Engagement rates are the currency of the social media marketing industry.
Sure, vanity metrics like followers and impressions count for something. But engagement metrics like the number of likes and comments give your social media performance perspective.
That’s why engagement rate is often used as a selling point in influencer marketing media kits, or to gauge a social campaign’s return on investment. But there are a few different ways to calculate it.
Keep reading to learn more about social media engagement rates — and use our free engagement rate calculator to find out how well your accounts are doing.
Bonus: Use our free engagement rate calculator to find out your engagement rate 4 ways fast. Calculate it on a post-by-post basis or for an entire campaign — for any social network.
What is engagement rate?
Engagement rate is a social media marketing metric that measures the amount of interaction a piece of content (or a campaign, or a whole account) gets compared to reach or followers or audience size.
When it comes to social media analytics, follower growth is important, but it doesn’t mean a lot if your audience doesn’t care about the content you post. You need comments, shares, likes and other actions that prove your content is resonating with the people who see it.
What else counts as engagement? You may choose to include all or some of these metrics when calculating your engagement rate:
mentions (tagged or untagged)
sticker taps (Instagram Stories)
“Get Directions” (Instagram account only)
use of branded hashtags
Free engagement rate calculator
Are you ready to calculate your engagement rate? Our free engagement rate calculator will help.
All you need to use this calculator is Google Sheets. Open the link, click the File tab and select Make a copy to start filling in the fields.
To calculate the engagement rate of a single post, input 1 in No. of Posts field. To calculate the engagement rate of several posts, input the total number of posts in No. of Posts.
6 engagement rate formulas
These are the most common formulas you’ll need to calculate engagement rates on social media.
1. Engagement rate by reach (ERR): most common
This formula is the most common way to calculate engagement with social media content.
ERR measures the percentage of people who chose to interact with your content after seeing it.
Use the first formula for a single post, and the second one to calculate the average rate across multiple posts.
ERR = total number of engagements per post / reach per post * 100
To determine the average, add up the all the ERRs from the posts you want to average, and divide by number of posts:
Average ERR = Total ERR / Total posts
In other words: Post 1 (3.4%) + Post 2 (3.5%) / 2 = 3.45%
Pros: Reach can be a more accurate measurement than follower count since not all your followers will see all your content. And non-followers may have been exposed to your posts through shares, hashtags, and other means.
Cons: Reach can fluctuate for a variety of reasons, making it a different variable to control. A very low reach can lead to a disproportionately high engagement rate, and vice versa, so be sure to keep this in mind.
2. Engagement rate by posts (ER post): best for specific posts
Technically, this formula measures engagements by followers on a specific post. In other words, it’s similar to ERR, except instead of reach it tells you the rate at which followers engage with your content.
Most social media influencers calculate their average engagement rate this way.
ER post = Total engagements on a post / Total followers *100
To calculate the average, add up all the ER posts you want to average, and divide by number of posts:
Average ER by post = Total ER by post / Total posts
Example: Post 1 (4.0%) + Post 2 (3.0%) / 2 = 3.5%
Pros: While ERR is a better way to gauge interactions based on how many people have seen your post, this formula replaces reach with followers, which is generally a more stable metric.
In other words, if your reach fluctuates often, use this method for a more accurate measure of post-by-post engagement.
Cons: As mentioned, while this may be a more unwavering way to track engagements on posts, it doesn’t necessarily provide the full picture since it doesn’t account for viral reach. And, as your follower count goes up, your rate of engagement could drop off a little.
Make sure to view this stat alongside follower growth analytics.
3. Engagement rate by impressions (ER impressions): best for paid content
Another base audience metric you could choose to measure engagements by is impressions. While reach measures how many people see your content, impressions track how often that content appears on a screen.
ER impressions = Total engagements on a post / Total impressions *100
Average ER impressions = Total ER impressions / Total posts
Pros: This formula can be useful if you’re running paid content and need to evaluate effectiveness based on impressions.
Cons: An engagement rate equation that uses the number of impressions as the base is bound to be lower than ERR and ER post equations. Like reach, impression figures can also be inconsistent. It may be a good idea to use this method in conjunction with reach.
Read more about the difference between reach and impressions.
4. Daily engagement rate (Daily ER): best for long-term analysis
While engagement rate by reach measures engagement against maximum exposure, it’s still good to have a sense of how often your followers are engaging with your account on a daily basis.
Daily ER = Total engagements in a day / Total followers *100
Average Daily ER = Total engagements for X days / (X days *followers) *100
Pros: This formula is a good way to gauge how often your followers interact with your account on a daily basis, rather than how they interact with a specific post. As a result, it takes engagements on new and old posts into equation.
This formula can also be tailored for specific use cases. For instance, if your brand only wants to measure daily comments, you can adjust “total engagements” accordingly.
Cons: There’s a fair amount of room for error with this method. For instance, the formula doesn’t account for the fact that the same follower may engage 10 times in a day, versus 10 followers engaging once.
Daily engagements can also vary for a number of reasons, including how many posts you share. For that reason it may be worthwhile to plot daily engagement versus number of posts.
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5. Engagement rate by views (ER views): best for video
If video is a primary vertical for your brand, you’ll likely want to know how many people choose to engage with your videos after watching them.
ER view = Total engagements on video post / Total video views *100
Average ER view = Total ER view / Total posts
Pros: If one of your video’s objectives is to generate engagement, this can be a good way to track it.
Cons: View tallies often include repeat views from a single user (non-unique views). While that viewer may watch the video multiple times, they may not necessarily engage multiple times.
6. Cost per engagement (best for measuring influencer engagement rates)
Another useful equation to add to your social media toolbox is cost per engagement (CPE). If you’ve chosen to sponsor content and engagement is a key objective, you’ll want to know how much that investment is paying off.
CPE = Total amount spent / Total engagements
Most social media ad platforms will make this calculation for you, along with other object-oriented calculations, such as cost-per-click. Make sure to check which interactions count as engagements, so you can be sure you’re comparing apples to apples.
How to calculate engagement rate automatically
If you’re tired of calculating your engagement rate manually, or you’re simply not a math person (hi!), you might want to consider using a social media management tool like Hootsuite. It allows you to analyze your social media engagement across social networks from a high level and get as detailed as you want with customized reports.
Here’s an example of what looking at your engagement data in Hootsuite looks like:
Besides showing you your overall post engagement rate, you can also see what types of posts get the highest engagement (so you can make more of those in the future), and even how many people visited your website.
In Hootsuite reports, it’s super easy to see how many engagements you got over a period of time, what is being counted as an engagement for each network, and compare your engagement rates to previous time periods.
Pro tip: You can schedule these reports to be created automatically and remind yourself to check in as often as you want.
A great bonus is that with Hootsuite, you get to see when your audience is most likely to engage with your posts — and schedule your content accordingly.
What is a good engagement rate?
Most social media marketing experts agree that a good engagement rate is between 1% to 5%. The more followers you have, the harder it is to achieve. Hootsuite’s own social media team reported an average Instagram engagement rate of 4.59% in 2022 with 177k followers.
Now that you know how to track your brand’s social media engagement, read up on how to boost your engagement rate.
Use Hootsuite to track and improve engagement rates across all your social media channels. Try it free today.
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