An Informative Guide to Engagement Rate On Instagram

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Engagement is everything on Instagram.

We all agonize over the perfect photo, clever caption, and best hashtags to use for our post.

You want clicks, likes, and comments on your posts. Nobody wants to post and start hearing crickets. We also do not want an account with a million followers and 30 comments.

This raises a couple of questions in your mind. Questions like:

  • What is a good engagement rate on Instagram?
  • How can you calculate your engagement rate on Instagram?
  • What is the average engagement rate on Instagram ?
  • What are the best engagement rate calculators and tools?

You would find the answers to all these questions in this article.

Let us begin.

What is Instagram Engagement Rate?

It is a measure of how well your followers interact with your posts.

With engagement, it does not matter how many followers you have. Instead, the focus here is on how well they interact with your content.

The most common forms of Instagram engagement are likes and comments. Other forms of engagement include shared and saved posts.

How to Calculate Engagement Rate on Instagram

There are two ways to do this. You can either do it yourself, or use an Instagram engagement calculator.

You would need formulas if you want to do it yourself.

Instagram engagement rate formulas

It’s time to put on your mathematics hat. Here are the two most common formulas for calculating your engagement rate:

Engagement rate by posts (ERP)

Engagement rate by post (ERP) = Total engagement on a post / Total Followers count * 100

Average Engagement rate by post (AERP) = Engagement rate by post / Total number of posts

Where total engagement on a post = likes + comments + shares + saves on individual posts.

Enough theory, let’s use a real-life example to show how it works. I’ll be using my Instagram account @copybynathan.

Here is a screenshot of the stats on my last post:

engagement rate on Instagram stats for copybynathan Instagram account

The post had 17 likes, 7 comments, and 2 shares. This account has a total follower count of 60.

Instagram profile for copy by nathan

By using the ERP formula the engagement rate on my last post was (17 + 7 + 2 / 60) * 100 = 43.3%

I have only 10 posts, so it is not so time-consuming to calculate by myself.

The AERP for this account is [43.3 + 18.3 + 38.3 + 40 + 16.6 + 56.6 + 61.6 + 15 + 28.3 + 13.3] / 10 = 33.13%

Engagement rate by Reach (ERR)

Your reach is the number of unique accounts that see your post.

Not all your followers can see your posts, so it makes sense to judge your engagement rate by those who see it.

This formula substitutes total followers for reach.

Lost?

This example would help:

Instagram account showing insight for copybynathan

Engagement rate by Reach (ERR) = Total engagement on a post / Reach * 100

Average Engagement rate by Reach (AERR) = Engagement rate by reach / Total number of posts

Where total engagement on a post = likes + comments + shares + saves on individual posts.

For this post on my @copybynathan account,

Stats showing engagement for posts on instagram

the engagement rate by reach would be:

[20 + 14 + 3] / 85 * 100 = 43.5%

Average engagement rate by reach for the whole account would be [54.1 + 31.4 + 31.5 + 40 + 38 .4 + 27.6 + 43.5 + 28.1 + 40.4 + 40] / 10 = 37.5%

Nathan, thank you for the maths lesson, but who has time for that??

I hear you. I’ll admit that it was easy for me to find the engagement rate on my account because I have less than 15 posts on my feed.

What about you with over 50 posts on your feed? Would you sit down with a calculators and start punching numbers all day? You likely don’t have the time, so here are some of the best Instagram engagement calculators you can use.

Best Calculators for Engagement Rate on Instagram

Side Note: You’d notice that the results of my engagement rate while using formulas (33.1% and 37.5%) varies from the results from online calculators (30.83%). This is because when using the formulas, I added saves and shares as metrics for engagement. These engagement calculators do not have access to that information. Even at that, the engagement rate still falls in the same range.

What is a Good Engagement Rate on Instagram?

Each social media platform comes with an average engagement rate. An engagement rate of 1% is great on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. 1% would not cut it on Instagram.

A good engagement rate on Instagram is between 3% – 6%.

Anything above 6% is fantastic. But anything below 3% is considered poor and needs a bit of improvement.

Why is a Good Engagement Rate on Instagram Important?

If you look at your Instagram “home” area, what do you notice? You would notice that most of the time, Instagram shows you the same 20 – 30 accounts over and over again.

Why do you think that is?

It is because those are the accounts that you engage or interact with the most. You often like, comment, and share the posts from these accounts.

The Instagram algorithm learns your preferences through the kind of posts that you engage with. And it then tries to show you as much content from these pages as possible.  

What does this mean for you?

It means that you need good engagement on your posts to show up on other people’s timeline. With the right amount of engagement, you might even find yourself sitting pretty on the explore page.

If your average engagement rate falls above 3%, it means that you are doing something right. It means that your followers (no matter how small) value the type of content that you post. This leads to more trust with your brand.

Creatives or online entrepreneurs who have great engagement rates set themselves up well to become brand influencers.

The number of likes on your post no longer deceives brands today. These brands want to see real engagement in form of comments, shares, and saves.

While things are rosy for the guys in the good engagement camp, what about you who has a bad engagement rate? Is there anything you can do about it? Yes there is.

How to Improve Your Engagement Rate on Instagram

To start, you need to find out why you have a bad or poor engagement rate in the first place. Did you buy followers? Do you use the right hashtags?

Here are some ways you can improve your engagement rate on Instagram right away:

1. Weed out fake followers. Or start a brand new account

If you bought followers in the past, they might be hurting your engagement. These followers are fake and would not interact or engage with your content (no matter how good your content is).

To improve your engagement rate, you have to remove them. This might take some time because they are a limit to the number of followers you can remove in a day.

If you bought an overwhelming number of followers, it might take days to weed them out. Nobody has time for that.

The next best thing to do is to start a new account. I know what you are thinking “But I would have to start all over”. Yes, it is better that way.

You can direct the few people that engage with your content from the previous page to this new one.

Sometimes, it might not be fake followers damaging your engagement. It could be ghost followers. You can easily identify these followers from the way their profiles look. It often looks like a ghost town – with no profile picture, bio or post on their feed.

fake followers hurt your Instagram engagement rate
This guy fits what we are talking about perfectly

2. Use the right hashtags

Hashtags have the power to show your content to a wide audience you share similar interest with.

Since you share similar interests with this audience, you can expect more likes, comments, and sometimes even followers.

So use hashtags my friend. I’ll come up with an hashtag guide that works later on.

3. Complete your bio

Your bio is one of the most important real estates that you have on Instagram. It tells visitors who you are, and what they stand to gain from following or interacting with you.

But you only have 150 characters to make an impression, so make it count.

If you are looking to up your engagement rate on Instagram, then make your bio more about your followers than it is about you.

4. Use eye-catching graphics

Instagram is a visual platform, therefore to grab the attention of its users, you need to use eye-catching graphics.

It could a stunning photo or video. In recent times, carousels have been getting a lot of love from Instagram folks too.

Graphics or videos are not enough though, you still need great captions.

5. Make use of your captions

If the job of your photo, video, or carousel is to grab the attention of your followers, then the job of a good caption is to keep that attention, and interest your followers in the story you are trying to tell.

You don’t have to be Steven King before you can write great Instagram captions. Here is a guide on how to write captions well.

6. Reply to comments

How much do you love having a conversation with somebody that doesn’t listen when you talk? Did I hear you say not so much? I find it annoying too.

Think of Instagram as one big conversation.

When people leave a comment on your post, reply to them. Listen. Talk to them.

This helps you build a connection with them and improves your engagement rate on Instagram.

7. Engage with others

Responding to comments on your posts is great. But do you want to know something even better? Engaging with the content from other accounts.

Go all out and interact with other accounts in your niche. Since you are trying to improve your engagement rate, you would do more than just like posts. You would need to leave meaningful comments on these posts, and sometimes even share posts from these accounts.

Follow the big guns in your niche and pitch a tent in their comment section. Be civil. Don’t spam. Instead, be useful and valuable. Other similar accounts would start to notice you and then begin to interact with you too.

8. Reply all DMs

While you might argue that replying DMs might not have a direct effect on your engagement rate on Instagram, it does affect your relationship with others.

When people see that you are willing to answer them, they’ll naturally gravitate towards you and your content. Thank you Biology.

9. Post content when followers are most active

How much success do you think I’ll have if I post content by 3 pm when my followers are most active around 8 pm? I’ll be as successful as a man fetching water with a basket.

Don’t be that man.

You can use 3rd party apps like buffer, agora pulse, and Hootsuite to check when your followers would be most active. You could also use the insights straight from the Instagram app.

Post when your analytics show that your followers are most active. Instagram has a sweet new feature that shows you accounts that are online.

New Instagram feature that allows you see the number of active users at a time

10. Try out different forms of content

Instagram is no longer just about pictures. Now you can post stories, carousels, videos, live videos and so on.

All of these content formats are there for a reason – for you to use.

So, experiment. If you notice that your engagement rate is low with a certain form of content, switch it up.

Say, for example, you are used to posting single photos, why not try posting carousels for a change?

A small change like this could lead to a better engagement rate on Instagram. .

Final Thoughts

After all is said and done, your Instagram engagement rate is one of the most important metrics to track. It allows you know whether people get excited enough to interact with your content.

Have you checked your engagement rate on Instagram? What was your score?