Facebook Metrics Defined: Engagement Rate

Facebook Metrics Defined: Engagement Rate Nate Smitha Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

Each week, we break down a different Facebook metric, discussing why it’s important, how it’s calculated, and what it means for your business. Find the full collection HERE, and also check out our Twitter Metrics Series.

Engagement Rate is a metric that marketers use to measure brands’ effectiveness at engaging their audiences, and recently Facebook announced that it will be introducing Engagement Rate in its updated Insights Tool.

Engagement Rate is used to compare engagement performance not only on a brand’s post but also across Facebook posts from brands with different audience sizes. However, the Engagement Rate metric within Facebook Insights is a post metric available only to Page Admins.

This results in some slightly different ways to calculate “Engagement Rate” and a different use case for each. By connecting to insights, brands can benchmark post performance with deeper levels of engagement. The other option allows you to compare engagement levels across posts from multiple Facebook pages.

How Engagement Rate is Calculated:

Engagement Rate is designed to measure what share of your audience engaged with your content.

Calculating Engagement Rate For Your Posts with Insight Data:

 Engagement rate equals people who liked, commented, shared, or clicked on your post or people who say your post

Facebook Insights data provides in-depth unique user totals for engagement actions on your posts, as well as post Reach. This allows the owner of a page to calculate engagement rate based on more than likes, shares, and comments.

Calculating Engagement Rate For Posts without Insight Data:

 Engagement rate equals total engagement (Likes plus comments plus shares) divided by total fans

When calculating Engagement Rate for Competitors, you don’t have access to their Facebook Insights data, but can still draw meaningful insights by looking at engagement relative to total fans. This method of calculating Engagement Rate can also be used to measure page Engagement Rate for your competitors, since it does not require page insights data.

This calculation for Engagement Rate can also be referred to as Engagement as a % of Total Fans. To draw meaningful conclusions, make sure that when comparing competitor engagement rates, you use this calculation for your brand as well.

This is also a quicker, simpler way to calculate engagement rate, so it may be easier to focus on when contextual focus needs to be elsewhere.

What Does Engagement Rate Mean to You?

Engagement Rate on individual posts is also a valuable metric for comparing the quality of content that you post to your page. It gives you a way to compare engagement between two posts that reached a different number of users.

Knowing what share of your audience actually engages with content can indicate the quality of your audience as you grow fans over time.

Bar chart of Facebook Competitive Analysis Engagement Rate

When performing competitive analysis, Engagement Rate allows you to compare engagement on your page with pages that have different audience sizes. Comparing your Engagement Rate to that of your competitors can provide insights about the quality of your audience, and the your content effectiveness compared to others in your industry.

Want to learn more about Facebook metrics? Download our Complete Guide to Analytics on Facebook.

Download the complete guide to Facebook Analytics

Nate Smitha

Nate Smitha

I'm a Marketing Manager at Simply Measured. It's my job to deliver content in a way that engages and informs social media professionals. My areas of expertise are marketing automation, conversion and social media analytics.

  • Ben

    Great article! One of the reasons why I love SimplyMeasured is the fact that, unlike most social tools, it actually calculates engagement rate accurately – out of reach.

    One issue, though, is engagement out of fanbase, which is what you’re using to calculate “engagement rate for pages”. This is mainly because if you use ‘total fans’ as your denominator you’re assuming that only your fans and the fans of your competitors engaged with the page – which we know isn’t true. Additionally, taking engagement as only likes, comments and shares means you’re missing out on the other actions that might not create a Facebook story BUT still count, such as a click through, or tagging, or clicking on the embedded content (e.g. picture, video). I wrote more about it here [http://brnrd.me/engagement-rate-out-of-fanbase-or-out-of-reach/] but I love the openness you have about how you calculate your metrics – not a lot of social brands do that, so kudos to SimplyMeasured! :)

    • http://opinionsandaholes.tumblr.com/ schmogel

      Another consideration is Facebook’s own admission that not all fans see a post. wouldn’t engagement rate be better calculated based on the total that ‘saw the page’ – I would back down and agree to opportunity to see if Facebook hadn’t come out and stated that not all fans are served the content so they don’t have the opportunity to see without additional paid promotion. Thoughts?

      • Ben

        I agree @schmogel:disqus – as I wrote in my article [http://brnrd.me/engagement-rate-out-of-fanbase-or-out-of-reach/], I prefer calculating the engagement rate out of reach, as using the total number of fans as a denominator in this case can give us an inaccurate figure, especially since not all of them actually had the chance to engage with it (because only a percentage of them were ‘reached’ by your content).

  • seventhman

    I like the look of the new Facebook insights, looks simpler than before. I’ve been wondering how engagement rate is calculated so thanks for sharing this post. Should you be focusing more on engagement vs. reach when it comes to what’s the best time to post on Facebook?

  • Hassan Salman Dita

    what is the best average of engagement rate?

  • Lisa

    I think FB counts admin’s likes, clicks, comments etc. I don’t think it is an accurate reflection. I have added more comments or edited them and saw my engagement rates skyrocket even though I only have 2 people who have seen my post.

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      The reach counter is sometimes bugged. On another day you might see a different reach. Indeed admin’s likes and clicks are included, but that also shows that you shouldn’t be doing those things to artificially affect the number of likes and clicks. Having said that, these metrics only matter when your numbers are big enough – that means your likes and clicks will be insignificant to the total number

  • Orlee Berlove

    When you note the engagement rate for a page, you write that one takes the total number of likes, clicks and shares and divides by number of fans. My question is what time span do you use for the total number of likes, clicks and shares? Do you measure it as the total number of l, c and s from one month to another?

    • nsmitha

      Hi Orlee,
      Engagement rate is a metric that can be calculated for any period of time whether it’s a week, month, etc. For engagement rate to mean something for your brand, you should definitely observe how it changes over time. Comparing page engagement rate month over month is ideal, since you typically have enough data for a good sample.

  • wero777

    What about other variables like “photo views” I mean it’s engagement not being considered on this Social Bakers formula, on the other hand can it be healthier to meassure daily and then have the month average?

  • joe

    can you see who views your profile ( facebook )

  • lucy Smith

    This is mainly because if you use ‘total fans’ as your denominator you’re assuming that only your fans and the fans of your competitors engaged with the page – which we know isn’t true. Casquette Obey