Are You Using The Right Engagement Metrics For Your Brand?

Kate Hodes

In this blog series, a member of the Khoros Strategic Services team dives into a topic they have helped many enterprise brands with, sharing their insights and best practices. Khoros Strategic Services has deep expertise in community management, paid social, analytics, content, and they're ready to help your brand.

There are so many metrics across social media platforms that it can be hard to identify the right metrics to prove the impact of your efforts. When making this decision, the most important consideration is: What are your goals? Here on the Khoros Strategic Services team we follow a very simple framework to identify what is important for our customers and which KPIs should be used to measure success.

While this framework may lead you to a variety of KPIs, we’re going to focus on one of the most common: Engagement Rate.

At its core, Engagement Rate measures, as a percentage, how effectively your content connects with your audience.

Platform Engagement Rates

How each social platform measures engagement rate is unique per platform. Each platform has pros and cons to how they approach their formulas, but first let’s define what they are:

Facebook: Facebook measures engagement rate on the post level by looking at the total number of engaged users and dividing that by the reach of the post =

Limited Engaged Users
Lifetime Total Post Reach

These metrics are found in the first tab of the Native Facebook Post export when downloading the content natively, or easily selected in the Khoros Marketing data exports. Facebook measures engagement rate this way because it’s looking at a unique measure of the unique individuals who engaged with the post, how many of them took any action at least once. This does not count multiple actions per person — for example, if someone likes, and comments on a post, the engagement for that person is just counted as one engagement.

Twitter: Twitter measures every possible action available on a post divided by the number of Impressions (total number of views of the post, not unique) =

Likes + Retweets + Replies + All Clicks* + Media Engagements + Media Views

*All Clicks: link clicks, photo opens, profile photo clicks, username clicks, hashtag clicks, card clicks.

This is somewhat opposite of Facebook, as this is not a unique measure of engagement but a total one. Also, unlike Facebook, Twitter breaks out organic vs promoted engagements, so in the native export two engagement and engagement rate columns are provided. In order to get the total, you must combine those.

Instagram: Native Instagram doesn’t have a prescribed engagement rate provided in the Insights section, but it calculates engagements as: likes, comments, saves and shares. Both reach and impressions are provided, but since engagements are not unique, the data would direct the use of impressions =

Likes + Comments + Shares + Saves

Instagram and Twitter are similar in that they include any possible action taken on a post in the engagement, and engagement rate calculations.

LinkedIn: Native linked provides an engagement rate metric in their analytics platform as =

Clicks + Likes + Comments + Shares + Follows

This, like Twitter and Instagram, is not a unique engagement rate but a total engagement rate on a per post level. And also like Twitter and Instagram includes all possible actions as engagements.

YouTube: There are two types of engagement measures for Native YouTube: watch time and end screen action clicks. Based on this, the engagement rates for YouTube would be:

Average View Duration =

Actual watch time
Total potential watch time*

*Total potential watch time is the number of video plays x video duration

Clicks per end screen element shown =

End Screen Element Clicks
End Screen Elements Shown

Average view duration will tell you the retention of your audience through your video. This is a logical measure of engagement, as it is how long you’re keeping your audience’s attention. Click Per End Screen Element Shown is relevant if you offer click-throughs or even additional videos to watch on the end screen of your video. This will show the additional engagement your audience takes once completing the video.

Strategic Services

Engagement Rates and Post Types

There are clear benefits to using the prescribed engagement rate per each platform, such as being able to use any industry benchmarks provided by third parties or native platforms. However, there are also benefits for creating internal engagement rate formulas that are used across platforms for internal comparisons and benchmarking.

Additionally, for platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, certain metrics may skew the engagement rate so posts like video views are always the top performers, since a media view is counted when 3 seconds of an auto-play video is shown on a timeline, whether users are actively watching it or not.

So what does that mean? It may seem like more work, but there is an opportunity to be more intentional and specific with performance reporting by breaking out your engagement rate by post type.

Baseline Engagement Rate: (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram Stories) =

Likes + Comments + Shares

*Note: this would be Likes, Retweets and Replies for Twitter // Like sand Comments for Instagram // Replies for Instagram Stories

This type of engagement rate can be used across all posts as a baseline engagement rate. While this doesn’t include video views for video posts, or link clicks for link posts, this shows the on-platform engagement that every post offers.

Video View Rate: (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) =

3-Second Video Views
Impressions of Video Posts

Video View Rate is important to measure in addition to a general engagement rate so you can compare videos against each-other and specifically see the success of the videos, especially since producing videos is quite an investment. This metric can get deeper based on available platform metrics - for example on Facebook you can see a video view rate AND a video completion rate, if you really want to dig into video performance. You can even go as far as measuring the drop off point of video views.

This metric is inspired by the YouTube average view-time metric, or percent video completion rate. Since YouTube is a video platform first, it makes sense to use that as the voice of truth for measuring video success.

Click-Through Rate: (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram Stories) =

URL Clicks
Link Post Impressions

Measuring click-through rate is the social proxy for measuring visits to the site or landing page. While it is not a 1 to 1 measurement that will equal the values you’d see from a web analytics platform, it does give you an idea of users intent and interest in clicking through to read or learn more.

Response Rate: (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram Stories) =

Comments (or Replies)

Some brands are on social for the specific goal of driving conversation with their customers, meaning that the comments on a post are the most important. While this is not often the case, if it is it makes sense to break it down even to this level of specificity, so you can clearly learn what is driving the best response for your brand.

How to Choose What is Best For You

Even if you default to the prescribed engagement rates of each platform, having additional measures of success will provide more learnings for your social teams, especially your copywriters, creatives and strategy teams. Understanding the nuances of content performance doesn’t just show you how to adjust your content strategy, but it can tell you a lot about your audiences and their expectations on each platform.

When you’re setting up your measurement strategy always think back to what your goals are and how you can prove that your social strategy and content is successfully driving those goals.

How Khoros can help

The Khoros Strategic Services team helps enterprise brands increase engagement on their social media platforms every day. To learn what we can do for your brand, visit the Khoros Strategic Services page.

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