Engagement: A Comprehensive Guide

Engagement: A Comprehensive Guide

Marketing and...mathematics. **Yikes** thinks every creator with a look of sheer horror on their face as they slowly move their cursor towards the close screen button. True, these two terms are not normally paired together, and to be honest, as marketers, we don’t really want them to be, #amirite? I mean, let’s be real, isn’t that kind of the whole reason we majored in marketing and not finance or t-log? Be that as it may, in the real world, statistical analysis and interpretation are two key skills in developing a successful social media strategy because numbers and trends reveal the effectiveness of your marketing tactics. There are many metrics that can be monitored, but arguably the most important is your engagement rate.

According to Sprout Social:

"Engagement rate is the metric that tracks how actively involved your audience is with your content. Engaged consumers interact with brands through comments, “likes,” and social sharing. The engagement rate is a metric often used to analyze the efficacy of brand campaigns. People who spend time interacting with videos, updates and blogs are more likely to convert into paying customers." 

Below are examples of what engagement looks like across the various platforms:

  • Vessel: MER and CER.

  • Website: scroll depth, time spent on page, page views, bounce rate, shares, conversions.

  • Instagram: likes, comments, bookmarks.

  • Facebook: reactions, clicks, comments, shares.

  • Twitter: retweets, comments, likes.

  • LinkedIn: interactions, clicks, followers gained, impressions.

  • Pinterest: likes, comments, pins

  • Email campaigns: open-rates, click-through rates.

Monitoring your engagement rate will help you to determine how compelling your marketing strategies are with your target audience. A lack of engaged followers may indicate that you need to reorient your messaging, tone of voice, or media channel.

Engagement Formulas

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Engagement Rate by Reach (ERR) 

  • ERR is the most common metric used to quantify engagement.

  • Measures the percentage of people who interacted with your content after seeing it.

  • Use the ERR formula for a single post, and the Average ERR formula to calculate the average rate across multiple posts.

Engagement Rate by Post (ERP)

  • ERP measures engagements by followers on a specific post.

  • It is similar to ERR, except instead of reach (which can include non-followers) it tells you the rate at which followers engage with your content.

  • Most social media influencers calculate their average engagement rate this way.

  • View this stat alongside follower growth analytics.

Engagement Rate by Impressions (ERI) 

  • While ERR measures how many people see your content, ERI tracks how often that content appears on a screen.

Engagement Rate by Views (ERV)

  • ERV measures how many people engage with your videos after viewing them.

Daily Engagement Rate (DER)

  • This metric measures how often your followers engage with your account on a daily basis.

  • This formula can be tailored for specific uses. For instance, if your brand wants to exclusively measure daily comments as opposed to likes, shares, et cetera (or some combination thereof), you can adjust “Total Engmts.” accordingly.

Factored Engagement Rate 

  • This calculation adds more or less weight to certain factors in the equation. For example, you may wish to place a higher value on comments versus likes, weighting each comment as two versus one. The subsequent equation would look like this:

    • Comments = [(Total Comments*2) + (All Other Engmts.) / (Reach Per Post)]*100


Cost Per Engagement (CPE)

  • If you sponsor content and engagement is a key objective, this metric will reveal how profitable or unprofitable your investment is.

Engagement Benchmarks and Tips by Platform

Once you have your engagement rate, you can begin to analyze and determine whether it is suitable to your goals and objectives. Below are platform standards to help you benchmark your results as well as tips on how to improve your engagement rate:

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Beyond Engagement

Undoubtedly, engagement is a metric you can count on to provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your content strategy. However, like any metric, it should not be viewed in a vacuum. Balance your engagement insights with information provided by other metrics, such as user demographics and habits, session frequency and length, retention rate, conversion rate, screen flow, and many more. Combining these insights will allow you to understand your users in a more holistic way.

Additionally, using engagement insights to improve your marketing efforts means understanding the systems behind the most popular social media platforms, as well as the ways in which people interact with those systems. We have come a long way since the days of Mad Men where creatives like Don Draper would essentially lean on their own biases and guess at the marketing techniques that might work; today, we know what works. Due to advances in technology, almost everything is quantifiable, which means almost everything is trackable and predictable, which means data is the analytical North Star to creating compelling content for both the present and the future.

All in all, mathematics doesn't have to be viewed negatively. They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. I say when life forces you to be analytical, copy and paste all available information into beautifully designed, eye-catching graphics and rely on the calculator to do the rest! So, to all the marketers and creators everywhere, may this comprehensive guide on engagement bless you and keep you forever and ever. Amen. 

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Sources: All The Different Ways to Calculate Engagement RateWhat is a Good Engagement Rate on Instagram?What is a Good Engagement Rate on Twitter?Facebook Engagement MetricsEngagement Rate