How to Calculate Engagement Rate for Social Media Marketing | Origami Logic

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of posts on “The Marketer’s Guide to Measuring Social Media Marketing Engagement.” The first post was entitled, “.”

In the second post in this series, “,” different types of social media engagement metrics were introduced – conversation, applause, amplification, and consumption. These are all “volume metrics”; they measure the counts of engagement activity. In turn, volume metrics can be used to measure a couple other important metrics: engagement rate and cost per engagement. More specifically:

The first step in choosing KPIs for your measurement strategy is to separate organic and viral activity from paid activity. Since paid promotions greatly impact the engagement and reach of a post, combining paid activity with organic and viral engagement can produce misleading results. There are also differences in what metrics are chosen based on the type of media used. For example, engagement rate is useful mostly for organic media and viral media, while cost per engagement applies only to paid media.

Both engagement volume and cost per engagement are must-have’s for paid media measurement. Since there are diminishing returns with increasing spend, it is possible to either get a very high engagement volume by targeting a broad audience (high volume but low efficiency) or a high engagement rate by targeting a very specific audience on a small scale (high efficiency but low volume). This means that it is always necessary to report on both engagement volume and cost per engagement in order to get a complete view of paid media performance.

On the other hand, the choice of organic and viral KPIs depends on your strategy and objectives. For example, engagement volume is useful for quantifying results of marketing efforts and linking to business impact, while engagement rate can be a measure of directional success and how much the social media efforts are resonating with the audience. When in doubt, it is best to measure both volume and rate but it may be acceptable to report on just one depending on your objectives and how engagement rate is defined.

How to Calculate Engagement Rate

Engagement rate is calculated as engagement volume divided by some base volume:

There are three types of base volume metrics in social media: followers, reach, and impressions. These metrics represent the following:

The choice of base metric changes the meaning of the resulting engagement rate:

The table below details the three possible engagement rate calculations, along with benefits, drawbacks, and use cases for each.

Having chosen the KPIs aligned to your needs, the next step in establishing a standardized measurement framework is to determine how to categorize the results and maximize the relevance of the insights generated. This will be the topic of the next post in the series.

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