Engagement Rate Formula: What Is It And How To Calculate It?

The engagement formula in Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or any social network, is the rate of response of users to the different stimuli of a brand through social networks.

To calculate the engagement formula, we have to take into account the scope and interaction of users and forget about critical mass, fans, followers and other stuff.

After several errors, we have stumbled on the metric that accurately determines the interaction of users before the activity and social exposure of a brand in social networks: The Engagement Formula.

I still think that engagement is an intangible, something that depends on more variables than interaction, such as passion, the degree of identification or the feeling of belonging to the values or culture of a brand.

Now, from an analytical point of view, we can establish a formula of engagement, a ratio to quantify the responses of users to the stimuli of a brand in social media.

Extracting this engagement formula is what tools such as SocialBakers, SimplyMeasured or WiseMetrics have tried. But their calculations were wrong. Let’s see why.

1. First Engagement Formula: Socialbakers And Simplymeasured

For several years, the most widespread engagement formula has been the one published by SocialBakers in March 2012.

The SimplyMeasured team also took this formula as valid to externally calculate the degree of interaction of our competitors’ fans, as it was easily calculable without access to their social profiles.

Engagement Rate Formula What Is It And How To Calculate It2

Why Isn’t This Engagement Formula Valid?

  • The number of Fans or Followers cannot be a variable. If in calculating this engagement formula we take into account the number of interactions with respect to the number of followers at a given time, what happens to the interactions of users who do not follow the brand?
  • The formula does not take into account the scope. What happens to those followers of the brand who for some reason do not see the contents?

    Today we know that the average reach in Facebook barely exceeds 21% of average per publication and in the case of Twitter does not even reach 12%.

    If we were to transfer this formula to ecommerce, it would be like calculating a % conversion based on the number of users who know the brand, instead of calculating it taking into account the number of users who have visited the website.

  • The most basic interaction is the click. This calculation does not take into account the clicks received, something that precedes any other interaction.

    The click is the most primary response in social media, we cannot overlook it to measure engagement.

2. Second Engagement Formula: Wisemetrics

The company WiseMetrics went a step further in July 2012 by publishing an engagement formula in which the scope was finally accommodated:

Engagement Rate Formula What Is It And How To Calculate It

It looks like we were on the right track. We were trying to calculate the volume of interactions based on users exposed to seeing some brand publication. But something was still wrong with the engagement formula.

After using this engagement formula for months in different reports, we were beginning to appreciate that the ratios that this calculation showed were still very low even for companies in which we achieved a considerable volume of interaction depending on the people who saw the publications of the brand.

In addition to the click rate, something was still missing.

Why Isn’t This Engagement Formula Valid Either?

By dividing the total number of interactions by the number of publications in a given period we were unwittingly getting an average interaction per publication.

The problem is that if we divide an average by an absolute term, such as the total reach of a period, the results are blurred. Let’s see:

Engagement Rate Formula What Is It And How To Calculate It

To fix this, it was enough to calculate an average range per publication before making the division.

Engagement Rate Formula What Is It And How To Calculate It

3. And This Is The Most Exact Engagement Formula:

Engagement Rate Formula What Is It And How To Calculate It

In this way, we can know: Of the total number of users who are exposed to seeing a content or a stimulus from a brand, what percentage of users did something with it.

Why Is This The Most Exact Engagement Formula?

1. It is valid for all social networks in which we can know the scope. Recently I read in a Hootsuite report something that I miss quite a bit: “Each social network offers different engagement variables, so each one will be measured differently”.

This is nonsense, if you can not calculate the same in all networks, it does not work.

2. It is the closest calculation to the CTR and starts from the same premise:

Engagement Rate Formula What Is It And How To Calculate It

3. It is the calculation closest to the conversion rate and has the same logic:

Engagement Rate Formula What Is It And How To Calculate It

The Concept Of Interaction Is The Most Important Thing.

In order to be able to integrate in social media the engagement calculated in the same way as the CTR and the CONVERSION, I think it is crucial to define what we understand as interaction:

  • Simple Interactions. They will depend on each social network, we speak for example of Likes, Shares, Favorites, Retweets, etc…
  • Follow-Up Interactions. We are talking about including the I like page or the Twitter Follows in the total of interactions, since they are still user responses to brand stimuli in social media. Why have we excluded them from the interaction?
  • Address Interactions. Following this pattern, it would be essential to also include the number of clicks received in links to published content.
  • Reproduction Interactions. Reproductions of videos uploaded directly to Facebook or other channels such as Vimeo or You Tube would enter.
  • Communication Interactions. All those private messages received by the brand. For some reason, they are also sometimes overlooked. Let’s use them.

How Can We Calculate Engagement On Facebook And Twitter?

Engagement Rate Formula What Is It And How To Calculate It

Engagement Rate Formula What Is It And How To Calculate It

However, just because we know how to determine a percentage of engagement does not mean that we know how to drive, feed or maintain it. That’s another battle.

But let’s remember that:

“TO GET ENGAGEMENT YOU HAVE TO THINK LIKE A HUMAN BEING, NOT LIKE A MARKETING PROFESSIONAL”.

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