Twitter Metrics Defined: Engagement

Twitter Metrics Defined: Engagement Kevin Shively Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

View our Full Guide to Twitter Analytics

Twitter Engagement is an important KPI for social media marketers. In an industry that pairs web activity and bottomline ROI with brand awareness and overall market penetration, engagement can be one of the best ways to demonstrate success and brand activity.

Engagement equals @replies plus retweets plus mentions

What Does Engagement Mean to You?

Engagement on Twitter accounts for every way fans can interact with your brand to make it show up in their timeline. It incorporates one-on-one conversations, as well as promotion to their circle of influence. This interaction is what makes Twitter such a powerful tool. Brands of all sizes have the ability to converse with fans, respond to their questions, and promote their message in real-time.

The fans that you’re engaging present several opportunities; They can act as advocates for your company, provide feedback on products or services, purchase products, and help you better understand your customers. Understanding how your brand engages fans on Twitter is the first step to learning, developing and growing your Twitter marketing campaigns.

How is Engagement Calculated?

Chart of Jet Blue's Twitter engagement over time

Engagement is the sum total of three components during the given report period:

@Replies: When a fan sends a Tweet directly by using your brand handle at the beginning of the Tweet. This will only show up in your feed, and the feeds of users who follow you both. Example: “@SimplyMeasured Your Reports Rock!

Retweets: When a fan directly shares your brand message with their audience. Example: “RT @SimplyMeasured: We’ve made some great updates to our Twitter Account Report. Check it out!”

Mentions: When a user includes your brand hand, but not as a direct @Reply. Example: “I really love that @SimplyMeasured charts are dynamic within Excel!”

View our Full Guide to Twitter Analytics

Kevin Shively

Kevin Shively

As Sr. Content Marketing Manager, editor of the Simply Measured blog, cohost of the #SimplySocial podcast, and generally delightful person, my job is to tell stories to the internet...You're welcome internet.

  • Omkar Mishra

    Can click throughs to your own site via Twitter be also calculated as an engagement action?? It is the intent of the user to be directed to the website to be able to find out more..

    • Kevin Shively

      Great question Omkar. I think calling click-through an engagement is 100% fair, and any definition has to make sense for your specific business. We leave it of this engagement definition because we’re talking about “Twitter Engagement” as it relates to Twitter tactics. Click-through involves different tactics, in that it’s not meant to promote conversation within the Twitter ecosystem.

      That said, click-through is absolutely an “engagement” of sorts, so you make a great point. We’ll talk more about that when we cover conversion metrics.Thanks for sharing!

      • Omkar Mishra

        Thanks..Looking forward to it..:)

      • Kartek

        sort of similar to FB, where some ppl just click through whereas a higher level of engagement is the commentary(comments and shares)

  • Ana


    How to measure hashtags?


    • kartek

      check out, it is free for overall monitoring…simplymeasured also has hashtag monitoring capabilities

  • Lauren Murray

    Wouldn’t a “Favorite” count as engagement too? The user interacted directly with the message you Tweeted out. The Twitter “Favorite” is becoming akin to the Facebook “Like” in a lot of circles…

    • tracysestili

      I think “favoriting” is debatable. I often favorite items to remember to go back and read them later. Kind of like a bookmark. Some favorite tweets to show they ‘like’ something. So not sure it truly counts as engagement. But if it links back to your website or gets me to RT it then that’s true engagement.

  • Roger Stone

    Great way to measure engagement with your tweets but it depends on the content of the tweet how much engagement you are getting with your brand or product. If you tweet about someone else’s interesting content, you may be retweeted and get some appreciation for pointing it out, but it carries less weight than a mention saying you are awesome or a direct reply from someone interested in your company.

    How do you measure the engagement that best builds relationships with prospects?

  • Malhar Barai

    Great Post Kevin!! Looking forward to more

  • Sarah Ahmed

    This is great – surprising how many don’t know about the fundamentals of defining engagement, when it is such an important metric for brands on social media.

    Did you hear about the partnership between Buffer App and Followerwonk that allows you to optimise the times that tweets are scheduled? The results so far for that have been very positive for engagement, 200% more retweets and clickthroughs: