Definition: Engagement Rate [ER]


Engagement Rate (or ER) is the percentage of people who saw a piece of content or ad and engaged with it.

For example, if one person interacted once with an ad after it has had 100 ad impressions, that will give you an ER of 1%.

 

Index

 


 

What does Engagement Rate mean?

An engagement is any interaction with content. For example, engagements on a video typically include:

  • Pressing Play
  • Clicking through to another page
  • Making the video fullscreen
  • Unmuting

As well as ‘negative’ or neutral interactions such as pausing the video, muting a video, resizing the screen, or changing the volume.

Engagement is mainly used as a social media metric but is also used with traditional online advertising.

Engagement Rate defines how much, given the chance, users are engaging with ads. It is a helpful measure to gauge users interest in ads, as it shows that users have noticed the ad.

Although this is a very small win for advertisers, it is an important step in building a relationship with a user. A higher ER means that people are more interested in a piece of content – or at the very least they have noticed it more often.

Note: Looking at the number of measurable engagements alone is not as useful as the ER. This is because different amounts of impressions give different numbers of opportunities for engagement.

 

 


 

Engagement Rate Example

ER tells you how content with equal opportunities can perform. Consider this example:

Ad ONE seen 1,000 times and engaged with 30 times.
Ad TWO  – seen 10,000 times and engaged with 275 times.

As you can see Ad TWO has had far more engagements than Ad ONE. However, it has also had ten times more opportunities for engagements.

If you multiply Ad ONE‘s engagements by 10 (so both ads had an equal opportunity for engagements) then it would have had 300 engagements.

This shows why it isn’t fair to judge ads simply by engagements. Therefore you can use ER to compare pieces of content that have different amounts of impressions.

Instead of doing some complicated maths to equalise the number of impressions, you can simply divide the engagements by the impressions to get the ER. In this case, we would get:

Ad ONE seen 1,000 times and engaged with 30 times. ER = 3%
Ad TWO  – seen 10,000 times and engaged with 275 times. ER = 2.75%

 


 

Engagement Rate Formula

As this metric can be used for either ads or content, the type of impressions used in the equation below just means the view.

This metric is occasionally used as the percentage of engagements per user, in which case you would just replace impressions with users in the below equation.

 

Engagement Rate Equation or FormulaClick to enlarge

Engagement Rate = Engagements x 100 ÷ Impressions

 


 

Top Tip

If the only way of engaging with an ad is by clicking on it, then the CTR is effectively the ER.

 


 

Different Types of Engagement Rate

If you want to compare ER across platforms, I would recommend sticking with engagements ÷ impressions. However, platforms do not all necessarily all use this formula. Most notably:

  • Facebook uses Engaged Users instead of engagements. This means they are measuring how many people are engaged by a post, rather than how engaging it is. The difference is so they can have posts that are interesting to lots of people, rather than very interesting to a few. Facebook also makes it very hard to work out this metric yourself. See our Facebook ER Calculator for how to find the numbers yourself.
  • Instagram doesn’t publicly use an ER. This has led to different 3rd party platforms coming up with different ways of measuring it – which can be very confusing. Find out about the most common ways to measure Instagram Engagement Rate here.

On top of this, different platforms measure impressions in different ways. Twitter, for example, wants you to feel like your Tweets have reach so they measure when your Tweets appear in someone’s feed (even if they never come on screen). This has the effect of lowering your Twitter ER.

LinkedIn on the other hand wants posts to feel effective, so they only measure impressions when they are at least 50% on screen for over 300 milliseconds. This is a more honest form of impression, but it also has the effect of raising your LinkedIn ER.

Every platform is slightly odd like this, so when comparing ER results should be taken with a pinch of salt.

 


 

7 Things To Know About Engagement Rate

  1. Engagement Rate shows you:
    1. How often people are engaging with content
    2. How fast people are engaging with content
    3. Which content is most interesting
    4. Which content is being noticed the most
  2. TikTok has the highest ER of any social network BY FAR (It’s estimated to be at around 50% overall)
  3. ER is a better metric than just Engagements. For example, you would expect more engagements from a post with 1 million views than one 1,000 views but that doesn’t mean it’s more engaging.
  4. Facebook calculates its ER differently from all other social networks, and Instagram doesn’t even acknowledge it as a metric.
  5. Each platform considers different things to count as engagements. If you are buying engagements, make sure you know what is included.
  6. Platforms can increase ER by counting more things as an engagement. This is why some platforms include ‘negative’ engagements (such as muting a video) as an engagement. Find out how each social network counts engagement here.
  7. Platforms can increase ER by counting fewer impressions. This is why some platforms only count impressions when they are on screen for a period of time.

 


 

Other names for Engagement Rate (synonyms)

  • ER
  • Interaction Rate
  • Website Engagement Rate

 


 

Summary

Engagement Rate Definition

 


 

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