Social Media

How to calculate your engagement rate on Instagram

No matter how strong your aesthetic, if the numbers aren’t there, it’s not working out. Here's how to calculate your engagement rate on Instagram

Ella White
July 20, 2022
4 min

If you want to grow your audience on Instagram, just posting regularly isn’t enough. Understanding the importance of Instagram Insights is the best way to truly understand what your audience is engaging with, and what they want to see from you.

So no matter how strong your aesthetic, if the numbers aren’t there, it’s not working out. Taking the time each week or month to look at your analytics will help you to focus on the kind of content your audience wants to see – without losing sight of your own style, of course.

The first place to look? Your engagement rate.

What is my engagement rate?

When you look at your Instagram engagement, whether on a specific post or on your profile, the number should be pretty high. That’s because it covers every interaction that post or page has received within your specified timeframe.

The engagement rate, however, might look lower. That’s because it’s based on the percentage of your followers who have interacted with your content. By interacting, we’re talking likes and comments, and in some cases shares, saves, and impressions.

How is the engagement rate calculated?

Engagement rate is, essentially, your engagement number in relation to the number of followers you have. So the total number of likes and comments (and maybe shares, saves, and impressions) a post has received would be divided by your follower count, then multiplied by 100 to create a percentage.

For example, if your post had 1,000 engagements and you have 20,000 followers, then your engagement rate on that post is 5%.

Because 1,000 / 20,000 x 100 = 5

But don’t worry about the math – Instagram does all that for you. It’s just useful to know the kind of number you’re dealing with if you want to truly understand your Insights.

5 top stats to watch

It’s easy to get hung up on engagement stats like comments and likes, but if you really want to boost your engagement in the long term, there are some more important metrics to pay attention to.

1. Profile Visits

Profile visits are quite literally the number of users that have visited your profile. This number matters because it gives you an idea of how many people are coming across your page, and how many are clicking onto your grid.

Since most users just scroll through Instagram and rarely click on pages they already follow, this number is a good (although not exclusive) indicator of the number of people who have been drawn to your profile by something you posted.

2. Reach

The reach of your page or post is calculated by how many unique users have seen it. The chances are, that all of your followers won’t see all of your posts – so don’t worry too much if this number is lower than you might expect.

If you want to increase your reach, and have users who don’t yet follow you contribute to your total, encourage your followers to share your posts with their friends or on their stories. That way, your reach will be boosted by non-follower views.

3. Impressions

Unlike reach, which only calculates unique views – meaning only one view is counted per user, even if they see it multiple times – impressions show the total number of times your content was shown to users.

You can tell if a post is performing especially well if it has a high impressions-to-reach ratio. It’s likely that your impressions will always be higher than your reach, but the higher the impressions compared to reach, the more often users have gone back to see your content or had it shown to them again.

4. Reels Engagement

If you want to win at Instagram right now, you need to be getting into Reels. Analytics for Reels is a new addition to Instagram’s Insights, but you can break down your engagement by likes, comments, reach, saves, interactions, and plays.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t show your engagement rate (though you can work it out yourself using the math we explained above: Interactions / Plays x 100) – but don’t be surprised if your impressions-to-reach ratio is off the charts. Reels are now shared onto all relevant feeds, not just that of your followers, so they’re one of the best ways to increase your reach and engagement.

5. Saves

When Instagram changed its algorithm to favor video content and replace the chronological timeline, rumors swirled that saves were the new likes. Saving someone’s content means you can return to it easily in your ‘Saved’ tab, so it’s a useful tool if you want to reference something again – like a restaurant or an item of clothing you’ll buy in the future.

This means it’s an especially useful metric for brands and creators who sell through Instagram. Seeing which posts are most saved could help you understand which products people are more interested in buying. You could use this information to inform your social strategy and experiment with posting the same items again to see if they gain the same traction or generate a boost in sales.

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