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How to Calculate Instagram Engagement Rate

Kinga Edwards
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Kinga Edwards

If you’re investing in Instagram marketing, you need to know how that investment is paying off. And while data like followers, likes, comments, and impressions are good indicators of page health, arguably the most important metric you should be tracking is engagement.

So how do you calculate Instagram engagement rate? Well, there’s no real cut-and-dry answer simply due to the vast array of possible interactions your audience can have with your page. Link clicks, saves, DMs, all of these count as engagement. So you can see how calculating “true” engagement can get tricky.

That’s why today we’ll guide you through different methods for calculating Instagram engagement, what actions count as engagement and why engagement is so important in the first place.

Let’s dive in.

Why is Instagram engagement so important? 

For many people starting out on Instagram, follower count is the golden metric. The more followers, the more people see your brand and the more leads you can push into your funnel. Right? Well, actually, no.

If the followers you have aren’t interested in converting, those followers are useless.

And it’s easy to fall into that rut. Many brands fail to realize that Instagram should be used as a business tool. You’re a business owner, not an influencer. The content you share should be relevant to a very specific group of people, a group that you can actually convert into paying customers.

And the best way to gauge the effectiveness of your Instagram content strategy is by analyzing engagement rates. Understanding how many people are engaging with your content and in what way they are engaging is crucial.

An average engagement rate helps in determining what qualifies as a good engagement rate and the impact on your social media performance. If you craft a piece of content that you want to be saveable and evergreen, measure the amount of saves, not just the amount of likes.

If you’re looking to increase the amount of comments, that’s a metric you should focus on.

The ultimate goal is to achieve more engagement through strategic content creation, emphasizing the importance of meaningful interactions and building a genuine and engaged community.

We’ll go more into depth about how to calculate Instagram engagement rate in a minute.

But first, let’s talk about fake followers.

The fake followers discussion 

Some of the biggest brands in the world make the same mistake of glamorizing their social media presence by buying fake followers. 

Pilotfish has compiled a list of global companies that have purchased fake followers. 

Fake followers hurt your page. This has been the consensus for a while now and yet many brands who are stuck with getting authentic engagement often resort to buying fake followers. Not only are fake followers immediately recognizable by anyone coming to your page, instantly hurting your brand’s image, Instagram’s community guidelines make it clear that fake followers will be purged on detection.  

Long story short, don’t buy fake followers. 

Instagram Engagement Formulas 

Before we list some of the most popular Instagram engagement formulas, it’s important to understand the different metrics that go into these calculations.

We mentioned earlier how there are many possible interactions people can have with your page.

Different goals call for different metrics to be measured and the engagement rate will change in accordance to those metrics.

Here’s a list of possible engagement metrics to consider in your formula:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Saves
  • DMs
  • Impressions
  • Link clicks
  • Story views
  • Story replies
  • In-story sticker taps
  • Branded hashtag followers
  • Mentions and tags

Engagement rate based on Reach 

This formula is good for determining the efficacy of your content in relation to the reach your posts or your account gets. 

There are two formulas you can use, one to measure the engagement rate for a single post and the other to measure the average rate across your entire profile: 

  • Formula 1 = (likes+comments) per post/ reach per post x 100
  • Formula 2 = Formula 1 / total amount of posts 

While this formula is good due to reach being a more accurate indicator than followers (not all of your followers will see all of your posts), reach can vary for different reasons that you can’t totally control. 

Engagement / Followers 

This formula is by far the most common and a lot of online tools use this equation, making it easy to benchmark your page against those of your competitors. The formula is simple:

Engagement Rate = (Total likes + total comments)/followers x 100

As we already mentioned, using followers as a key metric can be tricky since not all your followers will see every post you make. The percentage of your followers who see your post/ your amount of followers is defined as your reach rate. Your reach rate can give you a good indicator of the overall health of your page.


Another popular engagement rate formula, this equation takes your engagement divided the amount of times your content has been displayed:

Engagement rate = (total likes+ total comments) / account impressions x100 

Impressions differ from reach in that impressions are the total number of times your content has appeared on a screen whereas reach determines the amount of people who have seen your content. 

Impressions are a useful metric to track when determining ad efficacy. One key metric to keep an eye on when measuring things like ad fatigue is impressions and how they relate to your ad reach, frequency and CTR. 

Total engagement/ Impressions 

Total engagement includes likes, comments, saves and shares (if any). This benchmark can give you a holistic idea of how your content and page is performing. 

Engagement rate = (total likes + total comments + total saves + total shares) / account impressions x 100 

Things to consider when calculating engagement rate on Instagram 

While quantitative data is needed to calculate engagement rate, qualitative data also needs to be analyzed in order to get an idea of your true engagement. The great part about qualitative analysis is that you can customize based on your short or long-term goals.

Refer to the list of possible interactions we listed earlier and choose an objective that fits within your strategy.

For example, if you created a piece of content that aims to increase the amount of comments, check the comments (if any) under that post.

What are people saying? Are there any bots commenting? Are people providing quality feedback? This kind of qualitative analysis can be applied for DM’s, mentions and hashtags as well.

With the amount of bots and spam comments plaguing Instagram lately it’s important not to rely solely on hard numbers, but also how those interactions are affecting your overall business goals.

How to make the most of Instagram engagement rate

Use social media analytics tools for accurate engagement rate calculation

Understanding your Instagram engagement rate is a must-have for evaluating the effectiveness of your content strategy. Many marketers often rely on basic metrics, but, actually, using advanced social media analytics tools can provide a more accurate measure of your engagement rate on Instagram.

These tools analyze various metrics, including likes, comments, and shares, across all your posts to calculate your average engagement rate and tackle accurate measurement of your Instagram performance.

Example: A brand using Kontentino discovered that their video posts had a disproportionately high engagement rate compared to their photo posts. Now, they can adjust their content strategy accordingly for higher daily engagement.

Pro tip: Regularly compare your engagement rates against industry benchmarks to make sure that your content remains competitive and engaging.

Evaluating effectiveness based on follower growth analytics and engagement rates

To measure the effectiveness of your Instagram account, you should focus not only on your follower count but also on engagement rates. Follower growth analytics combined with engagement rate data provide a more accurate measurement of your social media performance.

Using detailed analytics, you can gauge interactions based on how many posts followers engage with, measure daily comments, and assess video multiple times to understand your audience’s preferences. Such comprehensive approach helps in creating content that consistently achieves a good engagement rate and growing number of followers.

Example: An influencer used Instagram engagement rate calculators and follower growth analytics to identify that their engagement rates were way higher when they posted interactive stories. This single conclusion leads to an increased focus on story content.

Pro tip: Consistently monitor both new and old posts to identify trends and make adjustments to your content strategy for sustained engagement growth.

Repurposing well-performing content to boost Instagram engagement rates and follower count

To maintain high Instagram engagement rates, reusing nicely performing content is a strategic approach that many social media managers calculate as part of their social media management. Focusing on analyzing post by post engagement using a free engagement rate calculator, they can identify which posts have garnered the most interaction from your followers.

Most social media managers repurpose this content in various formats to generate engagement across multiple posts. For instance, a popular photo post can be transformed into a short video or a carousel post to reach different segments of your target audience. This strategy not only saves time but also leverages content that has already proven successful.

Social media is all about testing out – but if you have some formats that already make your social strategy a really powerful one, why wouldn’t you give that another go?

Example: A brand manager observed that a specific photo had a high engagement rate. Through repurposing it into a video and a story, they managed to necessarily engage multiple times with the same follower, achieving a more stable metric of engagement.

Pro tip: Regularly review your engagement data with an Instagram engagement rate calculator to find high-performing posts and repurpose them in creative ways to keep your content fresh and engaging.

Leveraging an average engagement rate to optimize paid content strategy

Many say that organic reach is dead – but, in reality, it can work really well along with paid reach, complementing its features and power.

Social media managers should evaluate effectiveness based on these rates to ensure their content resonates with their target audience. Most social media influencers calculate their success by examining all the ER posts, using specific formulas to measure engagements.

Analyzing the engagement rates of previous activity can help in refining future content strategies, improve impression figures, and get more engaged users on board. A formula that replaces reach with more meaningful metrics like total engagements and daily engagements can offer deeper insights into how followers interact with paid content, with average ER being a side effect of it.

Example: A brand manager discovered through ER post equations that their sponsored posts had higher engagement when aligned with their organic content themes. Among many other results, this led to a significant increase in ER impressions and viral reach for their paid campaigns.

Pro tip: Regularly monitor ER post performance to adjust your paid content strategy – all of that to make sure that each specific post aligns with the engagement patterns of your audience.

Utilizing cross-promotion to boost Instagram engagement rates

Cross-promotion on various social media platforms improves Instagram engagement rates – more than you think. Leveraging your presence on other platforms drives traffic and engagement to your Instagram account. Sharing Instagram content on Facebook, X, or LinkedIn broadens your audience, encouraging followers from other networks to engage with your Instagram posts.

Engagement rates improve when introducing Instagram content to users who may not yet follow you on Instagram. Instagram influencers and brands often share snippets or previews of Instagram posts, stories, or videos on other platforms, enticing users to visit Instagram for the full content.

Example: A beauty brand noticed an uptick in their average engagement rates after starting to share Instagram tutorials and product launches on their YouTube channel and Facebook page. Providing links and clear calls to action successfully drove their YouTube and Facebook audiences to Instagram.

Sephora has already leveraged that, even back in 2023!

Pro tip: Promote Instagram content on other social media platforms to drive traffic and engagement, while using analytics to measure the effectiveness of these efforts and adjust your strategy accordingly.


Instagram engagement rate is not just a set of random numbers – it’s one of the most important metrics on social media for your brand.

Improving your Instagram engagement rate requires a strategic approach.

Utilize social media analytics tools for accurate measurements, repurpose well-performing content, and leverage cross-promotion across platforms. Incorporating industry benchmarks allows you to evaluate effectiveness based on a more accurate measure of your engagement rate.

Remember that the right formula measures engagements accurately and can replace simple reach metrics – to give you EVEN deeper insights into your content’s performance.

Our strategies will necessarily provide a fair amount of improvement in your Instagram engagement. Now it’s your turn to apply these techniques and watch your engagement rates soar. We keep our fingers crossed!


What is the formula for engagement rate?

The formula measures engagements by dividing the total number of engagements (likes, comments, shares) by the total number of followers, then multiplying by 100 to get a percentage.

What is a good engagement rate on Instagram?

A good engagement rate on Instagram typically ranges from 1% to 3%. Rates above 3% are considered excellent and indicate highly engaging content.

How to calculate influencer engagement rate?

To calculate influencer engagement rate, divide the total number of engagements on an influencer’s posts by their total number of followers, then multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

How do you calculate reach rate on Instagram?

Calculate reach rate by dividing the number of unique users who saw your post by your total number of followers, then multiply by 100 to get a percentage. This formula replaces reach with a more accurate metric.

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