Engagement on Instagram: How to Calculate and Increase ER


Instagram has a huge audience, but it is not so easy to win its attention due to the high competition. SMM managers used to chase the number of followers, today everyone is interested in the quality of the audience and engagement in Instagram. This is one of the key indicators that directly affects the ranking of posts in the “smart” feed. Ignoring this parameter, it is impossible to succeed on Instagram.

Engagement on Instagram - How to Calculate and Increase ER

What Engagement Rate in Instagram Is

Engagement Rate (ER) is the average number of reactions to content made by the average subscriber. This indicator reflects how actively the audience interacts with the content of the account. It’s a measure of how many users are watching, liking, commenting on, and saving your content.

In other words, engagement rate is the percentage of follower engagement. This means that a huge number of followers is not at all an indicator of high engagement in an account. On the contrary, small accounts have better ER due to the quality of the audience. With a huge number of followers, it’s much harder to get good results.

Why Measure Audience Engagement

By the engagement of the account, you can judge many important parameters for promotion in Instagram:

  • The level of trust in the brand. By assessing the ER you can understand how much the audience trusts the brand. Subconsciously, people are not willing to interact with content in any way and initiate a dialogue if they expect deception.
  • Popularity. Nothing reflects popularity as well as ER. This indicator shows what success has been achieved and what loyalty has been earned. For example, PlayAmo 36 has high ER, as this platform is popular among gambling fans. Obviously, the more you are liked and commented on, the more popular you are.
  • Virality of the content. Judging by the audience’s response, you can judge the likelihood of how many users are likely to be interested in your content. It helps to know if the content is cool enough to want to share.
  • ER tells you exactly how interesting your product or brand is to Instagram users.

Engagement rate is important for any stage of business development and plays an important role in competitive marketing analysis. By calculating your engagement rate, you can understand:

  • How audience response to different posts differs.
  • Which content works better and which works worse.
  • How to make an account as effective as possible, even without having a huge number of subscribers.

What Kind of ER Is Good

There is no exact numerical value for what ER can be considered good – it all depends on the amount of audience.

The more readers there are in an account, the lower their level of engagement. In general, this is a standard situation.

There is also an opinion that Instagram intentionally pessimizes the posts of users with a large number of followers and business accounts to encourage them to buy ads, but this is not proven.

Such a factor as audience reach plays an important role for ER. A total of four groups of followers can be distinguished:

  • No more than 500 subscriptions: your posts are frequently flashed in their newsfeed.
  • Between 500 and 1,000 subscriptions: occasionally stumble across your posts in their feed.
  • From 1,000 to 2,000 subscriptions: getting caught by these users is great luck.
  • Over 2000 subscriptions: in general these are commercial accounts who have subscribed to you for the purpose of mass following. They don’t watch your feed at all.

The more followers you have with a low number of outgoing subscriptions, the more frequently they see your posts and the higher their engagement. Consequently, different engagement rates are normal for accounts with different subscriber bases.

Normal ER is different for everyone:

  • From 5K-10K – 10-20%;
  • Over 10K – up to 5%;
  • Over 100K – 3%;
  • Profiles with a multimillion audience – 1%.

Naturally, these figures are only guidelines. Each specific account has to be considered individually. For example, achieving a high engagement rate in an account specializing in the promotion of B2B products and services is many times more difficult than in the travel or beauty industry.

How to Calculate ER in Instagram

Here is how to calculate manually:

  • Add up all the likes and comments from recent posts.
  • Derive the average activity of subscribers. To do this, divide the resulting amount by the number of posts that were taken into account in the calculation.
  • Divide the obtained number by the number of subscribers in the account, and then multiply by 100 to get the engagement expressed as a percentage.

What User Engagement Affects

Instagram has long since switched to a “smart” feed algorithm. The ranking of posts in users’ feeds now depends on how actively your followers interact with the content. Shows, reach, and engagement are all closely related metrics. If a post gathers a good response – it means it’s interesting to people and needs to be shown to as many users as possible. If the post remains unresponsive, it goes down in prominence.

Display and coverage is the main thing that engagement affects, but it’s not the only thing. Engagement can build trust in the account owner. Let’s imagine a situation where you’ve been invited to a party. Everything seems great at the party – good music, food and drinks, but all the invitees are standing in corners, not communicating with each other at all, and not having fun. Most likely the first thing you’ll think of the host of the party is a boring and uninteresting person who can’t entertain his invited guests. This is exactly the same on Instagram. If there’s silence in the comments, it’s a bad party.

It’s different if there’s a lively discussion below the posts, with followers interacting with the account owner and each other. Newcomers want to stay and become part of this community. Probably they won’t want to become friends right away, but they will at least want to keep an eye on what is going on.

How to Increase Your ER

Engagement shows how active your followers are. The more likes, comments and saves you get from them, the higher the ER level in the account. Consequently, in order to increase engagement, you need to move towards improving the quality of your content and the quality of your audience.

Of course, each case needs an individual approach to account development. Here are some basic recommendations that can help increase ER.

Quality Content

Staying on track for quality and interesting content is half the battle.

Users like and comment differently on different publications. On the same account, different posts can garner hundreds or thousands of likes. It all depends on what information is published and how it is presented.

Colorful photos, sincere selfies, juicy info-talks gather the most number of likes and comments. People most often save something useful in bookmarks. For example, recipes, checklists, tips, and so on.

Bring up current topics, post something compromising, provoke discussion. Making every post engaging is difficult, but there’s no need to be. Just periodically “feed it” with something intriguing and special.

Timing of Publication

Engagement for publication depends a lot on the timing of its posting. Publishing your posts at the right time ensures that most of your subscribers will see them. Along with this, the likelihood of likes and comments increases many times over.

Subscribers’ activity usually peaks in the evening, but it is individual for each case. Statistics will help you determine the right time to publish. Find out which posts and those published at what time get more likes, track your subscribers’ priority online time.

Communicate With Your Followers

Take an interest in the opinions of your followers, don’t ignore their comments.

Ask your followers what they would like to see on your account. Describe a situation you’ve encountered and ask for advice. Ask a topical question. A win-win situation is to bring up a hot topic and provoke discussion. No matter what it will be – political news, a sensation in the world of celebrities, or a provocative question – the number of comments will definitely make you happy.


Stories are published at the top of the feed, so statistically they collect more likes and comments.

With Stories, you can draw attention to the main feed posts. Record stories announcing upcoming interesting events in your account. This can be anything – announcements of new products, promotions, discounts, events. The main thing is to make the news interesting for your subscribers, then they will follow your profile news and thus increase their engagement.

You can also reply to Stories, which is another activity that increases engagement. Be sure to make sure this feature is active in your stories.


One of the best ways to increase engagement is to take surveys. Publishing polls lets your subscribers know that their opinion is important to you, teaches them to communicate, and provokes them to leave comments.

Uncomplicated questions are followed up with answer choices right away. Who wouldn’t want to give their opinion if it’s that simple?


Videos rule today. Not everyone likes to read long texts. Everyone’s stress level is too high and often they just want to relax while watching unobtrusive content.

Make bright, dynamic, and funny videos, try to tell something important in a video format. If done right, people will start actively commenting and sharing your videos. In addition, videos statistically gather more likes and comments.

Engagement is one of the key indicators for SMM in Instagram. There’s too much that depends on this metric to simply ignore it. Unfortunately, engagement in an account is not raised in a single post or contest. It’s a painstaking job that requires a step-by-step process and constant monitoring. The most important thing in the pursuit of high engagement is to remain yourself and be genuine. Only then will the number of your followers and their engagement grow steadily.


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