How to accurately calculate your engagement rate on Instagram in 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Updated engagement metrics: Traditional methods for Instagram engagement rate calculation are outdated; incorporating Reel views is essential for accurate measurement.
  • New formulas needed: Use updated engagement metrics such as View Rate (Views / Followers), Reach Rate (Reach / Followers), Base Engagement Rate (Likes + Comments + Saves + Views / Followers), and Viral Potential Score (VPS) to gain deeper insights.
  • Tracking: Regularly calculating engagement rates helps understand content effectiveness, perform competitor analysis, improve content ROI, and gain valuable audience insights.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI): AI tools can be useful when analysing Instagram engagement rates but it’s not easy to extract data from Instagram. 
  • Future Trends: The key metrics will continue to evolve so you need to stay ahead. Engagement metrics like sentiment analysis may become more prevalent, especially as Reels continue to dominate the platform.

Transform your Instagram strategy: The need for updated engagement rate calculations

The old lie: Digital marketing is all about quality content. Yet, what constitutes quality? The answer depends on what Instagram thinks is quality. To determine this, you need to understand your Instagram engagement rate calculation.

For instance, a Reel can go viral showing someone putting on a pair of running socks. 5m likes and thousands of comments with people debating if socks make a difference to running performance. Is this quality? I doubt Steven Spielberg lies awake worried about these content creators taking his job. 

Yet, a thoughtful, well-considered Reel may get no engagement. This is because quality content doesn’t really exist because there is no objective measure. Therefore, the real question is, is your content aligned to your niche?

However, to answer that question we must look at our underlying data. We need to calculate our engagement rate on Instagram. The best social media strategies place metrics at every step of their Instagram growth objectives. Moreover, they understand what metrics are most important.

Unfortunately, most engagement rate calculations for Instagram do not reflect what the platform’s algorithms are looking for. Instagram Reels are now the best way to grow on Instagram and Reel views are key.

This article delves into the importance of considering emerging metrics like Reel views when calculating your Instagram engagement rate. We’ll explore how these calculations can help you refine your content strategy and achieve your Instagram growth goals.

To see how engaged your audience is you need to look at an Instagram engagement rate calculation

What is an Instagram engagement rate?

An Instagram engagement rate calculation is a metric used to understand how effective your content strategy is on the platform. 

Imagine you run a callisthenics account with 10,000 followers. Getting 400 likes per post might seem decent at first glance. But is it? An engagement rate calculation helps answer this question. By calculating the percentage of your audience actively engaging with your content, you gain valuable insights.

Traditionally, Instagram engagement is calculated in one of the following ways:

  • (Total Engagement: Likes, comments, saves) / (Followers) x 100
  • (Total Engagement: Likes, comments, saves) / (Reach) x 100

However, these traditional methods to calculate Instagram engagement rates are not fit for purpose today.

While these traditional methods provide a basic understanding, they are now outdated. This is because these engagement rate calculations on Instagram have been used since the early days of the platform. Yet, the platform has since moved on. 

Why most Instagram engagement rate calculators are outdated

Research conducted by Morgan Stanely found that 74% of Instagram users use Reels. Moreover, it’s continuing to grow in popularity with a 46% year-on-year growth. In our experience, having set up and grown several Instagram accounts, Reels are the best way to grow on the platform.

However, many Instagram engagement rate calculators neglect the most important metric of Reeks which is views. This is a huge oversight, rendering most traditional engagement calculations meaningless.

The best strategies for getting more followers on Instagram and getting more engagement place Reel views at the very centre. This is because Reels have the best engagement and reach of all content types. So, the more your Reels are shown to people in your niche, the more likely it is to get more followers, engagement and influence.

Therefore, it’s important you start calculating your Instagram engagement rate with views in mind.

How to calculate the engagement rate?

Your Instagram engagement rate calculation should be more than just a metric to include in a PowerPoint slide and forget. Instead, it should help you tell a compelling story and, more importantly, identify strategies to gain more influence on the platform.

Therefore, the following formulas, help you deep dive into how you are performing on Instagram. It’s important you use a combination of them to help you pinpoint where you can improve.

1. View rate: the core Instagram engagement calculation metric for follower value 

View Rate (Views / Followers x 100) is a helpful Instagram engagement rate metric to assess how effectively your followers contribute to your Reels’ performance. It essentially measures follower value in terms of driving views.

How the ‘View Rate’ engagement metric calculation can help on Instagram 

Imagine you have a running account focused on running form. You have 3,000 followers, and your latest Reel on Instagram received 2,000 views (67% View Rate). On the other hand, a larger account in your niche with 15,000 followers received only 5,000 views on their Reel (33% View Rate).

From a follower value perspective, your smaller account is performing better.  This suggests your content resonates well with your existing audience or your account size is helping you reach a wider audience more effectively.

However, a consistently low View Rate might indicate a need to adjust your content strategy. Therefore, look at what accounts with a better View Rate are doing. If they use catchy headlines, consider adopting them into your Instagram strategy.

By understanding View Rate, you can gain valuable insights and optimise your Reels to maximise value from your follower base.

2. Reach rate: the Instagram engagement calculation metric to expand your audience reach

Reach Rate (Reach / Followers x 100) is a valuable Instagram engagement rate calculation. It measures the number of unique accounts that Instagram’s algorithm exposed your Reel to, regardless of whether they follow you or not. This provides valuable insights into your content’s ability to attract new viewers. The higher the score, the better the chance your Reel will get more views and better reach.

How to use the Reach Rate engagement calculation on Instagram

Imagine you have a sleep optimisation account. You notice that Reels about the struggles of insomnia consistently have a higher Reach Rate than those explaining the science of Magnesium L-Threonate, even though the number of likes is similar.

This Instagram engagement rate calculation provides valuable context. It suggests people find the insomnia jokes more engaging, and importantly, the algorithm values this content and understands who to show it to. The similar number of likes might indicate a need to optimise your messaging around Magnesium L-Threonate, perhaps by making it more positive or relatable.

By understanding your Reach Rate, you can gauge your Reels’ potential to expand your audience reach and attract new followers interested in your sleep expertise.

3. Base engagement: The Instagram engagement rate calculation for core performance

Base Engagement Rate (Likes + Comments + Saves + Reels Views) / Followers x 100) is a comprehensive Instagram engagement rate calculation. Think of this calculation as a measure of your content’s ability to ignite conversations and inspire action within your overall audience, which can include both followers and non-followers who saw your Reel.

By factoring in your follower count, this Instagram engagement rate calculation also reveals how effective your existing audience is at driving the actions you want. This provides insights into whether your content effectively promotes your brand and mission beyond just likes.

How the Base Engagement Rate calculation can help you grow on Instagram

Imagine you run a health optimisation clinic specialising in cold water treatments. You create Reels showcasing the benefits of cold-water immersion, with beautiful videos of people jumping into ice. Yet, you worry because you typically get 80 to 100 likes per Reel whilst your competitor gets more. However, a strong Base Engagement Rate tells a different story.

This Instagram engagement rate calculation goes beyond likes and reveals hidden insights. Perhaps your Reels generate lively discussions in the comments, or a high save rate suggests viewers find them valuable for future reference. Critically, lots of people are viewing your content which means you have the strongest engagement signal of all – people’s time.

However, a consistently low Base Engagement might indicate a need to adjust your Instagram content strategy. In this case, you may need to better understand how to get more views on Instagram. This can further amplify your overall engagement and reach.

4. Viral potential score: Unveiling your reel’s growth potential

Viral Potential Score (VPS) = [(Likes + Comments + Saves + Shares) / Followers] + (Reel Views / Followers).

VPS is a powerful Instagram engagement rate calculation that provides insights into how effectively your Reels are reaching a wider audience. 

This metric builds upon the insights offered by Base Engagement Rate which considers all interactions (likes, comments, saves, views) from anyone who saw your Reel. However, VPS isolates the virality potential of your content. This is because it considers engagement metrics relative to your follower count. Additionally, it also looks at total Reel views relative to followers.

By analysing both engagement and view rates relative to your follower base, VPS helps identify Reels that are not only engaging your existing audience but may also attract new viewers beyond your follower count. This indicates content with the potential to capture a broader audience and potentially go viral.

How you can use VPS on Instagram

Imagine an account that posts Reels about healthy vegan recipes. They have a strong base of engaged followers who love their content, but they’d like to reach a wider audience and attract new viewers interested in plant-based meals.

VPS offers deeper insights into which of their content is driving engagement beyond their user base. By monitoring these trends over time, they can more easily see which content works and what they should create more of.

Moreover, they may also be able to look out for a specific feature of the Reel. For instance, a healthy chocolate cake Reel might have used trending audio or featured visually appealing close-up shots.

5. Weighted scoring for a more accurate Instagram engagement rate calculation

The formulas we’ve discussed so far assign equal weight to all engagement types (likes, comments, saves, views). While this provides a basic understanding, some interactions might be more valuable than others. This is where weighted engagement scoring comes in.

Social media platforms, like Instagram, likely value certain actions more in their algorithms. While the exact weighting is unknown, we can make educated guesses based on user behaviour.

For instance, you could use the following weighted Instagram engagement rate calculation:

  • Weighted Engagement Score = [(Likes * 1) + (Comments * 2) + (Saves * 3) + (Shares * 4) + (Reel Views * 5)] / Followers

In this formula, we place greater emphasis on Reels views than likes. This is because it requires more commitment, meaning it’s probable the Instagram algorithms value it more highly. Moreover, Instagram like all social media platforms wants to keep people on their platforms longer. Therefore, by placing a weighting you can get a better understanding of which content is performing better and likely to help you grow. Feel free to play around with the weightings to see what insights you get.

Why Weighted scoring is important and can help on Instagram

Imagine you’re a gut health company creating Reels about digestive health. Without using weightings, you may think your best content is memes about gut problems. While these have lots of likes, they don’t get many comments or lots of views.

However, weighting can change that. Engagement metrics like shares and views show people are going beyond basic engagement. These people really care about what you have to say. Subsequently, using weightings can help you to identify the most compelling content for your audience, further increasing your views and followers.

Additional analysis for Instagram Ads

If you want to calculate the performance of an Instagram Ad, it’s also important you consider additional metrics like impressions and actions.

For instance, imagine you want to sell Berberine supplements via your Instagram page. One of the goals you may set includes website visits. Therefore, you should look at:

  • Ad engagement rate = (total engagement e.g. Likes + comments + saves + shares) / impressions
  • Website click-through rate (WCTR) = (website clicks/ ad impressions) x 100

By analysing these metrics separately, you gain a clearer picture of your ad’s strengths and weaknesses. A high engagement rate with a low WCTR suggests you might need to refine your ad’s message to better connect with your target audience and drive website visits.

Why is it important to track your rate?

We know how difficult it can be to grow influence on Instagram. After all, if anyone could do it, there would be no need for experts who help companies grow their social media presence.

So, on a platform saturated with content, creating an engaged audience is crucial for success on Instagram. Tracking, monitoring and calculating your Instagram engagement is critical to understand what resonates with your target audience. Moreover, it helps to inform strategic decisions that can fuel your growth.

The key benefits for calculating your Instagram engagement rate include:

  • Content performance insights: Engagement rate allows you to identify which content types generate the most interactions. This data helps you refine your content strategy by focusing on formats that resonate best with your audience. 
  • Competitor analysis: Compare your Instagram engagement rate against similar accounts to understand your relative performance. This can help you identify areas for improvement and inspire new content ideas.
  • Improved content ROI: By understanding what content resonates, you can optimise your efforts to create content that drives results.
  • Audience insights: Analysing the types of interactions can help you understand the “why” behind your audience’s response. Do they engage more with facts or humour? Are they educated and informed about your niche? Tracking and calculating your Instagram engagement rates can give you invaluable clues into who your audience is and what they want.

Ultimately calculating your engagement rates on Instagram helps you avoid creating content in a vacuum. By understanding your audience’s response, you can refine your strategy, create content that resonates more deeply, and grow your influence on the platform.

Can you use AI to boost your engagement rate?

AI in social media is changing how platforms like Instagram work. Yet, how you use AI as an end user needs to be managed carefully.

The best way to use AI is as an assistant. Firstly, you will need to collect all the information you need. Unfortunately, Instagram currently doesn’t allow you to directly download your Reels insights as a CSV file or any other downloadable format. You can only view your Reels insights within the Instagram app.

Therefore, you will either need to get a third-party tool where a payment subscription is likely or record your information manually.

However, once you have collected the data you can use tools like Gemini or ChatGPT to analyse your data for you. Not only can they perform the analysis suggested in this article, but they can also identify patterns in your data.

However, using AI tools that promise to boost your engagement automatically should be avoided. In our experience, these tools use bots to manipulate your engagement metrics meaning you are not really getting more engagement. Moreover, these tools are against Instagram’s policies meaning your account may be revoked.

What is a good engagement rate on Instagram?

Engagement rate is a valuable metric, but it’s important to understand that “good” can vary depending on your niche and account size.  Generally, larger accounts tend to have slightly lower engagement percentages.

Additionally, with the growing importance of Reels, factoring in views provides a more comprehensive picture of audience response. However, views are not captured in most industry-wide insights.

Therefore, based on our industry knowledge, here are some benchmark ranges to consider, keeping in mind these are general guidelines:

Traditional Engagement Rate (Excluding Views):

  • Poor: < 1%
  • Satisfactory: 1% to 3%
  • Good: 3% to 5%
  • Excellent: 5% and above

Engagement Rate Including Views (Views / Followers x 100):

  • Poor: < 10%
  • Satisfactory: 10% to 50%
  • Good: 50% to 100%
  • Excellent: Above 100% 

However, these benchmarks are a starting point. As we can see including views, can dramatically increase your Instagram engagement rate. Therefore, it’s important you factor that in when performing your analysis. These metrics are designed to help you make decisions rather than act as vanity metrics.

Whilst many of these engagement rates on Instagram that include views may seem high, they are realistic. For instance, we set up a running account, and because we focused on identifying the right niche, we regularly get an engagement rate above 100%. 

But the key takeaway is to track your own engagement rate over time to understand how your audience responds to your content. This data empowers you to refine your content strategy and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement.

How the engagement rate calculation will evolve

Since the launch of Instagram Reels in 2020, they have transformed the platform. Whilst static posts may remain, it’s these short-form videos that are now driving engagement and followers.

Therefore, it’s critical you start measuring the impact of Reels in your Instagram engagement rate calculations. These insights can help to identify what is working and where you need to focus your attention. Therefore, the key engagement metric you need to understand is views.

Moreover, as Reels continue to evolve it’s likely you will need to expand your engagement metrics. Some of these metrics are already important. For example, the number of rewatches your Reels receive or the amount of time people spend watching it.

Yet, in the future, Instagram is likely to continue trying to make Reels more immersive. Therefore, we can expect other interactions such as engagement sentiment or types of shares (outside Instagram vs inside).  

So, stay ahead of the curve and update your archaic Instagram engagement rate calculations. This will help you refine your content strategy and maintain a competitive edge on Instagram.

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