The term “engagement rate” has become a fundamental vocabulary word in social media marketing, yet understanding and using it well can still be a challenge.
What is FB engagement rate?
Fortunately, the engagement rate metric in Facebook Insights remains a stable benchmark and using it over time will give you a deep understanding of your brand’s performance. It will also give you a powerful lever for change and improvement. Facebook engagement rate is calculated as engaged users (people who liked, commented, shared or clicked on your post) divided by unique reach (people who saw your post). Multiply it by 100 to turn it into a percentage.
Why should I use it?
It is no accident that engagement rate is one of the most recognized metrics in the world of social media. It takes two pieces of data that are important, yet incomplete, and makes them into an invaluable tool. While it is easy to focus marketing attention on simply driving reach or engaged users, engagement rate is a much stronger indication of an active audience who might actually buy something. It is the ultimate KPI.
A good engagement rate is a strong indication of good content. If you take a look at a post that has great engagement rate, you can be pretty sure that it has hit on a winning combination for its target audience.
Finally, engagement rate is the great leveler. Because it looks at the the connection an audience is making to content in relation to the number of people viewing that content, it can be used to make meaningful comparisons between very different brands, posts and pages. This is an incredibly helpful tool whether you are comparing your own post metrics or looking at your competitors for successful ideas.
How can I improve it?
First, it is important to make sure that you are following general best practices when posting. Make sure that your posts are appropriate for your audience, be consistent and keep an eye on your competitors. Importantly, our cultural relationship to social media is constantly evolving and it is critical that marketing managers keep up with what actually drives Facebook engagement rates in today’s environment. At the end of 2016 Buzzsumo conducted a survey of 800 million Facebook posts to come up with current guidelines for improving engagement. Although some of their findings were just good reminders of long understood principles, there were some great surprises in the mix…
1. Videos were most likely to be shared, followed by images and questions.
2. Sunday posts generally got more engagement, even for b2b brand content.
3. Posts of less than 50 characters were more engaging than longer posts.
4. If a post linked to a piece of content outside Facebook, people engaged with it more if the link was to a longer article.
5. Images posted directly to Facebook and not through Instagram were more engaging than images posted to Facebook via Instagram.
6. Engagement was higher whenever there was a lower volume of public posts in the news feed. There was an inverse relationship between low volume and high interaction, even when low volume coincided with users’ overnight hours.
These findings are both fascinating and likely to change as social media continues to transform the world of marketing. Ultimately, getting users to connect, act and interact is the goal that puts the word “social” in social media. Because of this, engagement rate will continue to be the gold standard for understanding how effective your marketing efforts are.
The moral of the story is this…There is ample reason to consider Facebook engagement rate a critical feature of your social media performance and, if you keep up with the times, this metric will surely lead you to success.