The Engagement Rate: we weigh in on the industry's most talked about measurement method

Influencer Marketing Engagement Rate Social Media

Engagement rates. You’ve probably heard or read about the use of them in your influencer marketing or social media strategy. It’s the metric that allows you to determine how many people have interacted with a post, indicating how well it’s been received.

However, there’s a lot of ambiguous and contradicting information when referring to engagement rates. In our experience, we’ve found some industry folk aren’t very transparent when talking about engagement rates and often don’t explain the calculations behind them.

This would explain why you’ve maybe come across an influencer marketing campaign that resulted in a 6% engagement rate and another campaign reported an engagement rate of 36%. Agencies and brands are working these numbers out using different methods.

Case in point, we recently came across an article, where an agency claimed that one of their influencers had an engagement rate of over 200%, which is practically impossible.

So, we thought we’d set the record straight and run over the insightful and useful metric.

First thing’s first Engagement Rate (ER%) should always be calculated as engagement (likes, comments, shares, retweets) over the number of impressions. This is industry standard and a way you can calculate engagement on any campaign, from your performance ads right through to your influencer marketing partnerships.

Once you have the engagements and impressions for your influencer campaign you can start to benchmark against posts and pull insights based on the content, caption or even the colour of the posts to help optimise future posts. Our benchmark when running a campaign is to hit an engagement rate of somewhere between 7-10%.

But let’s take one step back. When trying to determine a solid benchmark for an influencer you want to partner with, you often don’t have access to their impressions to be able to calculate this. What is the best way to help measure this, we hear you cry?

We devised another type of ER calculation to help us do this, we call it Engagement per Followers (EF%) rate. This is the ideal measurement method when researching influencers to potentially collaborate with, as we can figure out how engaging they are with their audience.
Consequently, you can then broadly assess how the influencer will contribute to the campaign and objectives.

EF%, can also be an indicator of foul play on the influencers part, as it can be a big red flag as to whether an influencer has bought engagement or followers--currently a huge talking point in the industry.

If their engagement per followers number is too low, this could be an indication of fake followers. On the other hand, if that number is too high it could indicate potential fake engagement.

We believe that both of these different engagement rate metrics should be used when evaluating influencers and the results of an entire campaign. We implore anyone reading about engagement rates to be wary of how the author or agency is presenting the figure and question the number if it seems to high or low.