You measure Instagram Engagement Rate wrong and here is why

When it comes to evaluating Instagram influencers, most marketers only use two metrics: follower counts and engagement rate (ER).

To find the follower count all you need to do is open the blogger’s Instagram account, however, with engagement rate it’s not as easy. And you should absolutely be concerned, since engagement directly correlates to the effectiveness of social marketing.

What is Engagement Rate (ER) and how to measure it?

Engagement rate is a measure of the quality of a blogger’s content. It shows how relevant and engaged their posts are.

A common engagement rate calculator formula looks like this:

Average Engagement Rate (%) Per Post = Total Engagement / Follower Counts / Number of Posts x 100

Where Total Engagement is a number of likes and comments.

It is almost impossible to do it manually and if you are comparing several influencers it can be very time-consuming. To do this calculation faster, you can use an engagement rate calculator.

The most popular are:

All of these tools look at the 12 most recent posts and count a summary of likes and comments. It’s a good metric to compare influencers or analyze your sponsored post performance, but, it’s not a real engagement rate.

Why?

Total engagement doesn’t include all of the interactions per post. We forgot about Saved — the number of unique accounts that saved blogger’s posts.

You can only find this metric on Instagram Insights, so it is possible to correctly calculate ER for your own account, only if you have a business profile.

This, however, is not all! I have to disappoint you again — you don’t calculate comments correctly either.

We are not talking about celebrities who do not engage with their audience, in fact, some of them don’t even respond to comments. Micro influencers do though, a good influencer is highly engaged and answers to almost every, if not all, comments on their post.

If your influencer is one of them, you can divide comment counts into two or calculate all external comments manually.

The bitter truth is though, that you won’t calculate ER correctly if you don’t have an access to post insights, so, you should decide which formula or calculator you should use.

Why Using an Engagement Rate Calculator is Important

Why is it important? If you want to compare bloggers or the performance of sponsored posts, you should use the same tools, metrics, and formula for them all.

Okay, you have counted ER and got a certain value, let’s say — 3%. You can calculate ER of other influencers and get data to compare them. If blogger A has an ER of 3% and blogger B — 3,5%, then blogger B is good because they have a higher ER. However, you are missing two small details:

  • 2 Instagram accounts are unreliable samples. You can compare 2 bloggers, but you can’t reach a conclusion of who is bad and who is not.
  • If you compare 2 bloggers, they should have almost the same follower count. It’s not fair to compare the ER of an influencer with 10K and 100K followers, they will have different ERs and it’s likely that the influencer with the bigger follower counts will have a lower ER.

According to this report, the average ER for a blogger with 10K is 2.28% and for a blogger with 100K is 1.55%. If you got a higher ER higher, your blogger is pretty good.

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