Engagement Rate

When you are managing pages for Brands,one point where you stress too much on is what is the engagement happening on your page. This is a necessity when you want to know how many people are actually caring about what you post and finding them worth liking,commenting or sharing.

It is a simple maths to follow, the more the engagement on your posts,the more likely Facebook will feature your posts in your fan’s newsfeed. This is done by Facebook’s algorithm ‘EdgeRank’. However, many people stress on calculating engagement score by following one method.

Engagement Rate = People Talking About / # of Fans

However, i feel there are 2 ways to look at this. For me, the actual Engagement Rate is not the formula jotted above and i will explain why.

So, What is People Talking About This metric by Facebook?

Answer: You may already know it by now, But for beginners,referring Inside Facebook’s this post

People Talking About This is the number of unique users who have created a “story” about a page in a seven-day period. On Facebook, stories are items that display in News Feed. Users create stories when they:

  • like a page
  • post on the page wall
  • like a post
  • comment on a post
  • share a post
  • answer a question
  • RSVP to a page’s event
  • mention the page in a post
  • tag the page in a photo
  • check in at a place
  • share a check-in deal
  • like a check-in deal
  • write a recommendation

However, PTAT does include most of the actions taken by the Facebook users.However, It does not include Photo Clicks or video plays or link clicks happening on this posts. So what includes all the other things?

Answer: Engaged Users

Facebook only considers those actions under PTAT which create stories on Facebook and help the story get viral. So when you comment on a post, it is reflected on your Friend’s timeline. Hence, your friend is more likely to check the post and comment on it. But when you view a photo posted by the page, that in no way appears on your friend’s timeline or in other words, ‘No Story is created’ out of it. But then, does Facebook does not consider viewing a photo or consuming a video as Engagement?

Engagement is any action a user takes on the post voluntarily

Viewing a photo or consuming a video  may not be on the same lines as commenting or sharing on the post. But for me, that is engagement nonetheless.You view a video or click a link when you are curious enough to and hence do some action on the post via a video play or a link click. Hence, Engaged Users actually look a more likely candidate for calculating Engagement Rate than People Talking About This.

And what about the # of Fans? It is a well known fact that a post posted does not actually reach out to 100% of your fans.The number it actually reaches out to is the ‘Total Reach’ which is available via Facebook Insights. # of Fans is more of a Potential Reach to me, but the actual engagement rate is better to be calculated as the actual engaged users divided by the actual number of people the post is reaching out to.

Suppose you posted a video related post which reached out to only 80,000 people while your page had 100,000 Fans. The number of People Talking About were 5,000. How you can say the page has 5% engagement when you are reaching out to only 80% of the number you had in the denominator(Fans). That for me is not Actual Engagement. So what is? We should also be considering the number of Video Plays happening on this post to see how the actual video fared across the number of users it reached out to. The Proposed Formula:

Engagement Rate: Engaged Users/ Total Reach

The Engaged Users would obviously be more than PTAT (say 8,000) and the Reach being 80,000. The actual ER in the above case would be 10%. So would the new formula boost your Engagement Rate? Basic Mathematics here says it should. Most of the Rich Media posts/Link based posts would now reflect proper sense of engagement across them. This would not only be true sense of measurement but also be a true bench marking to compare type of posts with each other.

But then, one point why Industries take PTAT and # of Fans and not the other way is because these metrics are publicly available while Engaged Users or Reach is not (It is available to you only when you are the admin of the page). This helps brands to set up competitive analysis against each other and fare themseleves.So PTAT/Fans is a more popular choice to calculate Engagement Rate.

Which method would you prefer? Leave your thoughts in comments.