Instagram Engagement Rate – What You Need To Know

As Instagram is testing the notion of doing away with the “like” button on posts, it has content creators scrambling for the next form of measurement.  Measurement that not only highlights how their content is performing but that also impacts the algorithm in their favor. Enter engagement. In this week’s blog post we focus on Instagram Engagement Rate – What You Need To Know.


Let’s Dive In!


What Is Engagement Rate?

Engagement rate is a measurement that tells you how engaged or involved your audience is with your posts.  

The next question that usually comes up is, how can you tell how involved your audience is and what actually counts has engagement?  I’m glad you asked!

Engagement or audience involvement goes waaaaay beyond a “like” or a comment underneath a post.  It’s a combination of any action that is taken on your post. The more actions your posts get, the higher your engagement rate.  Below are some examples of engagement actions people may take when interacting with your posts:

  1. Like
  2. Comment
  3. Share
  4. Save
  5. Profile Visits
  6. Follows

Why Engagement Rate Matters

The above list illustrates all the different things people can do when they come across your post.  You know your post is “winning” when you can intrigue your audience to stop the scroll and take MASSIVE action.  Your goal is to get as many of the 6 actions listed above with each and every post. Some of the actions won’t happen each time someone interacts with your post, and that’s ok.  For example, if someone is already following you and they see your post, you aren’t going to get that item on the engagement list.


Why does all of this even matter???  Great question! Your post engagement rate should matter because it is a gauge as to how important your content is to your followers and the new people who stumble onto your posts.  If you are getting a high engagement rate on your posts and people are genuinely engaging with your content, this activity sends signals to the algorithm that your content is valuable, people like it, and they want more of it.  When engagement signals are sent to the algorithm, the algorithm will show it to more people. When there are no engagement signals, the algorithm will turn down the volume on your post, lessening the reach. 

Top Tips For Getting Engagement

Now that you understand why engagement is so important, how do you get more of it on each and every post you put on Instagram.  Below are my top tips:

  • CONTENT:  Take a good look at your content.  Be critical. Is it your absolute best content, or are you posting just for posting sake?
  • VALUE:  Ask yourself if what you are posting offers value.  Why would your audience care? Is the content you are posting:  Helpful? Educational? Inspiring? Entertaining?
  • SHAREABLE:  Think about your audience for a minute.  By sharing your content, will it make your audience look good?  This goes back to value. If your content is valuable enough and your audience shares it, it will make them look good because they are recommending a post that is going to help those who follow their account.
  • GO DEEP:  Valuable posts tend to be deep and meaty.  They include lots of details that will prompt people to hit the “save” button so that they can refer back to the post later.
  • USE CAROUSEL POSTS:  This is one of the most under-used features on Instagram.  Carousel posts are great for “stopping the scroll” and encouraging followers to interact with a post by swiping left.  Swiping left is recognized by the algorithm as a form of engagement. Use carousel posts to share a story, show transformations, or to teach something.  Get creative and use a mixture of static images and video to keep your audience interested and engaged.
  • ASK FOR ENGAGEMENT:  Instruct your audience to like, comment, share, and save whenever possible.  Audiences need to be told what to do next. Don’t assume that your audience knows what to do with your post next.

How To Calculate Engagement Rate

There is an actual calculation that you can use to measure how well a post is doing.  To calculate engagement rate for each post, go to your post insights (the blue text underneath your post that says “view insights) and plug the numbers into this equation:


Engagement Rate = (Likes+Comments+Saves)/Impressions x 100 = %


Pay attention to your engagement rate percentage per post and rank them from highest to lowest.  Pay attention to the type of content that is ranking high. This is the content your audience wants from you and finds valuable.  Create more of that type of content going forward.



Final Thoughts – Less May Be MORE

Creating high value content is time consuming.  It usually involves thoughtful insight and research.  If you don’t have the time to post high engaging, highly valuable content on the daily, then don’t.  Use this blog post as PERMISSION to scale back your posting frequency to possibly 3 times a week instead of 5 or 7.  In fact, I would much rather see you post 3 high value posts per week instead of 5 posts that are “filler” posts – posts just for the sake of posting.


If you have questions about engagement rates, or you have ideas that have worked for you, let me know in the comment section!

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