Facebook insights data is very valuable to brands who want to gain an understanding of how their Facebook pages are performing – whether people are liking and interacting with their content, how engaged people are, what their growth rate is, and several other measures of success.
Engaged users are defined by Facebook as ‘the number of unique people who have clicked on your posts.’
Engagement rate is calculated by dividing the aggregate of the total likes, shares and comments, by the total number of a page’s fans.
Wise metrics, a provider of Facebook analytics for brands and agencies, suggests that this formula doesn’t present a clear enough picture and gives an alternate formula to calculate engagement. Here are the reasons given:
- This formula doesn’t include all forms of interaction - it only includes likes, comments and shares, and does not take into account actions like clicking on links, viewing photos, or playing video content.
- It is based on the total number of fans of a page, not on the number of fans reached. Data has shown that an average post reaches only about 16% of a page’s fans.
- It mixes data from fans and non-fans – likes and comments could come from non-fans as well – who are not counted in the denominator.
- It favours pages that post more often, as with a larger number of posts, there is more opportunity to gather likes and comments, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to higher engagement than a page with fewer but more engaging posts.
- It doesn’t measure unique users, it measures interactions. One user could be responsible for several likes and comments.
Taking these factors into account, they propose an alternate formula to calculate engagement rate:
An infographic published by consulting firm ticular, also raises a similar point. A comparative study of the top 20 Facebook pages in terms of engagement, this year and last year, reveals that one in four pages have remained the same, and a large majority of these pages have a religious focus.
They took a closer look at how engagement is calculated and have a few suggestions to make Facebook’s engagement rate metric a more encompassing measure. Their suggestions are:
- Different weightage for comments, likes and viewing multimedia content like photos and videos
- Adjust formula for percentage of fans reached
- Take into account tagged content by fans
- Take sentiment into account as well – negative threads can get a very high number of likes, comments and shares.