Twitter Engagement: Calculating and Understanding the Engagement on Twitter

Laura Montells

Laura Montells,

What is Twitter Engagement and how can it help you?

The large amount of content published on Twitter every second increases the difficulty of getting your message heard, so experts must take effective marketing measures to increase the efficacy of the tweets related to any specific ad campaign. The competition on this social network keeps growing so it’s necessary to find tools that on the one hand reduce the margin of error to a minimum and on the other, set the foundations for more presence on Twitter.

Data of interest: There are 316 million active users every month on Twitter and 6,000 tweets are sent every second. 77% of twitter users have positive feelings about brands that answer via this channel.

These figures show the power of Twitter as it allows brands to interact with their fans, answer their questions and promote their messages in real time, increasing Twitter engagement rate.

What’s Engagement rate?

Several authors have defined this concept from different points of view, but we can summarize that engagement is the establishment of a relationship with a potential client that might lead to a future purchase. When it comes to this social network, potential clients are also the users or community members and although selling a product could be an objective, we mainly refer to the conversions and traffic redirected to the brand’s web.

As an illustrative example, we can use “strengthen bonds” to clarify the engagement definition. This is one of the brand’s main objectives within its community. Narrowing relationships will helpyour values and messages leave a lasting impression on your users.

According to Cialdini’s consistency principle, once the user becomes a committed follower, he will maintain favorable conduct towards your brand, just on the basis of being congruent to their initial decision (sometimes the person is not even conscious of the real motive or impulse that leads him to act this way in first place)

So, we can say that the average engagement rate on Twitter is a Key Performance Indicator, KPI, for an online marketing strategy. This parameter allows for monitoring the Twitter Engagement Rates in real time so you will be able to follow any variation that might occur, useful to keep improving your implemented strategy.

The calculation of the Twitter Engagement Rates will help you to establish a metric that you should learn to apply towards your analysis and make sure you understand its variations.

How does Twitter Calculate the Engagement Rate?

Firstly, you should know that this subject is surrounded by controversy and there are different formulas that can be used to calculate the Engagement on Twitter. What is important here, from my point of view, is that whatever formula you choose, once you do it, stick to it. Only if you are consistent in your measurements will you be able to perceive whether or not you are improving and analyze how you evolve month by month.

Engagement Rate Formula

The first step is to choose the interval of time between the data that you’ll use for your analysis: monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly… Then is the moment to choose the formula that you consider more convenient for the measurement of engagement on Twitter.


    \[ \\\textrm{Engagement} = \\frac { \\frac { \\textrm{mentions + retweets + likes} } { \\textrm{\\# of tweets} } } { \\textrm{\\# of followers} } x100 \\]


    \[ \\\textrm{Engagement} = \\frac { \\frac { \\textrm{mentions + retweets + likes} } { \\textrm{\\# of tweets} } } { \\textrm{reach} } x100 \\]

While there is debate about whether or not to include more data within this equation, either way the result we obtain will be used as a reference point.  The simplicity of this calculation stands out, even when you add other elements to obtain another benchmark for other specific matters. For example, other users prefer adding the number of clicks on their Twitter publications to the numerator.

There are arguments for and against dividing the interactions by using the number of your followers or the reach of your opinions. The disagreement lies in the advertising factor, as publicity can alter the data. This is why we insist on the importance of consistently applying the same equation from the beginning.

What type of interactions should we consider?

It’s crucial to define the interactions that we will include in our equation and give them a value. As we keep repeating throughout this article, there are different points of view on this subject, some give more value to mentions or direct messages than favorites, while others confer negative or positive values to mentions. The important thing is that depending on your marketing strategy, you choose the interactions for the correct engagement measurement and always consider the same ones for future calculations for consistency.

  • Answers: The moment that a user writes a response to a publication of the brand.
  • Retweets: When a user shares content from your brand on his timeline and shows it to his followers with or without a comment.
  • Twitter mentions: Users who tag your brand on their tweets.
  • Likes: When a user clicks on the heart of your brand’s publications.
  • Click: Interaction performed by the user when he enters a URL shared on one of your brand’s tweets.
  • Direct messages: Users that use a private message instead of openly mentioning the brand.
  • Hashtag: Identifying the users’ interaction with a hashtag of the brand. If you need more information we tell you how to measure a hashtag here.

How do we increase interactions in a natural way? The response lies on Cialdini’s principle of reciprocity: Give to receive. Additionally, if you know exactly what your public needs, you will be able to supply the answers at a precise moment, either providing a solution to a problem,giving useful information, or complementing a specific topic. Finally, it is vital to show respect to other people’s time. So first, don’t take too much space on their timeline and second, synthesize your content in a way that your audience can understand your message as fast as possible. This is a clever sign of consideration to others, inspiring attraction to your brand. Following this path and being perseverant, you’ll become an authority on Twitter as your information will always add value. Metricool can help you know when are the best times to create your publications on Twitter and how to use the planning calendar so you can increase your engagement.


What’s a good Twitter Engagement Rate for an account or publication?

We must take into account that high figures are not necessarily a good thing. We can see often how good numbers are accompanied by few conversions or sales, becoming a real headache for the person in charge of developing the strategy. For example, offering an amusing image of your brand despite the content having limited value beyond a laugh or a momentary surprise will lead you off course.It’s a difficult task to re-direct your boat in the correct direction once you’ve gone so far.

If we don’t detect this trend on time, sooner or later the members of our social community will start considering our brand irrelevant, poisoning not only our relationship but also affecting the product or services that we offer. However, if we identify the problem soon enough, we can redesign the part of the strategy that is not working, but only if we constantly supervise and monitor.

Why is it so important to know the Twitter engagement?

Because it allows you to know the level of acceptance, compromise and relationship at all times, not only with your audience but when you are testing a new product or service. This metric offers companies and brands the value of knowing how they position themselves on Twitter and also allows them to confidently advance with more chances of success.

Which value does it offer to brands/clients or companies?

Companies and brands not only need to know what’s going on with Twitter, they must also know how to get ahead of situations before they happen.  This will mark the difference between your competitors and you. Engagement rate on Twitter gives you the opportunity to stand out and reach a position of authority over time.

So, which formula do you use to calculate the Twitter engagement? Which interactions do you take into account? The debate starts…


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