Are you engaged? Despite what it may look like, we can assure you that you haven't accidentally landed on a dating site. But we thought we’d discuss engagement rates- not the rate at which you’ve received marriage proposals (which we hope isn’t too often…). We’re talking about your social media engagement rates; how engaged your audience is with the content you post online. Specifically focusing on Instagram engagement. With rates ranging from 0.1-20%, without any sort of context, you probably can’t figure if it your audiences are engaged enough or not.
What Does Engagement mean?
Engagement, is the rate at which your followers interact with your content. What percentage of your audience is actually engaged with your content, whether your audience finds your content interesting enough to interact with it; to go that extra step by “liking”, “commenting” or “sharing” your post.
A good engagement rate is considered more valuable than reach. For brands and marketers especially, engagement is suggested to be a much more accurate predictor of sales. This is completely logical, if an audience won't put in the slightest effort to “like” a post, how, are they expected to put in the extra effort of purchasing a product that may be featured in a post.
But this is where the confusion starts, what is considered to be a “good” or appropriate engagement rate. With estimates ranging from 0.1% - 20%, it all feels quite arbitrary. Though there are no “normal” or standard engagement rates, it’s possible, based on the engagement rate of others, to roughly estimate whether or not you fall within the “norm”.
How engagement is calculated on ZINE:
On ZINE Engagement, considers a) the number of "likes" you receive and b) your total reach i.e the number of followers you have. Taking into account your 15 latest Instagram posts, your engagement is calculated by estimating the average percentage of likes in relation to your number of followers.
Engagement rate is shown on your ZINE media kit as a percentage, though as it stands, whether your engagement rate is too high, too low or just right, is totally subjective, as you have nothing to compare it to. We’ve grouped over 5,000 influencers who have signed up with ZINE depending on their reach and calculated their average Instagram engagement rates.
The graph below provides some context and can act as a rough guideline to go by. Depending on what bracket you fall into based on your reach, you can figure whether your engagement is proportionate to your reach.
Updated August 17
As reach grows, engagement rates fall. Ironically smaller influencers may have a smaller reach but not necessarily a smaller influence (unless you’re Zoella who with a 6% engagement rate, is an exception to the rule). What smaller influencers lack in reach, make up for in engagement. Smaller influencers tend to focus on niche areas, leading to a more specific and focused audience. A smaller following, allows for a give-and-take kind of interaction, influencers being more in touch with their audiences as a result; influencers responding to comments, answering questions and returning the likes. Influencers with a smaller following and increased engagement rate are perceived as more trustworthy and their following, more active, authentic and loyal.
Where do you fall?
To sum up the findings, if your reach falls between 1k -10k you should aim for an engagement rate, nearing or above 4%. If your reach is between 10k-50k aim for an engagement rate of 2.40%. For anything over 100k aim for a 2.15% engagement rate.
Digiday reported similar findings, Instagrammers with under 1,000 followers were found to have a like rate of 8%, whilst Instagrammers with an audience of 1,000 to 10,000 had an engagement rate of 4.04%. Influencers with a reach of 10k-100k had an engagement rat of 2.37%.
What should you do?
It's true that influencers with a smaller reach have a greater engagement rate, but this doesn’t mean you should start deleting your followers, if your engagement rate fails to be proportionate to your reach.
Engagement rate gives away only half the story.
It’s essential that you look back at your posts, and take note of the ones that didn’t receive as much or received more attention than you would normally. Check out the content that may have been lagging or soaring in your engagement. And figure what may have caused the inconsistency.Once you recognize what sort of content your audience interacts most with, you can make decisions on what posts you should be publishing to increase your engagement.
Notice not only the content itself, but also the time and date they were published. The timing of your posts can make all the difference. Make sure you're posting your content at times your audience seems to be most engaged. Find out more about how to time your posts here.
Just like you expect your audience to engage with your content, you should spend the time to engage with them. Responding to every single comment may be a little far fetched and time consuming, but by using Instagram's new feature, to "like" a comment shows that you acknowledge and appreciate their interaction which is quite satisfying for them. Increasing the chances that they'll engage with more of your posts.
I'm head of Content at ZINE, where I use my expertise in fashion consumer psychology to empower brands and influencers in their marketing campaigns. I love to travel, bake as well as shopping online.