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Instagram engagement rate: definition, calculation and tips to boost it

After a frantic hunt for followers, the trend on Instagram in recent years has been to know how to capture and retain an audience through engaging content. Engaging content is content that makes people react. The problem is that the larger the community, the more difficult it is to maintain a good engagement rate. However, it is this same rate of engagement that is taken into account in the Instagram algorithm and allows you to gain visibility.

taux d'engagement Instagram selon HypeAuditor
taux d'engagement Instagram selon HypeAuditor

Calculating your Instagram engagement rate

Before going into the details of the calculations, it is important to remember the concept of engagement. On Instagram, it can be likes, comments, shares or even registrations generated under a publication. It is ultimately all the interactions made on a content, whether it is a photo or a video. The engagement rate is the ultimate quality indicator; it allows you to judge the relevance of the content shared with your community.

To calculate the Instagram engagement rate, we will mainly take into account likes and comments.

There are several methods for calculating the engagement rate. The important thing is to make sure you keep the same calculation method over time in order to homogenise your analyses.

Rate of engagement per subscriber

his is the percentage of people who interact with an Instagram account or an Instagram publication on a daily basis after having come into contact with it. It can be calculated with this formula: sum of interactions divided by the number of followers. This option is interesting because it allows you to compare yourself with your competitors; the number of followers and the number of likes are data available to everyone. It is also an opportunity to determine to what extent an Instagrammer is an influencer or not.

To summarise: (Likes + Comments) / Followers x 100 = Engagement rate per follower.

Rate of engagement per person reached

This second method of calculation is only possible for professional Instagram accounts because they have access to reach. This calculation takes into account the people who have actually seen your post and therefore brings more precision to your engagement rate. Don’t forget that a good part of your followers will never see your Instagram posts…

To summarize: (Likes + Comments) / Reach x 100 = Engagement rate per person reached.

To go further, it can also be interesting to calculate your positive engagement rate, i.e. to be able to exclude all positive reactions to your brand. The engagement rate does not take into account the tone of the interactions, which can be positive or negative (during a bad buzz for example).

The average engagement rate on Instagram

Instagram is the preferred social network for influencers, as it is the platform that generates the most engagement. An Instagram post would generate 23%(1) more engagement than if it had been published on Facebook (which has many more monthly active users). Instagram is therefore also becoming the preferred social network for brands when it comes to engagement when they want to interact with their audience.

The average engagement rate on Instagram is 2.84%(2) but be aware that this rate is strongly correlated to the number of followers. The larger the community, the lower the average engagement rate. There is no single “good” engagement rate.

If you want to collaborate with an Instagrammer for your next influencer marketing campaign, you should therefore first take into account the size of their community before judging whether their engagement rate is good or not.

The graph below speaks for itself: the average engagement for a nano-influencer is 5.6% while that of a mega-influencer varies from 2.05% to 1.97%:

Nano and micro-influencers have a small community, but are becoming increasingly interesting for brands wishing to launch an Influence Marketing campaign. Their engagement rate is on average much better than that of a macro-influencer. It is, in fact, easier to interact with a small audience. As a brand, you will indirectly benefit from an engaged audience, ready to like and re-share content.

Another important point in defining one’s influence strategy is that the formats offered by Instagram generate higher or lower engagement rates.

The first observation: posts with an image get 27% more engagement than a post with a video and 13% more likes than a photo carousel(3).

Videos now have their place on other formats – Instagram stories or Instagram Reels. Both of these formats generate engagement primarily because they allow for spontaneous and more authentic content than a photo. Instagram also offers a wide range of interactive buttons for its stories: poll, slider, question…

Increase your engagement rate on Instagram

Good news, some Instagram practices can boost your engagement rate, and this without necessarily incurring advertising costs.

  • Knowing your audience is a key step to ensure a winning social media strategy. Before producing your own content or via an influencer, you need to know who you are addressing. Knowing your target audience, their needs, their habits, their lifestyle… is essential to offer them relevant content.
  • Another good practice to increase your Instagram engagement rate: keep a regular, even daily, benchmark your competitors’ practices. This analysis should concern both the content (what messages are conveyed by my competitors on Instagram?) and the form (what formats – photo, video, live… – do my competitors use to speak on Instagram).
  • The use of hashtags is also a lever that generates engagement. Be careful, however, to use them sparingly and with meaning. Niche hashtags, less popular, offer you the possibility to see your publication displayed in the top posts associated with the hashtag. On the other hand, it can be difficult to emerge on a star hashtag that already displays millions of publications (e.g.: #food).
  • Video is a format that should not be overlooked to improve your engagement rate on Instagram. The average engagement of videos increases faster than that of photos. It is therefore in your best interest to mix formats and extend your content strategy to Instagram Reels or at least Stories. On the latter format, engage your community as much as possible by making good use of the features offered by the platform: hashtags, polls, Shopping, questions, live video…
  • Finally, collaborating with an Instagram influencer will help you gain visibility and increase your engagement rate. With 4.2 billion “Likes” per day, Instagram is the social network with the highest engagement rate. The time given to choosing an influencer should not be underestimated to make your campaign a success. Depending on your target and your brand values, Kolsquare will guide you in choosing the right Instagram influencer, and allow you to contact them for your product placement project.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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