How to Calculate Engagement Rate Effectively
Research Intelligence

How to Calculate Engagement Rate Effectively

by Liz March , Digital Research Specialist 13 Min.
June 10, 2022 | Updated October 11, 2022

The global population spends around 13 million hours daily on social media. With over 59% of all humans (roughly 4.62 billion) using various channels for an average of 2 hours 27 minutes each day, that’s a lot of engagement to measure.

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But engagement rate is much more than the number of thumbs-ups for a cute meme, shares of an article, or comments on a thought leadership piece. It’s a high-quality metric for audience analysis and an indicator of the value your content offers. Knowing how to calculate engagement rate gives you the ability to see what’s working, and it allows you to adjust things when they’re not.

But, engagement rates aren’t just for social media. They apply across most digital marketing channels, including email, website, and mobile apps. In digital marketing, when you see or hear about things like bounce rate, open rate, CTR, pages, and views, these are just a few popular engagement rate metrics that form part of the bigger picture of how engaged people are with what you do or say.

Here, we share how to calculate engagement rates with specific engagement rate formulas for social, web, and apps. Find out what engagement rates tell you about your digital performance and how regularly measuring engagement rates can help you achieve more.

How to calculate engagement rate

What is engagement rate?

Engagement rates track how much an audience is actively engaged with content. It can apply to social media, a website, or an app.

Engagement rate definition

If you type ‘what is engagement rate’ in Google, you’ll immediately see a list of engagement rate search terms that relate to social media platforms.

Engagement rate google search results

Social media is, after all, where engagement metrics were born – to measure the level of interaction with a campaign relative to your followers.

So why not expand that to your website, app, or Amazon product listing?

In the digital world, engagement rate is a formula that measures the amount of interaction your content receives relative to reach, your competitors, or the industry at large.

  • On social media, this can include interactions such as comments, likes, shares, or mentions.
  • For websites, engagement rate translates into actual clicks, time spent on your page, or downloads. 
  • For mobile apps, engagement rates show how sticky or useful your app is and ultimately measures your ability to meet your customer’s needs.

Engagement happens everywhere online. Seeing lots of interaction indicates that people are probably interested in reading more, which means more clicks on calls-to-action (CTAs) and a faster trip down the conversion funnel.

Social media engagement rates are all about “see and be seen.” People become followers because your brand is a trendsetter, you’re popular in their social circle, or you provide valuable content. But with website and app engagement, it’s a whole different story. High engagement on either of these channels means people are getting value from what you offer: they’re sticking around long enough to show a genuine interest, and your content is meeting their needs, in one way or another.

There are many reasons to learn more about calculating engagement rates, so let’s dive in.

Why do you need to track engagement rate?

  1. It allows you to analyze the efficacy of marketing campaigns
  2. It demonstrates whether your site, app, or page meets user expectations
  3. Good engagement goes hand in hand with brand loyalty and, in turn, retention
  4. It shows if the content is ‘doing its job.’ If engagement is low, it makes it easier to spot opportunities for improvement.  
  5. A great way to determine growth, without so-called vanity metrics (likes)

Importance of engagement rate

Monitoring engagement rate helps you determine the level of customer satisfaction and identify potential churns. It can tell you something about the quality of a piece of content or user experience (UX). A low engagement rate may signify a mismatch between what the user expects and what you offer.

How do you calculate engagement rate?

You can apply various engagement rate formulas to work this out manually. Most social media platforms offer analytics for relevant engagement metrics beyond the likes and comments you can see.

But how do you calculate the website engagement rates or those of your mobile apps?

Thankfully, there are tools to help with both (more on these below).

This leads me to my next question, how do you even define engagement on platforms that don’t provide vanity metrics typically found on social media?

Ps. Vanity metrics include the number of likes, shares, comments, retweets, follower count, etc. But by definition, this can be any action, such as viewing a video, downloading content, clicking through to another page, and more.

Our answer: it depends on your type of site, app, or business and how you provide value to customers.

Let’s look at how to calculate engagement rates online using different formulas.

Social media engagement rate formulas

The traditional formula for calculating engagement rate on social media is the sum of standard metrics (likes, shares, etc.) divided by the total number of followers.

Social media engagement rate formula

As the variety of social networks grows, so does the number of ways to connect with your followers. The outcome presents a very general notion about the level of engagement. Does a like carry the same weight as a retweet, a comment, or a direct message?

Factored or weighted engagement rate adds value to different types of engagement. Instead of counting each type of interaction, you add a numeric value, like a scoring system. For example, a comment might be worth twice as much as a like or share, and you’ll want to factor that in.

Weighted engagement rate forumla

Another question to ask is how many of your registered followers are active? Some Facebook followers may have moved their activity to Instagram and distorted your calculation.

Engagement rate by reach counts total engagements and divides it by total views. This is a slightly more accurate indicator of your audience’s engagement and highlights those who chose to interact with you after seeing your social media content. You can measure it per post, or you can measure the average engagement rate. When you measure per post, consider that reach will vary per post, which can sometimes be misleading.

Engagement rate by reach

Engagement rate per post limits the calculation to a single post and lets you assess and compare the performance of various post types. You can then take it a step further and find the average engagement rate for all your posts. Do this by adding up engagement rates and dividing them by the number of posts.   

engagement rate by post

Depending on your goal, you can apply any number of variations. You may want to measure daily engagement or a specific type of engagement, such as a video view or comment, or across a particular period.

Engagement rate formula for websites and apps

The engagement rate formula is slightly different between websites and apps, but it’s actually quite easy to do once you know how.

Website engagement rate formula

Before applying the formula, you must define an “engaged user” and determine the representative metrics.

  • How to calculate engagement rate for an app

The most popular ways to define an ‘engaged user’ on an app are monthly active users (MAU) or daily active users (DAU). To calculate the monthly app engagement rate, divide the number of MAUs (aka engaged users) by the total number of downloads, then multiply by 100.

Here’s an example of the formula in action. In this scenario, I’m looking at the Android app performance of Jetblue, a leading American airline.

Android app performance of Jetblue, a leading American airline.

Using Similarweb App Intelligence, I can see that Jetblue has 361,612 MAUs and 57,294 DAUs. In the last two years, they’ve had 801,618 unique downloads.

Using our app engagement formula, I take the MAU figure of 361,612/801,618 x 100, which gives me a monthly engagement rate of 45.11%.

If I want to measure daily engagement rates on the app, I do the same calculation but with the DAU figure. Using the engagement rate formula above, I can see the daily engagement rate for this app is 7.15%.

*Make sure you look at unique downloads and not overall downloads: these figures are vastly different due to duplicate downloads across multiple devices.

Other important engagement metrics for apps include time spent in-app, session per user, and retention rate.

How to calculate bounce rate on a website

Divide the number of single-page sessions by the total number of sessions. For instance, if 1000 users visit your website and 50 exit without making another request (single page session), your bounce rate will be 5%.

  • How to calculate conversion rate on a website

Take the number of conversions and divide this by the overall number of visitors. For instance, if your site receives 2000 visitors in one month and you achieve 50 sales, your conversion rate calculation would be: 50/2000 x 100 = 2.5%

Note that conversions aren’t always sales. It can refer to any chosen action you define.

To figure out what works for you, define the value your customers are getting and how you measure it. For example, if you offer a free trial period on an app, you may want your users to explore your online tutorials – that’s your offered value. Monitor and track how many new free users access tutorials and include the number in your engagement metrics. Then analyze if the percentage of users who sign up after reading your tutorials is higher than those who didn’t partake.

This will help you determine how valuable the tutorials are and if they impact customer acquisition. Remember this process is ongoing – after these users purchase a plan, the value you offer changes, and so do the activities that are relative to engagement.

Ways to measure engagement rate online

Each social media platform has tracking analytics that let you collect the data to establish engagement rates. A simple online engagement rate calculator will also do the job.

Use social media monitoring tools to simplify the process; these include:

  • For websites:
  • Hootsuite
  • Sprout
  • Google analytics
  • Google search console

For your website and app, use Google Analytics as a basis. Again, you can collect the data and apply the relevant formulas or let an advanced data analytics tool do the job for you.

Two examples of using Similarweb data to analyze engagement

With Similarweb Digital Research Intelligence, you get a granular view of a website or app engagement rate and essential engagement rate benchmarks. This allows you to take your audience analysis, competitive benchmarking, company research, and market research to a new level.

1. Measuring engagement rate by time

For apps:

  • Define active users – activities that represent engagement, user behavioral analytics, user journey mapping, usage time, etc.
  • Track engagement per cohort:
    • Monitor daily – useful for apps with a high activity volume (social media apps). Also referred to as Daily Active Users.
    • Monitor weekly – useful for most SaaS and commercial apps, eliminates activity spikes due to weekends and special offers, etc.
    • Monitor monthly – used to track long-term average in correlation with the previous or occasionally used apps. Also referred to as Monthly Active Users.
  • Apply formula and receive the percentage of how many users of a segment or cohort remain active over time.

App engagement

For websites:

You measure engagement to determine the quality and effectiveness of your content.  

Frequently used engagement metrics for websites include:

Monitor and track engagement regularly.

Website engagement

2. Measuring engagement rate by marketing mix

  • Understand the impact of your marketing channels:
    • Direct traffic – defined as URLs that people either type directly in the search bar or reach by clicking on saved bookmarks.
    • Organic search – The results of a search engine that cannot be influenced by paid advertising. Strong SEO will correlate to brand awareness and organic visits. 
    • Paid search – often associated with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Pay-Per-Click (PPC); refers to paying search engines such as Google to appear at the top of search results.
    • Social media – organic traffic coming to your website or app from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
    • Referrals – traffic originating from other referring sites, such as news and review sites, bloggers, and influencers.
    • Email – visitors who come to your website from email marketing campaigns are typically existing users.
  • Divide your users into separate cohorts by marketing channels. 

Measure and track the engagement rate per cohort over time. Understand where your most valuable customers come from and which marketing channel generates long-term, high-value customers.

Marketing channel overview

What is a good engagement rate?

Good engagement rates range between 0.04-16%, depending on the platform and business type. Various industries measure engagement differently because they define engagement differently. So, you can’t just compare numbers, as the average depends on multiple variables. 

Read on to see average engagement rates across different channels.

What is a good engagement rate on Facebook?

On Facebook, the average engagement rate has remained steady over the past two years at 0.08%. 

What is a good engagement rate on Instagram?

After experiencing a dramatic plunge in 2019, Instagram’s engagement rate has recovered and is now at 0.98% in 2021. 

What is a good engagement rate on TikTok?

Influencers on TikTok, have an average engagement rate of 16%, according to Statista 

What is a good engagement rate on Twitter?

Twitter shows a very stable, however relatively low average engagement rate of 0.045%.  

What is a good engagement rate on LinkedIn?

A good rate of engagement on LinkedIn is around 2%, but certain campaigns can reach 5% when the content is dynamic, such as with polls.

What is a good engagement rate for an app?

Good app engagement rates vary depending on the type of app. For instance, a news-related app would have a far higher daily engagement rate than a vehicle breakdown app. So this is where competitive benchmarking is key. You must evaluate typical app engagement metrics across at least ten competitors to get a good grounding for industry standards.

What is a good engagement rate for a website?

Average engagement rates vary greatly between industries. On average, B2B websites achieve above 63%, and B2C websites see an average of 71%. 

To assess what is a good engagement rate for you, you need to benchmark your website against competitors in your sector. You can follow these benchmarking best practices to guide you.

See below how Similarweb Digital Research Intelligence can help you do benchmarking to compare engagement rates against your rivals in less than 30 seconds. For this example, I chose the file sharing and hosting sector.

  • Industry overview

Industry overview Similarweb

Using the industry overview tab, I instantly see the top websites in my vertical and their total visit and traffic change % for my chosen period. Below, I can see industry total monthly visits, unique visitors, visit duration, pages per visit, and bounce rate stats. This gives me my engagement metrics for the industry in a single click.

  • Industry leaders

Industry leaders Similarweb

The industry leaders tab shows you the top & emerging players in your market, along with their yearly traffic change %. The rising player’s element makes it easy to spot emerging threats or opportunities for potential partnerships.

  • Website performance

Website performance Similarweb

In this scenario, I chose box.com as my own business and used the competitive analysis element to reveal a top-level view of website engagement metrics. This shows key traffic insights such as visits over time, geographical breakdown, engagement summary, top referrers, organic and paid share, key insights, and more.

The feature I value most about this page is the highlighted insights. 

Take a look below, and you’ll see why. 

Top search vs paid search terms

These insights guide you through useful data points in your industry, allowing you to make decisions that impact growth and help you boost engagement.

Use this to keep track of everything your rivals are doing online to gain traction, traffic, and engagement. You can dig into traffic and engagement metrics and see key insights presented in an actionable way.

Oh, and there are more of those helpful instant insights here too.

Competitive tracker

Competitive tracker Similarweb

To assess what is a good engagement rate for you, you need to benchmark your website against competitors in your sector. You can follow these benchmarking best practices to guide you.

Benchmark with competitors that have similar characteristics.

Three “must-dos” when measuring engagement rates

  • Benchmark with competitors that have similar characteristics. When running a website or app, it’s easy to overlook significant differences between similar services. Compare their engagement rates per marketing channel.
  • Make sure to measure and track true engagement rates and not just individual engagement metrics. When you see a lot of activity, you may be tempted not to analyze because you enjoy feeling popular. This can be deceiving. Be careful not to fall for vanity metrics
  • Keep in mind that marketing campaigns impact your engagement ratesYou may see a sudden spike in engagement followed by a period of cooling down. Take this into consideration when monitoring engagement rates over time.

Start your free trial today and learn how Similarweb Digital Research Intelligence and data analysis can help you track, measure, and improve your engagement rates today.

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Engagement Rate FAQ

What is engagement rate, and why do I need it?

Engagement rate is a set of metrics used to measure how many potential customers use or interact with your site or content. It’s an easy way to see if what you’re offering meets user expectations and ultimately, whether you’ll keep their interest in the long run.

How do I improve my engagement rates?

  • You can improve website engagement by focusing on these 10 key points.
  • Increase website load time
  • Simplify the appearance of the site – declutter the layout
  • Make it mobile-friendly
  • Add a live chat box
  • Improve site navigation
  • Focus on quality of content, not the number of words!
  • Solid linking structure
  • Appropriate CTAs
  • Showcase social proof
  • Address and respond to audience pain points in the content

What is a good engagement rate on social media?

Facebook has been at 0.08% steadily for two years, Instagram has recovered to 0.98% after a dramatic dip in 2019, Twitter has been at a low, but consistent 0.045%, and TikTok influencers take the cake with 16%.

How can I measure engagement rate for my website?

Frequently used engagement metrics for websites include Visits/Unique Visitors, Average Visit Duration, Average Pages/Visit, and Bounce Rate.

 

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