At Socialbakers, we’re constantly thinking of the best way to benchmark and measure social media performance with the right metrics.
Until recently we’ve always advocated tracking Engagement Rate as the best competitive measure to understand post performance. Now, however, we are changing that recommendation – Socialbakers is now recommending measuring with Interactions (absolute number of likes, comments, and shares) over engagement rate.
Now that doesn’t mean Engagement Rate is not important. In many cases, these metrics heavily correlate – as you can find in this article we wrote a few months ago.
We have recommended engagement rate to benchmark performance over the past few years because we felt it to be completely transparent and a good proportionate measure – as your engagement rate is interactions divided by audience – allowing you to compare all brands equally.
However, with the rise of News Feed-based advertising, the playing field is no longer leveled, and pages with higher ad budgets are able to boost their engagement rate on a more regular basis as these posts reach more and more non-fans. Basically, for pages and industries that do paid too much, the comparison of engagement is not a measure that would always work (even though in many cases, it is).
So whats next? When we look at the data, we can see that without paid advertising, the reach of an average post is split 82% to 18% in favour of fans versus non-fans. With posts that are boosted in the News Feed, this changes to 68% of non-fans seeing the post. This is a big difference, and the interactions gained from the non-fans affects engagement rate, making it less reliable as a proportionate and public metric.
Interactions, on the other hand, serve a better purpose. While we do not know if a competitor page has promoted a post and increased their overall engagement rate performance, the level of interactions is non-dependent on page size and therefore is a fairer metric to measure.
We recommend that brands follow overall Interactions (Engagement, not Engagement Rate), check the structure of the interactions (i.e. types of interactions – likes, comments, shares), and anchor their interaction levels with comparisons to benchmarks at location and industry level, as well as with competitors. By understanding how your interaction levels are comparing to your industry or within your region you can benchmark your performance, and by understanding the structure of your interactions you can judge value, as naturally a share holds more weight than a simple like.
By measuring interactions, brands are able to get a better view on performance over time, as you can assume in your tracking that your page, your industry, and other brands in your region are regularly boosting posts. When measuring engagement rate this means that a lot of your data will be skewed, but with interactions, advertising doesn’t weight the metric, it simply makes the volume of interactions higher. By assuming most brands are advertising at least some of the time, you take the risk of inaccurate data away, and are left with a clearer view of performance over time.
To find out more about measuring interactions and benchmarking your performance easily and efficiently, take a look at Socialbakers Analytics today.