Influencer marketing is far more than sending free products and encouraging social media influencers to create beautiful posts. That’s great and all, but what really matters is whether you’re truly getting results from your influencer marketing spend.
That’s where engagement rate calculations come in. It’s through these calculations, and other metrics, that you’ll determine whether your investment has truly been worthwhile.
In this article, we’ll give you the down-low about engagement rates — what they are, why they matter, and how to calculate them.
What Does Engagement Rate Mean in Reference to Social Media?
Engagement rate is a measure of how social media followers interact with an influencer or brand’s content. It’s often used as the baseline metric for assessing whether an influencer partnership is worth pursuing.
Why Is It Important To Track Engagement?
There are several reasons why you should keep a close watch on the social media engagement rates for the influencers you choose to collaborate with:
Follower count alone can be misleading.
The number of followers an influencer has can be misleading. Influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers could barely be reaching their audiences. But the only way to know for certain is to look closely at their average engagement rates. That’s the telltale sign of whether people are actually enjoying their content.
There are a lot of fake influencers out there who will buy followers and do whatever they can to attract big-ticket influencer marketing campaigns. Typically, fake influencers have high follower counts but unusually low engagement rates when compared to benchmarks for the industry and type of influencer. Influencer fraud is very real and it was projected to cost brands $1.3 billion in 2019. Yikes!
Engagement can be weighted against reach or impressions instead of just followers.
There are multiple ways to measure engagement, but one of the most useful and revealing measurements weighs key engagement metrics against impressions — not followers. This is an important point to note because impressions show how many people have seen the post. Engagement rate measured against impressions means that out of all the people who saw the content, x% chose to engage with it in some way.
As previously mentioned, follower count can be misleading. An Instagram influencer with 100,000 followers can have a mixture of real followers, fake followers, and highly unengaged followers. Impressions carry more weight. So, using multiple engagement rate calculations is the best approach to get a true picture of engagement.
You can make a better assessment of your influencer marketing strategy’s success.
Engagement rate is one of many factors that can be used to assess the success of your influencer marketing strategy. Your aim is to partner with influencers who produce high-quality content that leads to high engagement rates. This is particularly useful if your campaign goal is to increase brand awareness.
But don’t forget that engagement rates are just one piece of the puzzle. The success of your influencer marketing strategy should also be measured against internal benchmarks and goals set by your team.
How Do You Use Engagement Rate?
Engagement rate can be used as both a prescriptive and decision-making metric. Your brand can use it in the prescriptive sense to better plan content that appeals to your social media followers across LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and whatever other social media platforms you use. Your aim here is to boost social media engagement.
But you can also use engagement rate to choose the right influencers for your marketing campaigns. When you do choose influencers, you can monitor the engagement rates for the posts they publish for your brand to determine whether they have an active audience. The more active the audience, the more likely it is that they’ll respond positively to your campaign. Essentially, you’re using engagement rates to measure influencer marketing performance.
Again, be careful. There are fake influencers who will pay people to engage with their posts just to improve their engagement rates — they know how to cheat the system. So, don’t depend solely on the influencer’s engagement rates to make your decisions.
What Are Common Engagement Metrics?
You may have heard the term “vanity metrics” thrown around. There are often heated discussions in the marketing arena about the true value of social media metrics that aren’t directly linked to revenue. Metrics such as likes and other reactions (depending on the platform) would fall into this bucket.
It’s fair to say that a simple reaction to a post shouldn’t be considered when calculating engagement rate. But these reactions are important for giving posts more visibility, especially in the “eyes” of social media algorithms, which is why they can’t be ruled out entirely. Instead, they should be assessed along with these other common engagement metrics:
- Link clicks
- Profile visits
- Use of branded hashtags
Some of these metrics are more difficult to monitor than others and all of them can’t be included in the engagement rate calculations. We’ll discuss how to calculate engagement rate later in this article.
What Is Considered a Good Engagement Rate?
This is a tricky question to answer because a good engagement rate depends on the industry and type of influencer. For instance, influencers with a small group of followers (nano- and micro-influencers) would have higher engagement rates than mega-influencers and celebrities. More followers = lower engagement.
Regardless, RivalIQ suggests that the average Instagram engagement rate across all industries changes depending on the industry. They suggest that the average engagement rate for Instagram influencers is 1.18%.
That leads to another important point. Benchmark engagement rates will differ across social media platforms. According to Aamplify, the average engagement rate for LinkedIn is 2%. Alex from Content Cal believes that a good engagement rate for Facebook is between 1% and 2%. Twitter users have similar engagement rates.
5 Effective Ways To Calculate Engagement Rates
What you’re really looking at when doing your calculations is an influencer’s average engagement rate. As a general rule of thumb, use 12 to 15 recent posts to determine the average in each instance. Below, we discuss five of the most common ways to calculate this average.
1) Engagement Rate by Reach (ERR)
This metric measures the number of people who choose to interact with your post in some way after seeing it.
Reach is different from impressions. Impressions tell you how many times content was displayed regardless of clicks. Reach tells you how many people actually saw your content. Both metrics can reveal a lot about engagement. We’ll discuss engagement rate by impressions later in this article. For now, let’s look at how to calculate ERR.
First, remember that you’re calculating the average ERR. So, start by calculating the ERR for 12 to 15 posts using the following formula for each post:
ERR = [(Likes + comments + shares) / Reach] x 100
Then, calculate the average of those figures using this formula:
Average ERR = Sum of all ERRs / The total number of posts
Note: Reach is one of those metrics that can vary greatly for multiple reasons. As a result, it is an unreliable metric. Also, low reach can produce a high engagement rate and, therefore, can be misleading. This is why you should use more than one type of engagement rate calculation to make the best assessment possible.
When to use this formula
If your primary goal is expanding your customer base it makes sense to use engagement rate by reach, because reach focuses on the number of people who see your post.
2) Engagement Rate by Posts (ER Posts)
This is one of the most common engagement rate calculations because it’s easy to get the data needed. All you’re doing here is dividing total post engagements by the number of followers to get the account’s engagement rate.
ER Posts = [(Likes + comments + shares) / Total number of followers] x 100
Average ER Posts = Sum of all ER Posts / Total number of followers
When to use this formula
Because this calculation takes an account’s number of followers into consideration, it’s a bit more stable than ERR so it’s best to use this formula if the account’s reach fluctuates.
3) Engagement Rate by Impressions (ER Impressions)
Like reach, impressions can be volatile. It’s always best to use this engagement rate calculation along with others, and it’s often best used for sponsored posts in your influencer marketing strategy.
ER Impressions = [(Likes + comments + shares) / Total number of impressions] x 100
Average ER Impressions = Sum of all ER Impressions / Total number of impressions
When to use this formula
Engagement rate by impressions is especially valuable if you need to evaluate the success of a paid content campaign based on how many people have seen it. If the goal is to get views, regardless of reach, then it’s a good idea to keep an eye on ER impressions.
4) Daily Engagement Rate (Daily ER)
This metric paints a clearer picture of how often followers engage with a social media account on a daily basis. You can also use this metric for the specific types of engagement that you want to track (likes, comments, or shares) each day.
Daily ER = (Total engagements in a day / Total number of followers) x 100
Average Daily ER = (Total engagements over a given number of days) / (Given number of days x number of followers)
When to use this formula
Daily engagement rate is ideal for gauging how often followers interact with an account on a daily basis, rather than how they’re engaging with a specific post. This formula can also be customized to a degree, so if your brand is only interested in measuring the number of comments an influencer’s account gets daily, you can use that number in place of “total engagements” in the formula. This makes it a good multi-purpose metric to give you good, broad data with a single formula.
5) Engagement Rate by Views (ER Views)
Brands use this metric because video content is a major part of their marketing efforts. Think YouTube videos, IGTV, and other forms of video-heavy content.
ER View = (Total engagements on a video post / Total video views) x 100
Average ER Views = Sum of all ER views / Total video posts
When to use this formula
Engagement rate by views is a great way to track whether or not your video content is getting engagement. However, it often counts multiple views by one person as new views, so keep this in mind as it may skew your data somewhat.
Brands Turn to Popular Pays for the Content and Influencers Who Spark Engagement
We’ve discussed some of the most common engagement rate formulas. The biggest lesson we want you to take away from this article is that you can’t use these formulae in isolation. They should be used collectively to help you get a true sense of an influencer’s performance. You can even use these formulas to measure the performance of your brand’s social media profiles so that you can strive to improve engagement across your branded accounts as well.
Popular Pays helps brands like yours connect with influencers who already have a relationship with your audience. If you’re ready to leverage influencers’ audience engagement as a part of your influencer marketing strategy, get started today with Popular Pays!