Instagram engagement: how to calculate and increase ER

Instagram engagement: how to calculate and increase ER

The number of active Instagram users exceeds 500 million. This is a colossal audience, but it is not so easy to win its attention due to the high competition. Previously, SMM managers were chasing the number of subscribers, today everyone is interested in the quality of the audience and engagement on Instagram. This is one of the key metrics that directly affects the ranking of posts in the smart feed. Ignoring this parameter, it is simply impossible to achieve success on Instagram.

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What is Instagram engagement

Engagement (from the English Engagement Rate (ER) is the engagement rate) – the average number of reactions to content made by one average subscriber. This metric reflects how actively the audience interacts with the content of the account. Basically, it is an indicator of how many users watch, like, comment on and save your content.

In other words, engagement is the percentage of the number of followers to the number of displays of activity. This means that a huge number of followers is not at all an indicator of high engagement in an account. In contrast, on smaller accounts, ER tends to be better at the expense of audience quality. With a huge number of subscribers, it is much more difficult to achieve a good result.

Why measure audience engagement

By the engagement of the account, one can judge about many parameters important for promotion on Instagram:

  • The level of trust in the brand. By evaluating the ER indicator, you can understand how much the audience trusts the brand. Subconsciously, people are not ready to interact with the content in any way and initiate a dialogue if they expect deception.
  • Popularity. Nothing reflects popularity as well as ER. This indicator shows what successes have been achieved and how much loyalty they have earned. Obviously, the more people like and comment on you, the more popular you are.
  • Content virality. By the audience response, you can judge the likelihood of how many users may be interested in the content. This helps you understand if the content is cool enough to be shared.
  • “Instagram”. ER indicates how interesting your product or brand is for Instagram users.

Engagement rate is important at all stages of business development and plays an important role in marketing competitive analysis. By calculating your engagement rate, you can figure out:

  • how the audience response to different posts differs;
  • which content performs better or worse;
  • how to make your account as efficient as possible without even having a huge number of followers.

Which ER is considered good

Хороший ER

There is no exact numerical value, which ER can be considered good – it all depends on the number of audience.

Generally, the more readers an account has, the lower their engagement rate. In general, this is a standard situation.

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

An important factor for ER is the reach of the audience. In total, four groups of followers can be distinguished:

  • No more than 500 outbound subscriptions: Your posts often appear in their news feed.
  • From 500 to 1000 subscriptions: From time to time they stumble upon your posts in the feed.
  • Between 1,000 and 2,000 subscriptions: it’s a great success to be spotted by these users.
  • More than 2000 subscriptions: mostly commercial accounts that subscribed to you for mass following purposes. They don’t watch the feed at all.

The more followers you have with a small number of outgoing subscriptions, the more often they see posts and the higher the engagement. Therefore, different engagement metrics will be considered normal across accounts with different subscriptions.

Normal ER is different for everyone:

  • from 5K-10K – the normal rate is 10-20%;
  • over 10K – up to 5%;
  • over 100K – 3%;
  • profiles with a million audience – 1%.

Naturally, these indicators are only guidelines. Each specific account needs to be considered individually. For example, it is much more difficult to achieve a high engagement rate in an account specializing in promoting goods and services in the B2B category than in a tourism or beauty direction.

How to calculate ER on Instagram

In fact, ER is nothing more than the ratio of subscribers to their active actions on the account. Knowing a few basic profile metrics, such as followers, likes and comments, you can easily calculate your engagement rate.

Manually using the formula

Algorithm, how to calculate manually:

  1. First, add all the likes and comments from the latest posts.
  2. Next, you need to display the average subscriber activity. To do this, divide the received amount by the number of posts that were taken into account in the calculation.
  3. Divide the resulting number by the number of subscribers in the account, and then multiply by 100 to get the engagement expressed as a percentage.

For example, consider the blogger account MARGARITA MURADOVA. Going to the profile, we see that Margarita has 257 thousand subscribers and over 4K posts.

Инстаграм Риты Мурадовой

Let’s take the last three publications for the calculation. So:

  • first post – 8.5K likes and 23 comments;
  • second – 13.1K likes, 53 comments;
  • third – 14.8 likes and 72 likes.

Публикации Риты Мурадовой Let’s count. Summing up all the likes and comments, we get the figure 36548 – these are the active actions of users. Next, the amount received must be divided by three, since we took into account only the last three publications, and we get 12182 – the average number of actions per post. Divide the resulting number by the number of followers (257K) and multiply by 100%. We get an ER of 4.74%.

Mathematically, it looks like this: ((8500 + 23 + 13100 + 53 + 14800 + 72) / 3) * 100% = 4.74%

Via trendHERO

ER в trendHERO

The trendHERO analytics service is perhaps the easiest way to find out the ER in your account. With trendHERO, you can get more than 90 statistics about your account, including information about user engagement. You just need to provide a link to your profile and start a check. ER will be shown in the first statistics window.

What user engagement affects

Instagram has long switched to a “smart” feed generation algorithm. Now the ranking of posts in user feeds depends on how actively your followers engage with the content. Impressions, reach, engagement – these are all closely related parameters. If posts get a good response, then it is interesting to people and it needs to be shown to as many users as possible. If the post remains unanswered, it goes down in the search results.

If your posts are not ranking, they are simply not seen. Accordingly, no one will buy the product, because they simply will not find out about promotions, new products, and benefits. This is why engagement is important and needs to be worked on.

Impressions and reach are the main factors that influence engagement, but not the only one. Engagement can build trust in the account owner. Imagine a situation that you were invited to a party. It would seem that everything is fine at the party – good music, food and drinks, but all the invitees are in the corners, do not communicate at all and do not have fun. Most likely, the first thing you think about the host of the holiday is a boring and uninteresting person who cannot entertain his invited guests. That’s exactly the same on Instagram. If silence in the comments is a bad party.

Another thing is if there is a live discussion under the posts, subscribers communicate with the account owner and among themselves. Newly arrived users have a desire to stay, to become a part of this community. You may not want to make friends with everyone right away, but at least you will want to watch what is happening.

How to increase subscriber engagement

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

Of course, in each case you need an individual approach to account development. Below are some basic guidelines that can help you improve your ER.

Quality content


Looking for a way to increase engagement on Instagram – keeping a course for high-quality and interesting content is already half the battle.

It’s no secret that users like and comment on different publications in different ways. On the same account, different posts can collect hundreds or thousands of likes. It all depends on what information is published and in what submission.

Most of the likes and comments are collected by colorful photos, sincere selfies, juicy news feeds. People often save something useful to bookmarks. For example, recipes, checklists, life hacks, etc.

If you want to cause a lively discussion under the post – raise relevant topics, publish something incriminating, provoke discussions. Making each post super-engaging is very difficult, but not worth it. You just periodically “feed” her with something intriguing and special.

Post time

The engagement for a publication depends a lot on the time it was posted. Publishing your posts at the right time will ensure that the majority of your followers will see them. At the same time, the likelihood of likes and comments increases significantly.

The peak of subscribers’ activity, as a rule, falls on the evening, but it is individual for each individual case. Statistics will help determine the right time for publication. See which posts and published at what time are getting more likes, track the priority online time of your subscribers.

Cleaning from bots

ER – the ratio of the number of subscribers and their activity. It’s no wonder that all sorts of bots in followers reduce engagement, because such accounts, by default, do not like anything and do not comment, no matter how cool your content is.

You can manually find inactive accounts, but it will take a lot of time. It is much easier to use the special tools that we talked about in detail in this guide. It is recommended to carry out cleaning of bots in several stages. Removing everyone in one fell swoop can lead to a dramatic drop in organic reach.

Chatting with Subscribers

Readers appreciate being reckoned with – try feedback. Take an interest in the opinion of your followers, do not disregard their comments.

Ask your subscribers what they would like to see in your account. Describe the situation you have encountered and ask for advice. Ask a hot topic question. A safe bet is to bring up some hype topic and provoke its discussion. It doesn’t matter if it is political news, a sensation in the celebrity world or a provocative question, the number of comments will definitely please you.



Stories is the most popular section on Instagram. Don’t neglect it. Stories are published at the top of the feed, so statistically they collect more likes and comments.

In addition, with Stories, you can draw attention to posts in the main feed. Record stories with the announcement of upcoming interesting events in your account. It can be anything – announcements of new products, promotions, discounts, events. The main thing is that the news is interesting to subscribers, then they will follow the profile news and thereby increase engagement.

You can also reply to Stories, and this is another manifestation of activity that increases engagement. Be sure to make sure this feature is enabled in your stories.


One of the best ways to increase engagement is to conduct surveys. By publishing polls, you let your subscribers know that their opinion is important to you, train them to communicate and provoke them to leave comments.

Unlike complex questions and discussions, polls are easier to participate. Simple questions are immediately supplemented with answer options. Who wouldn’t want to give their opinion when everything is that simple?

Engagement Games

Serious and important content is fine, but don’t forget to keep your followers entertained. When done right, entertainment can also increase engagement.

Game content includes tests, puzzles, flash mobs, comic predictions and everything that can make subscribers leave a comment in a playful way.


From time to time run contests for activity among your subscribers. Conditions and prizes may vary, but remember that the more valuable the reward, the more people willing to participate.

Activity can manifest itself in different ways: likes, comments, friends’ marks in comments. Come up with the terms of the contest and invite your followers to take part in it.



Users can now subscribe to hashtags. This means that your posts can be seen even by those who are not following you, if you choose the right hashtags.

You can specify up to 30 different hashtags for one post, but make sure that they are all relevant and not repeated in the same sequence. Otherwise, you can run into a ban.


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

Shoot bright, dynamic and funny videos, try to tell something important in video format. If everything is done correctly, people will begin to actively comment and share your videos. In addition, video stats get more likes and comments.

Engagement is one of the key metrics for SMM on Instagram. Too much depends on this indicator to be simply neglected. But unfortunately, engagement in your account cannot be increased in one post or contest. This is painstaking work that requires a phased implementation and constant monitoring. The most important thing in the pursuit of high engagement is to be yourself and be genuine. Only in this case the number of your followers and their activity will constantly grow.

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