Instagram is not just one of the leading platforms in social commerce, it is also the most popular social channel among consumers under 40. Calculating your engagement rate on Instagram can help you know just how effective your social media strategy is.
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Today, there are several different approaches to calculating your engagement rate. And depending on what you are trying to achieve with your Instagram account, you’ll need to figure out the best approach that meets your goals.
It’s critical to note that if you’re using a social media management tool, it may already have a set algorithm for calculating your engagement. That being said, it never hurts to understand what engagement is and how certain engagements on your IG posts impact your overall marketing ROI.
Why Engagement Matters
Instagram post and video engagement helps you determine how well connected you are to your audience. While your engagement rate does not guarantee ROI for your brand, it can help you in several ways, such as:
- Measure social media growth over time
- Improve posting frequency
- Improve posting quality (using the right kind of posts the best way possible)
- Forecast web traffic originating from your Instagram account
- Refine your paid Instagram strategy
- Identify the right influencers to partner with your brand
How do you calculate engagement on Instagram?
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What do you need to calculate engagement metrics on Instagram?
Many of the techniques we will show you can be done with a pen and paper as you take a look at each post. But calculating engagement will be much easier if you access Instagram Insights and record metrics into a spreadsheet.
To use Instagram Insights, you’ll need to convert your IG account into a professional account (Creator or Business). It only takes a few clicks and is free.
Depending on how many social media accounts and influencers you manage, it might be a better use of resources to invest in an automation platform. These tools can consolidate your metrics and calculate engagement automatically across all verticals.
When searching for the best social media automation tools, we recommend G2.com, a customer review platform for leading software solutions. Each of the brands listed on the following G2 pages can help you calculate social media engagement and streamline your social media strategy:
Organic Vs Paid Engagement
You can track engagement on both your organic and paid Instagram posts. That said, organic (non-sponsored) post engagement usually signals greater brand affinity and a higher earned media value.
Still, paid posts can help you extend your reach, increase your followers, and ultimately contribute to the total number of engagements.
Are engagements and interactions the same thing in Instagram?
Yes, Instagram refers to engagements formally as interactions. This terminology is essential if you are tracking your post performance through Instagram Insights.
The most common engagements/interactions are likes, comments, and shares. But each post type may have its own additional opportunities for users to interact with your content.
What is considered a “good” or average Instagram post engagement rate?
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It’s difficult to answer this question directly. However, it is usually harder to maintain a higher engagement as you grow your fan base (IG followers). Many creators view a 2% engagement rate as the line between “good” and “bad,” but there are many scenarios where a 2% engagement rate is remarkably low or unrealistic.
For your brand and marketing team, a good engagement rate is one that is growing and/or consistent. As you increase your Instagram activity and track how engagement contributes to your marketing funnel, you will quickly identify what your target engagement rate should be.
Ways to Calculate Engagement on Your Instagram Posts
Comparing Follower Count to Total Interactions
The most common way to manually track your Instagram engagement rate is to compare your post interactions against your follower count.
Engagement Rate = Total # of Post Engagements / # of Followers
Comparing Reach to Views
Instagram Insights will show you to your total reach, as well as post and profile views.
It’s important to note that many of your posts show up in Instagram Discovery. As such, there could be thousands of non-followers viewing and interacting with your posts.
Your total reach includes anyone who saw that you posted. Views indicate that a user took the time to look at your post more closely (such as watching your IG Reel or Story). Calculating your engagement rate from this point of view looks like:
Engagement Rate = Views / Reach
Comparing Views to Interactions
You may want to track engagement a bit more closely beyond a view. To do this, simply compare your engagements (interactions) to the total number of views.
Engagement Rate = Interactions / Views
Comparing Vanity Metrics to Meaningful Engagements
Vanity metrics are likes and follower counts. These engagements take very little commitment or thought – hence the name. However, vanity metrics aren’t worthless. These numbers can give you a baseline of follower sentiment and size.
Nevertheless, your “money” engagements will be those demonstrating that a fan took their interaction to the next level by making a comment, sharing your post, remixing a Reel, tagging your brand, and more.
To track how your vanity metrics contribute to your “money” engagements, use one of the following formulas below:
Engagement Rate = # of Comments, Shares, etc. / Total Post Likes
Engagement Rate = Total Account Comments, Shares, etc. / Total Followers
Tracking Link Clicks
If you’re using your Instagram account to drive website traffic, there are two main ways to do so:
- Adding a link to your account bio
- To a webpage
- To an email address
- Utilizing the Swipe Up feature in Stories
- The Story Swipe Up feature is reserved for accounts that have at least 10,000 followers.
You can also add links to your post descriptions and comments. However, IG will not hyperlink those links. Users will have to copy/paste the URL into their browser. The same is true for post comments.
With the help of Google Tag Manager (or marketing automation tool), you can add UTMs to links you share on Instagram to track link clicks. If you can track these clicks, then you can add those clicks to your meaningful engagements.
Weighted Engagement Rate
Each of the formulas above can help you examine how authentic and effective your current Instagram strategy is. Additionally, you can run these calculations by hand or with a simple spreadsheet formula.
Depending on how proficient you are with spreadsheets, you may want to identify which interactions or engagements are priority for your Instagram account, social media strategy, and overall marketing goals. Prioritizing your engagement types allows you to weight them in your custom engagement rate calculator.
If you choose this route, it’s important to program engagements by effectiveness rather than by what makes your brand look better. The key to social media success is not flattery, but authenticity and improvement.
Calculating Engagement by Post Type
Each IG post category generally attracts certain kinds of engagements. Or, they may have their own selection of interactions not available among other post types. Let’s take a closer look at what engagements look like for each IG post.
For a typical Instagram post, your engagements are:
- Saves (bookmarked posts for easy retrieval)
For IG Stories, you can track the same interactions as listed above, plus views and sticker reponses (such as the polling feature).
- Sticker responses
- Swipe Ups (for accounts with at least 10,000 followers)
For your short-form videos, you can follow Reel engagements by tracking the following metrics.
For videos of at least one minute in length, you can track IGTV engagements by following:
When going Live on Instagram, interactions will look much the same way as they do for IG Stories and IGTV. If you (or someone on your team) can keep up with viewer comments during your event, then you can significantly increase engagement for your IG Live events.
One of the newest Instagram features is the IG Guide. Currently, there is no way to track performance for your Guides, but Instagram may be adding engagement metrics soon.
That said, your Guides can increase engagement on the posts and links that you include in your list.
When running Instagram ads, your chief engagement metric will be ad and/or link clicks.
Instagram Interactions Not Specific to a Post
There are a number of other engagements that some marketers forget to include when calculating their overall engagement rate. Those interactions include:
- Link clicks from profile bio
- Tags (brand mentions)
- Branded hashtags
- Direct messages (DMs)
Ways to Enhance Your Instagram Post Engagement
If you’re like most social media marketers, you’re always looking for ways to increase engagement on your Instagram posts. Here are a few tried-and-true strategies to increase your reach and interactions on Instagram.
Use relevant tags and hashtags.
Mentioning other profiles and adding popular hashtags can increase your post exposure and generate more engagement. When using tags and hashtags, be sure to keep them relevant to your post.
Provide expert advice or guidance.
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One of the most popular types of posts on social media are those that inform or show users how to do something. FAQ Reels, infographics, and IGTV tutorials are just a few examples of how to increase engagement on Instagram.
Partner with influencers.
“Creators have their fingers on the pulse of what’s working on social media, because they are doing it day in and day out.” – Justin Moore, Ohthatsgoodnews Gets Real Podcast
Instagram influencers can connect with consumers in a way that most brands can’t. Furthermore, influencers are highly skilled at leveraging Instagram posts and features to generate meaningful engagement on behalf of your brand.
If you haven’t already done so, consider partnering with influencers to generate brand awareness and/or increase conversions. Or, you can even outsource your social media content strategy to influencers altogether.
Ask for feedback from your followers.
Many great Instagram posts ask followers and fans to contribute their own thoughts on a particular topic or image. IG Stories also allow you to poll your audience.
When going Live on Instagram, some of the best UGC are fans commenting with answers to questions that you throw out to viewers. Also, you can build contests around asking for and receiving feedback from your audience.
Repurpose top-performing content from other channels.
If you are tracking high-performing content on other channels, you can promote that content on your Instagram, as well. This tactic works especially well when partnering with influencers.
In any influencer campaign, it’s always a good idea to get the rights to that influencer content so that you can repurpose it into branded posts and paid ads. Not only are these posts more authentic, but they will also save you money on production costs.
Produce content consistently and experiment with different types of content on Instagram.
Without a doubt, the surest ways to increase your Instagram engagement is to post consistently with a healthy variety of post types. In many ways, it would be more important to master a single channel (like Instagram) and all its features than it would be to try to post on every social channel.
As you post regularly and increase your proficiency with Instagram posts, you will notice a steady rise in followers and engagements.
Social media is one of the best ways to raise awareness for your brand, nurture audiences, and convert customers. The brands that see the greatest success on Instagram are the ones that have a clear understanding of their marketing funnel and then align their Instagram strategy with their buyers’ journey.
When it comes to calculating engagement, knowing how your Instagram audience contributes to your marketing funnel is key. It may be that certain Instagram interactions have a greater impact on your bottom line than others. The only way to know for sure is to track your engagements and match those engagements to the key stages in your marketing funnel.