Understanding Your Social Media Metrics: Part 2 – Engagement

6 mins read

This article explains the social media metrics associated with engagement, including average engagement rate, audience growth rate, and likes/shares/comments.

If you have a social media channel running, it is important to know and understand the data you can access from social platforms; this data is called metrics. Metrics include information which will help you understand if your social media goals are being met, and will help determine if your social strategy is working.

The world of social media metrics can be a confusing world to dive into. Third party companies that provide analytics reports breaking down your metrics may use confusing terminology and may even skew the data to highlight the value they provide, instead of the metrics that actually provide value to your company. We have broken down the basic metrics into a 3 part series to help you clearly understand the various social media metrics and the language used. The second category we will explain in this article is engagement.


Engagement informs you how many people are interacting with the content you post on your social media channels. This metric tells you how interested your audience is in the content you are posting and will also highlight what content is relatable or not. From this information, you are able to adjust your social media strategy to better align with the content your audience is interested in. There really is no point to your social awareness if it is not leading to some form of engagement. Imagine you threw a party, and a lot of people showed up, yet no one was talking, dancing, or socializing at all; there was no engagement. Would your party be a true success? Sure, the RSVP list may have looked good, but did the guests really have fun? Engagement is why you threw the party, and also how you gage if they had fun. Social media engagement can be shown in many forms such as comments, shares, likes, clicks, and saves. Here are 3 metrics that relate to engagement:

Average Engagement Rate

This rate is the number of engagement actions, (i.e. likes, shares, comments), a post receives, relative to your total number of followers. This is an important metric as a higher number directly demonstrates that your content is resonating with your audience, while a lower number shows you need to adjust your content to become more relevant for your audience. As your average engagement rate rises, the actual number of likes, shares, and comments become less relevant. If your engagement rate is lower, it is more likely a third party company will shy away from this metric and instead show you the individual number of likes, shares, and comments. Remember, you want everyone to be having a good time, not just a packed room of people ignoring one another.

Audience Growth Rate

This measures the speed your following is increasing on social media, or how quickly you are gaining followers. Instead of answering the questions “How many new followers did I get last month?”, this answers “How fast did I gain last month’s new followers – and was it faster than our competition?”. So this metric, compares your growth internally as well as against your competitors. Your audience growth rate is an important factor in figuring out your potential reach in the awareness section.

Likes, shares, comments

These metrics are an example of “vanity metrics”; aspects you can measure that don’t really speak to social media success and can be easily manipulated. These metrics are good for feeling awesome, however aren’t useful for action. You may have a very high amount of likes on a particular post, but what does that truly mean? A like shows engagement with your post, however if that like doesn’t lead to interaction with your products or services, was it really a beneficial metric to track? Vanity metrics such as the number of likes, shares, or comments, can be easily skewed by third party companies to demonstrate the value they are offering with these metrics instead of highlighting the metrics that provide useful information for your company and social goals.

Metric Madness Made Clear!

There you have it – the confusing world of social media metric madness summarized in clear, understandable language. In summary, engagement informs you on the consumer interactions with your brand. Now that you have a better understanding of some of the engagement metrics associated with social media, we challenge you to contemplate the following question: “How can we improve consumer engagement with our brand?”

Look out for Understanding Your Social Media Metrics – Part 3 – Conversions

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