Definition: Facebook Engagement Rate

Facebook Engagement Rate Versus Standard Engagement Rate

Engagement rate, in general, is calculated as the number of engagements divided by the number of times a piece of content was seen (all multiplied by 100 to turn it into a percentage).

The point of this measure is to work how likely content is to be engaged with every time it’s seen.

Facebook, however, takes a slightly different approach. Instead of engagements divided by views (times 100), it’s the number of people who engaged with a piece of content divided by the number of people who saw that content (all multiplied by 100 to turn it into a percentage).

To put it simply, the way Facebook measures engagement shows how likely a person is to interact with a piece of content.

What this does is make engagement rate about people instead of content. While the measure that most people/companies use is helpful if you want to make better content, the measure Facebook uses is helpful if you want to show people content they are interested in.



Facebook Engagement Rate Formula

The Facebook engagement rate equation is:

Facebook Engagement Rate FormulaClick to enlarge

Facebook Engagement Rate = (Engaged Users x 100) ÷ Total Reach


What it looks like

If you’re more visual –

What it looks like: Engagement Rate


How Does It Work?

Imagine a cat video is seen by 100 people ten times each (so it is viewed 1,000 times in total).

20 of those people love the cat video. It never gets old to them, and every single time it comes up in their feed they interact in some way 5 times on average each (by reacting, commenting on it, clicking on the link, or sharing it).

80 of these people don’t interact with it at all (maybe they’re dog people).

The total number of engagements is 20 people x 10 views x 5 engagements = 1,000 engagements.

With the standard Engagement Rate formula, this would come out as 1000 engagements divided by 1000 views (multiplied by 100 to make it percentage) = 100%

A 100% engagement rate! This would tell the owner of the video that whenever they posted it, that every single view of the video would on average get one engagement. This video would be considered a ridiculous runaway success.

However, with the Facebook Engagement Rate, this would come out as 20 engaged people divided by 100 people who saw it (multiple by 100 to make it a percentage) = 20%.

While a 20% engagement rate is still reasonable, it tells the content owner that most people don’t like the video and that for every five people who see it, only one will engage with it.

Both of these assessments are true, however, they also both only tell part of the story. The video in this example did create a crazy amount of engagement, even if only 20% of people actually engaged.


Where Do I Get These Numbers?

Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t make it easy for you to find this information. If you click on a post to get the stats, it will tell you the total amount of engagements, not the total number of engaged people. If you use these stats, you will get a different (higher) engagement rate than the one Facebook uses.


Engagements vs Engaged Users

You can find the Total Reach of a post by clicking on the stats for an individual post on your page (where it says ‘x people reached’). However, this mini-report shows you the number of engagements the post had – rather than the number of engaged users.

On Facebook, any positive interaction with a post or ad counts as an engagement. This includes reactions, shares, comments, and clicks (on links, videos and images). They don’t include negative interactions such as hiding or reporting posts, or unfollowing pages, however.

If you look at the engagements stat for a post you will see all of these counted up, regardless of whether one user did them all or not. Engaged users, on the other hand, counts the number of users who engaged with the post at all – not how much they engaged.

Facebook is the only social network that uses engaged users rather than engagements to calculate engagement rate. This means they are measuring posts to see whether lots of people find them interesting, rather than some people finding them deeply interesting.

If you want to compare your engagement rate across social networks, you should use engagements to do this. If you want to see how well you are doing on Facebook, you should use the same metric that they use – which is engaged users.


How Do I Find The Facebook Engagement Rate?

To see what Facebook says is the Engagement Rate for posts you have to go to the Facebook Insights page. Once there, you change the filter on the Posts section. To do this:

1. Go to your page on Facebook

2. Click ‘Insights’ in the left-hand side menu.


The location of the Facebook Insights button is show in the left hand menu of your Facebook page


3. On the Insights page, click on ‘Posts’ in the left-hand side menu.


The location of the Posts button is show in the left hand menu of your Facebook Insights page


4. On the Posts page, scroll down to the ‘All Posts Published’ section and open the drop-down menu at the end of the row above the posts (to the right of ‘Reactions, comments & shares’).


Facebook Insights - All posts published dropdown button


5. Choose the last option on the list – ‘Engagement Rate’


Engagement Rate filter in Facebook


6. The engagement column will now show the Facebook Engagement Rate next to each post.


The engagement column in Facebook Insights showing engagement rates


Where do I find ‘Engaged Users’, and ‘Total Reach’?

The only place you can find your Engaged Users stats is in a report which you download from Facebook as a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet contains lots of other stats too, including your Total Reach. To download the Facebook Insights Posts Report:

1. Go to your page on Facebook

2. Click ‘Insights’ in the left-hand side menu


The location of the Facebook Insights button is show in the left hand menu of your Facebook page


3. Click ‘Export Data’ in the top right of the ‘Page summary’ box


Facebook Insights - Export Data Button


4. In the box that pops up there are three things to do:

  1. Choose ‘Post Data’ from the pop-up
  2. Choose a date range of the posts you’re interested in
    (Note: This is to choose posts, not engagements. The number of engagements and total reach will cover the whole lifetime of the posts regardless of the date range chosen here).
  3. Click ‘Export Data’ in the bottom right of this popup


The options to choose in the Facebook Insights Export Data box


5. Once you click the ‘Export Data’ button your download will start. It can take a few minutes.

6. The file you download will be an XLS (an excel spreadsheet). For some reason, this always comes up with an error box when you try to open it, but these files are safe to open.


This warning comes up when you try to open your exported Facebook Insights data

I don’t know why this warning comes up, but it has done for years for everyone I’ve asked about it. It’s always been safe to open this file in my experience.


7. In the spreadsheet that gets downloaded, there will be a very large amount of data. Look for the columns titled ‘Lifetime Post Total Reach’ (which should be column I) and ‘Lifetime Engaged Users’ (which should be column O). Both are on the “Key Metrics” tab, and you will have to scroll across to find them.

Note: If you boosted a post and want to split the paid reach from the organic reach, there are columns for those too.


Facebook Insights - Export - Lifetime Post Total Reach

Facebook Insights - Export - Lifetime Engaged Users


8. Use the data from this spreadsheet to work out your Facebook Engagement Rate using the above calculator. Either do it post by post, or sum up the columns and calculate it for the entire date range.


Top Tip

If you want to save yourself a small amount of time, you can:

Create a custom layout for Facebook reports

As we said above, there is a ton of data in these reports. To make a report with just what you want in it, you can make a ‘custom layout’.

To make a custom Facebook Insights report:

  1. Follow the steps above, but before Step 6…
  2. Click ‘Choose a layout’ in the bottom right of the overlay
    Facebook Insight Report custom layout menu
  3. Choose ‘Make new custom layout’ from the menu that comes up
    Make new custom layout
  4. Add a ‘Sheet separator’ (this is just Facebook’s awkward way of saying you have to make a tab in the spreadsheet to keep the data on). You can call it whatever you want.
    Custom Layout Sheet Separator
  5. Give your report a name for future use by filling in the “Name for your preset” field in the bottom right (you can call it whatever you like, but make sure it’s something you remember).
    Naming a Facebook custom layout
  6. Use the search bar at the top of the overlay to search for the fields ‘Lifetime Post Total Reach’ and ‘Lifetime Engaged Users’. When they come up, tick the boxes to select them.
    Search Field Facebook Custom Report
  7. Click ‘Apply’ in the bottom right of the overlay to create this report.
    Apply button
  8. When you go back to the main overlay, click ‘Export Data’ in the bottom right
    Export Data button

The report that gets downloaded will just have the useful columns in it. These will be in columns I and J.


Which Engagement Rate Should I Use?

Which measure you should use depends on what you are trying to do.

Engagement is classically used to break through the first level of apathy – to get people to notice you at all. With that in mind, the Facebook engagement model makes a lot of sense. If you want to make content that as many people as possible care about, then that is what Facebook is measuring.

If you are posting on Facebook, then you should care about their Engagement Rate measure too, as only by improving engagement in the way they think about it are your posts going to get shown to more people.

However, if you are trying to do more than just breakthrough apathy, then the standard measure of engagement makes a lot of sense. If you are trying to create content that not only gets a single like, but that drives people mad with interest, then the standard model gets that.

For example, if you are trying to create a buzz around a product, then making content that people engage with lots is the goal, not just getting people to care at all.

In a lot of ways it would make more sense if Facebook called it “Engaged Rate” or “Engager Rate” because it’s not the rate of engagement, but the rate at which people engage.


7 Things To Know About Facebook Engagement Rate

  1. Facebook doesn’t use the same engagement rate as everyone else. They use engaged users ÷ reach, rather than engagements ÷ impressions.
  2. The Engagement Rate of your page’s posts can be found in the Posts section of the Insights tab by changing the reactions metric to Engagement Rate. They don’t make it easy hey.
  3. According to Buffer, you should only post once or twice a day on Facebook in order to improve your Engagement Rate. Focus on quality over quantity.
  4. If you’re going to compare engagement rate across social networks, you should calculate it yourself so you are comparing like for like.
  5. According to Rival IQ (using engagements ÷ follower count, which is not how FB measures it), the overall average Facebook Engagement Rate is 0.09%.
  6. By making Engagement Rate hard to find for page managers AND by using a measure that is not directly comparable to other platforms, Facebook makes it clear that they don’t want to compete on this metric.
  7. One of the simplest ways to improve your FB ER is to post when your fans are online (find a helpful chart in Insights > Posts> When Your Fans Are Online).



Facebook Engagement Rate Definition


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