What You Need to Know About Engagement Rates

11.17.2014 / Posted in Articles, Measurement, Social Media

As with all digital channels, social media explodes with metrics that marketers can use to determine what works and what needs adjustment. In fact, the channel offers so much data, marketers can get lost in the weeds.

Setting measures through which to assess the success of social media efforts along defined objectives is critical to ensuring marketers focus their efforts, conserving valuable time and financial resources.

One of the most common social media metrics is customer engagement. But what does the term mean? Why should you care about it? And how do you know if or how it matters to achieving your objectives?

Defining Engagement Rates

People can engage with each social-media post in different ways. For example, on Facebook, users can like, share, and comment on posts from people and brands. Each interaction counts toward that post’s engagement rate.

Therefore, “engagement rate” measures how much users of a social medium have engaged with a post on that social medium.

Here are the ways that the most popular social media platforms measure engagement rates:

  • Facebook: Number of likes, comments, shares, clicks / Number of people who saw the post
  • Twitter: Number of replies, retweets, clicks, favorites, follows / Number of followers
  • LinkedIn: Number of likes, comments, shares, clicks / Number of impressions
  • Instagram: Number of likes, comments / Number of followers

You can use similar logic to calculate engagement rates from any other social medium, from Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+ to other niche sites.

Depending on your business and goals, you may decide to tweak some of the standard engagement-rate formulas. For example, some marketers may decide that counting clicks does not accurately reflect the type of engagement they want to measure, so they do not include this variable in calculations.

Why Should I Track Engagement Rates?

While tracking likes, retweets, and repins provides valuable insights into engagement within a specific channel, calculating each channel’s engagement rate allows you to compare in an apples-to-apples fashion across social channels so you can see what works best for your brand or company.

Benchmarking Engagement Rates

So how do you know if your engagement rate is good—or bad?

There’s no easy answer.

Average engagement rates vary by site, by industry, and by company size. For example, brands tend to see much lower engagement on Facebook and Twitter than on Instagram. The automotive industry has the highest engagement rates and telecom the lowest—at least for Facebook.

When looking at your engagement rate, look at companies in your industry that are roughly your size and have comparable activity on social media.


Ultimately, marketing efforts should achieve your stated objectives. Engagement rate is just one data point to measure social media’s effectiveness. Any assessment of engagement and any determination of how to weight it need to come with consideration of other analytics.

Further, depending on your business and your goals, you may need to give social media time to truly assess its effectiveness, which means watching trends over months and quarters—not just days and weeks.

By looking at the full picture—which requires a complement of data over time—you can determine where to adjust your marketing to ensure you achieve the best possible return on your effort. And if you need help, you know who to call.


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