This is the formula most commonly used to calculate content-related engagement. Simply put, it measures the percentage of people who decided to interact with your content in any way upon seeing it.

  • Engagement per post / reach per post x 100 = Total ERR

The formula above is used to calculate the ERR of a single post, while the one below calculates the average across a number of posts.

  • Total ERR / number of posts = Average ERR

Simply add up the ERRs from all the posts you’re looking to average and divide it by the number of posts.

The good thing about ERR is that it is a much more accurate measurement of engagement than follower count. This is because not all your followers will see all of your content and because non-followers may be exposed to your posts through hashtags, shares, and other means.

On the other hand, your reach can fluctuate for a wide range of reasons, which means it is difficult to control as a variable. For example, you could get a disproportionately high engagement rate simply by having a very low reach and vice versa.

ERF (Engagement Rate by Follower)

This formula is very similar to ERR, except it focuses on the rate at which your followers engage with your posts, rather than looking at the reach achieved by each one. It is designed to measure the followers’ engagement on a specific post and the average across many posts.

As you might imagine, the formula is a percentage-based equation, not unlike the one seen in the previous example:

  • Engagements on a post / followers x 100 = ERF

Once again, to get the average, all you need to do is divide the total ER on the posts you wish to average by their number.

  • Total ERF / number of posts = Average ERF

As explained above, ERR is technically a better way to calculate interactions because it considers how many people have actually seen your post rather than your number of followers. That said, the number of followers is more stable overall, which is why this formula can be a more accurate metric to compare engagement post-by-post.

That said, the formula doesn’t paint the whole picture since it has no way of accounting for viral reach. Also, your engagement rate is likely to have a downtrend as your follower count goes up, so make sure to include follower growth statistics into your analysis.

ERI (Engagement Rate by Impressions)

You could also choose to measure your engagements by another base audience metric — impressions. If reach is used to measure how many people have seen your content, impressions track how often said content appears on a screen. The formula is, again, quite similar.

  • Engagements on a post / impressions x 100 = ERI

The way to calculate the average is also unchanged compared to the previous two rates.

  • Total ERI / number of posts = Average ERI

This formula is most useful for marketers and business owners running paid content and wishing to see how effective their campaign is based on impressions.

Remember that an engagement rate based on impressions is guaranteed to be lower than either ERP or ERF. Also, similar to reach, impression figures can be highly inconsistent.

Daily ER

While each of the engagement rate metrics listed above provides a valuable resource in managing your social media campaigns, none of them offer a sense of the frequency at which your followers engage with your account.

This is where the Daily ER comes in, and here’s how to calculate both the daily total and the average across a period, where “p” stands for the period length in days.

  • Engagements in a single day / total followers x 100 = Daily ER
  • Total engagement for p / p x total followers = Average Daily ER

The formula is a great way to determine whether much of your follower base interacts with your social media accounts daily. It does not replace the three methods listed above since it includes both new and old posts.

You can also tailor the Daily ER formula for a specific use case. For example, if you’re only looking to measure daily likes or shares, you can adjust the formula accordingly. This is also true for any of the other formulas mentioned so far.

Unfortunately, the method is not without its flaws, as it leaves quite a bit of room for error. For instance, it doesn’t differentiate between a single follower engaging with your content multiple times a day vs. numerous followers each engaging with it once.

Like ERI and ERR, Daily ER is quite volatile and can vary for a wide variety of reasons, most notably the number of posts you share on a specific day. Therefore, looking at these two metrics together should give you a clearer picture.

Factored (Weighed) Engagement Rate

Marketers have also been known to use a Factored or Weighed Engagement Rate. As its name suggests, this method adds more or less significance to certain factors in the calculation.

For instance, a company may wish to place a higher value on shares of its content than likes or comments, weighing each share at a rate of 2 to 1. In that case, the weighed ERI equation would look like this:

  • ((Total shares x 2) + likes + comments) / impressions x 100 = Share-weighed ERI

Obviously, the results of such a calculation can be misleading as the selection of the weighed factor is entirely arbitrary. However, there may be situations in which such a formula could benefit your marketing efforts, so we thought we should include it on the list nonetheless.

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What Is a Good Engagement Rate?

Finally, let’s cover the topic of what constitutes a good engagement rate.

Most social media marketers agree that anything between 1% and 5% is an acceptable engagement rate and that you should expect the percentage to go down as your number of followers increases.

The reason for this is that most of your initial followers are more invested in the brand, either because they’re personal friends or simply because they feel more attached to the brand as early adopters.

As your reach expands, your core audience continues to engage with your posts, but new followers generally don’t share the same passion.

Author bio:

Tomas is a digital marketing specialist and a freelance blogger. His work is focusing on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels.

Digital Strategy One

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