Is Your Instagram Engagement as Bad as You Think?
If you’ve noticed your Instagram engagement is down, well, you’re not alone! It’s down for everyone, across the board.
The reality is that engagement has taken a hit on Instagram in recent years – and it’s totally understandable. So, first, let’s talk about why and how engagement is down. Then let’s figure out if yours is really as bad as you think it is.
Engagement on Instagram today, in early 2023, is about 0.9% on average. Back in 2020, it was about 3%. So, yes, it’s taken a hit.
Well, first of all there are more users on the platform now than there were 3 years ago, 5 years ago, 8 years ago, etc. More people means more casual users (they don’t log in a bunch of times a day, or even multiple times a week) so you may gain followers but they just aren’t as active. More people means more competition for your content. That’s just plain math as platforms get more saturated.
But most importantly was that we had a MAJOR shift in 2020 during the pandemic.
You see, pre-2020, we had a status quo between the relative number of users (people consuming content) and brands (people creating content). But during the pandemic, we saw an influx of users consuming content (we were all on our phones and computers at home all day) AND we saw an influx of brands creating content (it was the only way to reach our customers). So both jumped up in volume.
BUT, as things started to go back to “normal”, the consumers went back to work, school, and busy lives – meaning less time on the platform. Brands, however, kept creating at the same schedule and frequency.
So we ended up with MORE content created and not as many people to consume it. Thereby creating a drastically lower engagement rate across the board. Is it frustrating? Sure. But we can’t change it. We have to set new baselines for our content performance and STOP comparing our content to performance metrics from 2+ years ago.
On that note…
Let’s calculate your engagement rate!
Here’s a simple and quick recap of what you’re about to read below:
How to Calculate Your Engagement Rate
Here’s the simple formula:
[ (Total Post Engagement) / (Follower Count) ] x 100
(Or total post engagement (likes and comments) divided by your follower count times 100.)
For the sake of argument, I am telling you to divide by follower count because that’s the public metric and makes for a fair assessment of anyone’s account.
Technically, though, your true engagement rate is actually engagement divided by your post reach. You can’t get engagement if no one saw a post! BUT, no one else can see your post reach so we typically measure engagement based on total followers.
So, if you have 52 likes and 9 comments on a post and you have 1720 followers:
(52 + 9) / 1720 = 0.035
0.035 x 100 = 3.5%
You’ll want to do this for a number of “average” posts to determine your average engagement rate. If you have most of your posts getting between 60 and 80 likes per post, go with an average engagement of 70 likes to calculate your AVERAGE engagement rate. Then, if you have a post that got 121 likes, you know that’s a positive outlier with a higher engagement rate.
How Does Your Engagement Rate Compare?
As I mentioned, the average engagement rate right now (May 2023) is about 0.9%. So if you’re over 1% average engagement, you’re better than the average across Instagram.
But, of course, that’s the average across ALL accounts. Small, large, private, public, active, dormant, etc.
Also, for context, right now, the average engagement rate on Facebook is 0.17% and Twitter is 0.07%. So, even at 1% engagement on Instagram, that’s higher than most other platforms.
If you’re a smaller account with less than 1000 followers, you can expect to see engagement around 5-10% on your posts. As your account grows, it’s natural to see that engagement decrease. Accounts with 10,000 or more followers start to go down to the 1-3% engagement rate.
Your industry and brand focus will also impact your engagement. If you’re in the fashion or beauty industry, chances are you’ll see higher engagement rates compared to a technology company in a highly specialized niche. That just has to do with the nature of what people are interacting with while on Instagram. Now, that doesn’t mean that the tech company can’t use IG well – you absolutely can! It just means having different metrics of “success”. Things like leads, website traffic, video views, etc.
The real key to measuring your engagement rate isn’t to compare yourself to competitors, other brands, or even average business metrics. Instead, find your current baseline. If your current engagement rate is around 2%, what can you do to raise YOUR engagement rate? Find those positive outliers that have higher than “normal” engagement on your acc