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Periodically measuring the success of your social media presence is an important part of determining how you should make content decisions moving forward. The way you measure success may differ depending on the goals of your account or content. However, your content’s engagement rate is generally the most important metric when measuring social media success. Keep reading to learn more about calculating and interpreting your engagement rate, as well as best practices that can lead to improving the engagement on your account.


Any written response to a post is considered a comment or reply. A private message in response to a post does not constitute as a comment or reply.
All interactions with posts are considered engagements. Examples include likes, comments, shares, link clicks and more. Social media engagement is commonly viewed as a way to gauge success.
A follower is a user who has visited a profile and opted into seeing its content on the platform going forward. It’s important to note that even though someone may follow you, they are not guaranteed to see everything you post. Algorithms determine which followers of an account will actually be served its content. Consistently sharing higher quality, engaging content will generally result in higher reach.
Impressions measure the number of times a post appears on a screen. A post that has appeared on the screens of 100 people will have at least 100 impressions. However, if one of those individuals sees the post twice, the post has 101 impressions. If all 100 people saw the post twice, it has 200 impressions.
Likes and reactions are some of the quickest ways that a user can interact with a post. While most social networks have the ability to “like” posts, some also have an extended set of reaction options that allow a user to indicate another emotion or response to content. Examples would be a laughing react, angry react, sad react and more. For the purposes of general analytics, likes and other reactions are usually all counted together.
The reach of a post is the measurement of how many individuals have seen it. A post that has been seen by 100 people will have a reach of 100. If one of those individuals sees the post twice, the reach is still 100. If all 100 people saw the post twice, it still has a reach of 100.
Some platforms allow you to save or bookmark a post. For example, Instagram allows users to save posts to private folders on their accounts. Note that this is different from screenshotting or downloading the image used in a post. The “saved” post is a live link back to the public post. If the post is ever deleted, it no longer appears in the saved collections of users who had saved it. Social platforms’ algorithms interpret a user saving a post as a positive engagement. Therefore, having a high number of post saves can lead to higher reach.
Any time a user uses a social network’s built-in sharing functionality to amplify a post to their audiences, it is a share. Examples include reposts, sharing to an Instagram Story, sharing to a Facebook feed and more. Shares are very valuable, as they can drastically increase a post’s reach, which means more people are seeing your content and may engage with it.
Each platform has a different method for counting video views. Waiting for a viewer to watch at least three seconds of the video before considering it a view is one of the most common methods. This differs from impressions and reach, which both require no minimum amount of time on screen to be counted.

Engagement Rate

There are two popular methods for calculating engagement rates. One is known simply as engagement rate; the other as public engagement rate. Both are similar concepts, but the public engagement rate will allow you to compare your performance with your competitors in a way that the first method will not.

Public Engagement Rate

Your engagement rate can be calculated by taking the total number of engagements and comparing them to the total number of followers. This method is good for drawing comparisons to your competitors, as all of the data needed for this formula is publicly accessible.

The formula for public engagement rate is:

(Total Engagements / Number of Followers) x 100 = Public Engagement Rate

For example, let’s say a post on Instagram has 5,000 likes and 100 comments. If the account that created the post has 100,000 followers, the public engagement rate could be calculated like this:

(5,000 + 100 ) / 100,000 x 100 = 5.1%

A higher percentage indicates that a higher percentage of an account’s followers engaged with the content. Other metrics such as shares could also be added into the first half of the formula when available.

Engagement Rate

100% of your followers will almost never see your post. For that reason, swapping out Number of Followers with Total Impressions in the formula may give you more useful data for your post performance, as it will measure the engagement rate of those who actually saw your post.

(Total Engagements / Total Impressions) x 100 = Engagement Rate

Let’s use the same post from earlier as an example. If the post had 20,000 impressions (meaning the post appeared on a screen 20,000 times) the engagement rate would be calculated like this:

(5,000 + 100) / 20,000 x 100 = 25.5%

Here, a higher percentage indicates that a higher percentage of people who saw the post engaged with it. This form of measuring engagement rate can be helpful if a high percentage of your total followers are inactive or not seeing your content, which can often be out of your hands.

Follower Growth

The best thing you can do to grow your audience is consistently post quality and timely content that brings people value. It’s also important to engage with your followers and community. Where possible, like posts, leave comments, start conversations — get people talking. Ultimately, continue considering what content people actually want to see and only post that. Avoid “posting just to post”, even if that means you are producing less content. It’s important that your followers know that when they see your profile come up in their feed they can expect good content.