Updated: Jun 30
Your Brand is looking for the perfect Influencers for your next campaign, and you’re tasked with finding the best ones based on something called engagement rate. Cool, sounds easy enough. The only thing is, there are several ways to calculate engagement rates and you need to know the right one for your Brand. We’ve got three easy formulas to help you navigate the best way to calculate your Influencers’ engagement rates.
What Is Engagement?
The first question you might have is what exactly counts as engagement? On Instagram, metrics to look at are: follower count, likes, comments, and sometimes saves. For other platforms like Youtube, views and subscribers would be the equivalent. For the sake of simplicity and demonstration, we’ll be referencing engagement on Instagram specifically for this blog post.
Why You Need An Accurate Read On Engagement Rates
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but the best thing to go off of when making safe and investment-worthy decisions about working with Influencers is their engagement rate. It’s vital to know it before AND during campaigns. You need to know they already have an engaged audience before you activate them for a marketing campaign, you need to be able to measure how they are doing during the campaign so that you can determine whether or not they’re a good choice to work with again based on the way their audience is responding.
When you are tracking the engagement levels during your campaign think about the campaign goals and the level of impact you’re expecting in terms of ROI (return on investment). Are you running an awareness campaign or a conversion campaign? Keep the goal of the campaign in mind when determining which formula you should use to calculate engagement rates. If you are stuck on this step and not sure what the difference is, you can pop over to this post to get some clarity on this.
The “Right” Engagement Metrics To Use
If your main objective is to drive awareness, the engagement that’s significant to you might be that which you can measure against competitors in your space to get a read on market share and brand recognition. To play that scenario out further, let’s say you have a natural deodorant line and want to get the word out about your new company, so you decide to activate Influencers as a part of your marketing strategy. You pick content creators based off of the active engagements on their other branded posts and posts in which they are tagging a company they’re affiliated with. Since this is an exercise in getting the word out (awareness campaign) and you need to test that against your competitors, you may want to use publicly available data like likes, comments, and follower count. These three factors are easy to compare across all industries and types of Instagram accounts (personal, creator, or business).
If you were running a conversion campaign, you might want to consider calculating your engagement differently to account for more factors. You might be working with multiple Influencers and need to think about how they rank in terms of converting people into customers. In the case of a conversion campaign, you would likely be more concerned with the CPA (cost per acquisition), or the number of people each activated influencer was able to turn into a customer through their content. The social proof of their capability to do that would be the engagement rate that includes likes, comments, and impressions, but not necessarily followers. Why? Because we know that content (especially on Instagram and Facebook) does not reach 100% of someone’s followers and it therefore makes more sense to base the percentage of people who engaged with a post on the number of actual impressions. Impressions are the number of people who are confirmed to have seen the content. Whether they decided to engage with it or not is what you’ll want to find out when you are reporting the engagement during the campaign.
You might be thinking… wait, we’re missing something in this calculation. How can we tell what true engagement is? Take into account another form of engagement: saves. There is some debate on whether to count “saves” as a form of engagement. Our position on this is that saves absolutely count as an engagement for two reasons. Firstly, saving something shows an added level of interest in the content, such that someone actively thought about coming back to it again. Secondly, it signifies deeper brand affinity. Whether or not someone actually comes back to the content they saved again to take an action (as opposed to taking an action right when they saw it), it’s useful data for your Brand. The last thing I’ll say about saves before I get too far off on a tangent is that having the data on the number of saves also indicates the type of content people resonate with most, which can be super powerful to harness for future marketing and branding efforts.
Does the Platform Matter?
As we briefly touched on before, there are different relevant forms of engagement to look at depending on the platform in question. The capabilities of certain social media platforms will guide you in different directions when it comes to what analytics should be accounted for as “engagements”. It’s also important to note the REASONS people go on and use each platform when thinking about how important various engagement indicators might be. It’s no secret that we all use different platforms for different purposes. Some we use like a search engine when we are looking for solutions or answers to our questions (Youtube, Pinterest), and some we use with much less intention and require scroll-stopping content to get our attention (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). For this reason, engagement that’s useful for your tracking and reporting may vary.
Tools We Love That Calculate Engagement
Of course, this blog post wouldn’t be complete without a list of our favorite tools that help us calculate engagement for Influencers (on Instagram specifically). We’re all about our systems here at The Influencer Grapevine and feel that using a tool to calculate engagement is not only more time-efficient but also gives you a level of consistency across the board that improves accuracy of your campaign reports. Some of the systems we love are free and easy Google Chrome plug-ins, whereas some are paid services that are more in-depth (but super worth it). We recommend checking out:
Still Need Help?
Now you have your FREE DOWNLOAD of the top 3 formulas to use for calculating engagement rates, and the tools we love to make that process easier. If you still have questions and need some more expert advice or information on how to best use these engagement calculations for your next campaign, don’t worry. We’re here to help and would love to answer any questions you have. Head right here to tell us a little more about your Brand and what you need help with!
About the Author
Katherine Pereda is the Founder and CEO of The Influencer Grapevine based in South Florida. Her clientele list ranges from luxury houses such as Gucci, Roberto Coin, Acqua di Parma, Vacheron Constantin, Jitrois Paris, Cartier LatAm, and Jimmy Choo to beauty, home design, consumer goods, fashion, lifestyle, and wellness companies like Maisons Du Monde, Olay, 9 Elements, Joy + Glee, Azuca CBD, Tampax + Always PURE, Home Made Simple by Procter & Gamble, MintedLeaf CBD, and Agnes & Dora.
Katherine has also worked extensively in experiential marketing for WantedDesign, New York Fashion Week, DesignMiami/, Glossier, Create & Cultivate, Miami Swim Week, Funksion Fashion Week, and Art Basel Miami. Now specializing in talent management, campaign ideation, and execution, she helps Influencers and brands from all over the world gain exposure, connections, and collaborations to build lifelong relationships.
Looking for Social Media Tips? Check out:
How-To Incorporate Influencers Into Your Marketing Strategy (11-Page Guide)
The Ultimate Email Template to Pitch to Influencers
How to Calculate Influencers’ Engagement Rate (free guide)
Want to keep in touch?
Come say Hi 👋🏽on Instagram!
Apply for a free discovery call to get guidance on your next Influencer campaign
Have a general question? Let’s connect.