How to Calculate Average Engagement Rate Qualitatively

Where to invest? What type of content to create? How to identify active contributors in my social communities? Knowing the engagement rate of your fans and followers on your social media platforms, can give answers to some of these questions. This tutorial explains the steps to measure your engagement rate quantitatively as well as qualitatively.

Social Engagement

Engagement may refer to any instance of interaction that happens between customers and a brand on any digital or real world channels, but social engagement focuses on such interactions that take place on social media platforms.

Average Rate of Engagement - 'Number' Approach

Traditionally, the average rate of engagement is calculated using a formula that takes into account the total number of interactions that happen on a social media platform like Facebook on a given day and the total number of fans that a brand has its fan page. However the contention is that this formula obviously treats all types of contributions and interactions equal. In reality, different interactions refer to different levels of affinity and efforts. For instance, a follower who shares your Facebook post in his social network demonstrates a higher level of affinity to your brand or that particular post than a fan who clicks the "like" button.

Valuing Engagement Efforts

Categorization and putting value to different levels of participation, therefore, is key to arrive at a qualitative engagement rate. Broadly, there could be as many as four levels of participation: low, high, higher and the highest. You can put a score for each type of interaction - highest score for the interaction that require highest efforts or shows highest affinity.

Holistic Formula for Average Engagement Rate Per Post

When we say holistic, it means the formula takes into account not only the quantity but also the quality of interactions that take place on a particular day around a particular content in a particular social media platform. Here is the formula for you to arrive at the average engagement rate per post at your Facebook fan page.

This formula demands that you have the following information with you: 1) List of interaction types for the particular social media platform (in the case of Facebook, it could be post views, likes, shares, and comments) 2) Score (points) you have assigned to each type of interaction (as shown in the table, it could be 1 for post views, 2 for likes, 3 for shares, and 4 for comments) 3) Maximum possible score of the group (maximum possible score of one member, multiplied by the total number of members in the group) 4) And, the total number of likes, shares, and comments multiplied by their score points

A Sample Calculation

Company X has a Facebook fan page with 10,000 followers. Going by the scoring logic of 2/like, 3/comment, and 4 four/share, the maximum possible score of all the followers can be 90,000. Let us say that a post on a product offering has got 500 likes, 200 comments, and 25 shares, the total score would be 1000 + 600 + 100 = 1700. Now the average engagement rate for the particular post is 1.88

Fan Pages with Over A Million Fans

When a Fan Page garners support of over a million fans, we can apply the Pareto Principle - also known as 80/20 principle or the Law of the Vital Few, which states that 80% of anything comes from 20% of your "something". Going by this common rule of thumb, we can take only 20% of the million fans as active fans. For an example, let us take the case of a status update on Facebook Stories, one of the latest posts at the Facebook fan page, and calculate the average engagement rate of the post.

As the screen shot shows, there were 8229 likes, 1,372 shares, and 5,997 comments. The total number of fans Facebook has - as on September 22, 2012, is 72,554,444. If we go by the score card we already have for each type of interaction, then the formula will look like this:

The average engagement rate of this particular post is about 0.006. However, when we take only 20% of their fans - the active fans, and not the total number of fans. That would mean the number 72,554,444 (the total number of fans) will be replaced by 14510888 (20% of the total number of fans). Now the average engagement rate for the particular post would be a meaningful: 3.05.

With appropriate changes, the formula can be used to calculate the average engagement rate per day, and even the average engagement rate of every community member.