What is Instagram Engagement and How Can It Help You?

Laura Montells

Laura Montells, metricool.com

The Importance of Instagram Engagement

The use of statistics is fundamental to learn whether your social media strategy is successful or not. However, when we are talking about stats, it seems that some social networks are reluctant and avoid using them. In particular, Instagram lacks of its own designed engagement metrics unlike Facebook or Twitter.

What is Instagram Engagement or Engagement Rate?

By Instagram engagement rate, we’re talking about your follower’s loyalty level within this social network.  It’s not about the number of fans that your profile has but about the degree of involvement, interest and interaction that your followers show towards your photos, videos, Instagram stories or any other content.

If you are a social media manager, you might be familiar with the following situation:


“You are at the office, starting your day programming on Instagram, answering messages or creating ads to obtain a better visibility for your brand. Suddenly, your boss asks you for «a complete report showing the Instagram evolution in the last three months». Of course, you panic, what should you include in the report? Remain calm, you are not alone”.

As we mentioned before, some platforms like Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook offer their users some analysis tools to measure the success of a specific campaign. However, measuring Instagram Engagement Rate is not that easy. Even though Instagram instated some protocols to make it more marketing-friendly, the truth is, the process barely started. For this reason, Metricool wants to explain to you some basic notions that will help you monitor your progress.


How to Calculate Instagram Engagement Rate


Instagram Interactions with Metricool

Instagram Interactions with Metricool


It might sound obvious, but monitoring the exponential growth of your followers in any social network, and also analyzing how frequently you gain new fans, is crucial. Many social network and digital marketing specialists consider that if these numbers don’t increase over time, your presence on Instagram is irrelevant. So, always keep this factor in mind.

Community Growth on Instagram

Community Growth on Instagram


Another fundamental factor that it’s sometimes overlooked. It’s critical to monitor how many likes a publication receives, and then compare this result with other posts and also with the number of followers of your account. This straight forward equation is a great indicator of the health and popularity of your profile.

Ranking of Posts on Instagram

Ranking of Posts on Instagram


Once we have gone through the essential steps, let’s review something a bit more complex. An analysis about the comments received by each post will help to measure the level of your follower’s engagement. Even though understanding like rates might help you have an idea about how successful a publication is, comments will indicate with better certainty, the level of engagement. Liking a post takes one second but spending some time on writing a comment will be a better sign of users’ involvement.


According to some recent studies, a professional/business account with 1,000 followers will have an average of 18.54 likes and only 0.63 comments per post.

At a more pragmatic level, this shows that a user will take the trouble to leave a comment only if he feels empathy or any kind of emotion towards a brand. We can be even clearer, if the number of comments start rising, it means that your brand is building a loyal audience.

Other Factors that Indirectly Affect the Engagement on Instagram

Popular Hashtags

Using popular Hashtags on your publications can benefit Instagram engagement and you could probably reach a higher number of followers.

Posts accompanied by Hashtags will show better engagement and also, these posts will be more accessible to the general public.

Analyzing which Hashtags are more popular beforehand and creating a list with them, will help you determine which ones are more convenient for your posts. In this social network, Hashtags serve as keywords to optimize searching.

In summary, Instagram is a platform that promotes the combined use of Hashtags and as we said earlier, users will be able to create a list with the favorite ones. Also, it’d be a smart thing to do considering all this collected info when you’re uploading new content. The popularity of a specific Hashtag will also reveal the kind of topics that followers are more interested in.


A common error amongst users it not paying enough attention to the times when they upload their content. Think about it, why should we work hard to get quality and interesting content for followers when we end up publishing it at times that will be practically invisible to our audience? It makes no sense. So then, how can we know which times are best to post?

According to some specialized analysis, graphics show that the typical business schedule from 9am to 5pm is the worst time. For many users, visiting the profile of their favorite brands is a matter of leisure not business so this means that people will probably visit their social networks out of office hours. In Metricool we show you which is the best time for you to post.

 Image Sizes on Instagram

The image sizes on your publications also affect the engagement rate in an indirect way. Posting a pixelated photo or stock image is worse than using your own image with the right dimensions and branding.

To avoid mistakes when you are uploading your images you can find the Instagram Photo Size Guide here.


Posting on weekends, at night or during official holidays can help drastically improve your results. However, it’s also crucial to thoroughly analyze all your Instagram stats in order to obtain reliable data that adjusts to your followers’ profile.

Instagram Engagement Rate Formula

With the info collected from interactions, you can start applying the Instagram Engagement formula. Before we go into this, we should remind you that you can use several different equations, but whatever you decide to use, don’t change it so you keep consistency in your analysis. This is the most common formula used by social media managers and the one we use in Metricool:

    \[ \textrm{Instagram Engagement} = \frac{\textrm{N\b{o} of comments} + \textrm{Likes}}{\textrm{N\b{o} of followers}}x1000 \]

If you’re also interested in learning in detail how to measure engagement on other social networks:

At Metricool, we know that managing complex analytic data can be exhausting and difficult, that’s why we offer a measurement of the current situation of your content in a new and more intuitive way. If you want to calculate the engagement on Instagram, we will make it so easy for you. You link your social networks to Metricool, we make the analysis and you will be able to apply the engagement formula. Super simple!


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