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Are you engaging? Engagement rates explained

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Last editedMay 20212 min read

To be engaging is all that any brand can hope for but measuring that engagement was not always easy in the past. But in the digital age, your engagement rate is not only a legitimate metric that can be used to gauge the customer engagement generated by your content, but a way to track the level of interaction you have with your audience.

What is an engagement rate?

An engagement rate is the level of engagement generated by brand campaigns and general content. Generally speaking, engagement rate is calculated as the total number of engagements divided by your number of followers and then usually multiplied by 100 to give a percentage. 

What constitutes an engagement will depend on the platform and can be altered by the individual, so it’s a pretty flexible metric. An engagement rate on Instagram, for example, is often measured by compiling the total number of comments and likes. This metric provides a far more accurate representation of how your content is performing than just looking at the number of followers, and it’s one that all businesses should be using.

The benefits of an engagement rate

Absolute figures will only ever give you a surface level insight into how your business is actually performing. Engagement is the best way to understand not only the level of audience interest and interaction, but the quality of your content in the eyes of the people you’re trying to reach. An engagement rate can reveal that it’s not always the brands with the most followers that are necessarily getting the most business. 

A company could have millions of followers on social media, but if only a tiny fraction of them actually engage with the brand, using the total followers as a metric for success could lead the company to make poor decisions. The engagement rate tracks how many of those followers are “active”, giving you a much more useable and realistic figure to work with.

Are there any drawbacks to using an engagement rate?

The only drawback is that an engagement rate won’t be able to tell you which interactions are more important or relevant than others. For example, while a “share” on social media might be far more valuable than a “like”, the engagement rate tracks all engagements as equal, which is not going to be a realistic reflection most of the time. The metric can be customised to account for this, but you will end up with multiple figures to work from.

What does a good engagement rate look like?

This is going to depend largely on your business, its goals and your mission statement because the engagement rate is never going to be the same for everyone. For businesses that operate on big ticket items and services, a lower engagement rate can always be expected. A business selling used cars, for example, should expect a lower engagement rate than a business selling toothpaste.

The best way to decipher your ideal engagement rate is to benchmark your business against  those that operate in the same industry. However, you should remember to only measure your own results against the results they were getting at a similar stage of their lifecycle, otherwise you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment.

For some context and to keep your expectations suitably measured, the average engagement rate on Facebook is around 0.09%. On Instagram, it currently sits at around 0.18% and on Twitter, it’s at around 0.045%. These are overall averages, though, so if you want a more accurate litmus test you should be measuring against the results for your specific industry or niche.

We can help

If you’re interested in learning more about how to increase your engagement rate and how it relates to company spending then get in touch with our financial experts today. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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