English: the engagement rate of the communicated content
French: taux d'engagement du contenu communiqué
Portuguese: taxa de interacção com o conteúdo comunicado
Czech: míra zapojení uživatelů sociálních sítí do komunikovaného obsahu
What is its purpose?
This indicator shows the extent to which people engaged with the communicated content (for example, through reactions, shares, comments, clicks, or saves). It is one of the most valuable social media indicators, as it underlines people’s interest in what is communicated. Higher engagement also creates a wider reach, as social media displays the content to more people.
How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data
Determine the indicator's value by using the following methodology:
1) Decide what social media content you need to measure. Engagement is usually measured for specific posts, but it can also be measured across an entire social media campaign.
2) There is no set definition of what “engagement” includes – for example, some campaigns might include only reactions such as likes. At the same time, others will also include shares, comments, and other forms of engagement offered by the given social media platform (see the document below for more examples). Therefore, you need to decide on what counts as ‘engagement’. Including more forms of engagement will give you a fuller picture of how much people have reacted to the communicated content.
3) If the chosen social media channel can automatically calculate the ‘Engagement Rate by Reach’ (in line with what was defined as ‘engagement’ in step 2), use this function. If not, follow steps 4 and 5 below.
4) Use an online search engine to find the most up-to-date, official guidance on counting the types of engagement you decided to include (see step 2). Follow the provided guidance to calculate how often people engaged with the communicated content.
5) To determine the indicator’s value, use the following steps:
- sum up all the engagements calculated in step 4 (e.g. number of likes + number of shares + number of comments, etc.)
- divide it by the reach of the content for which you measured engagement
- multiply the result by 100 to convert it into a percentage
- the resulting percentage is the Engagement Rate by Reach (see the document below for other types of engagement rates)
Disaggregate the data by social media channels and other factors relevant to the focus of your social media campaign.
1) Compared to just counting likes and other engagements over a given period, measuring the actual engagement rate is a more accurate way of knowing how relevant the communicated content is to what people are interested in.
2) Resources focusing on for-profit marketing suggest a good engagement rate is between 1% to 5%. This might differ depending on what social media you use and what content you communicate. However, if you run a longer-term campaign (or a series of campaigns), what matters the most is that the engagement rate gradually rises, as that shows that you are increasingly able to communicate content that the target audience values.
3) The standard calculations of engagement rates put together actions with a different degree of importance – for example, “likes” have the same weight as “shares”, even though shares indicate a higher level of engagement. As a result, a post with many likes but few comments or shares might have a higher engagement rate than a post with fewer likes but many instances of deeper engagement (shares, comments, clicks, saves, etc.). Therefore, if you want to get more precise insights, consider using the so-called “weighted” (sometimes also called “factored”) engagement rate, where a different weight is given to different actions. For example, 1 score for each like, 2 scores for each comment, 3 scores for clicking on a provided link, 5 scores for sharing the post, etc. The sum of these scores is then divided by the reach of the measured social media content. Keep in mind that since you assigned a score higher than 1 to some actions, the engagement rate percentage will be much higher than the rates calculated by the standard methods. Therefore, avoid any comparisons between the standard and weighted engagement rates.
4) Remember that high engagement is not necessarily a positive. If your content attracts many negative reactions, you might have a high engagement rate, which may hurt your campaign. Therefore, consider whether you want to disaggregate how much of the engagement was positive (likes, love, care, congratulations, positive comments, shares, etc.) and how much was negative (anger, negative comments, etc.).
5) The engagement rate can be increased by prioritizing content that encourages shares, comments, and other response forms.
Access Additional Guidance
- Hootsuite (2022) Engagement Rate Calculator (.pdf)