Understanding Influencer Engagement Rates

Understanding influencer engagement is key if you want to locate the best influencers for your next campaign, regardless of your goal. Analyzing an influencer's performance is essential for determining whether they are a good fit for your campaign. They may upload great content and utilize the appropriate hashtags, but are they delivering results for their brand partners? In this article, we'll discuss what influencer engagement is, how to quantify it, and why it's so crucial.

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What is engagement?

When we discuss influencer engagement, effectively we’re discussing social engagement – any interactions that take place on someone’s posts (likes, comments, shares, saves, clicks). The exact types of interactions vary based on the platform. Retweets, for example, are only possible on Twitter, whereas comments and likes are available across the board on TikTok and Instagram. However, some engagements are more important than others. For example, it takes less effort to like or share something than it does to write a comment.

Smartfluence’s influencer search platform provides consumers with immediate access to the types of engagement that an influencer is creating. We track important interactions such as likes, comments, and views to get a sense of how engaged their audience is, including average likes, average comments, overall engagement rate, engagement rate per post, and, if the influencer is prolific, paid post performance comparing an influencer’s organic engagement with their sponsored post engagement.

Why should you care about influencer engagement?

An influencer’s engagement rate can give you an idea of how invested their audience is. Only influencers who are excellent at crafting extremely interesting content will frequently solicit responses from their followers in the face of so many posts fighting for our attention. The engagement rate of an influencer is more than just a snapshot in time; it also indicates whether the influencer is constantly delivering high-performing material. Do keep in mind though, variance is key. If an influencer keeps getting roughly the same engagement, you might run into an issue where they are purchasing their likes. The good news is Smartfluence’s influencer discovery tool has an algorithm to help you combat this!

Influencer engagement is a key sign of an influencer's overall success and ability to generate outcomes for your brand. During your influencer search, you may come across a list of hundreds of influencers that appear to be a good fit for your campaign. Analyzing each influencer's engagement rate, average likes, average comments, and average views will assist you in selecting the top performers for your influencer marketing campaign.

Marketers report that engagement or clicks are the most significant consideration when selecting influencers.  An influencer with a high engagement rate is more likely to provide a favorable return on investment and deliver tangible outcomes for your brand. Furthermore, clicks are the most important type of engagement since they are most directly linked to conversions. For example, if you're running an Instagram Story campaign, you'll want to track how many people visit your store after clicking the link, as well as the number of likes and views. We recommend using multiple influencers at the same time, driving traffic to the same landing page, and then examining influencers’ engagement to figure out whom to use for subsequent campaigns in the future.

What is the calculation for an influencer engagement rate?

The engagement rate of an influencer is a measure of how many engagements they generate on average. Rather than focusing on the performance of a single post, it considers all engagements created over a period. The average engagement rate of an influencer provides a more comprehensive picture of their interaction and displays what percentage of their audience interacts with their content. The formula for calculating the engagement rate is: (number of likes + number of comments)/number of followers x 100.

What defines a good influencer engagement rate?

It's critical to understand the context before diving into the numbers. As the number of influencers continues to rise, the average engagement rates are decreasing on every platform. More influencers equal more content, which means more competition for likes, comments, and shares, resulting in reduced engagement. With so much content being shared on social media, an influencer's post needs to stand out in order to go viral and get the most engagement.

For an influencer with a medium to large audience, a 'good' influencer engagement rate is 3% or higher. The usual engagement rate for influencers is between 1% to 3%, therefore anything higher than that is considered great, as long as it is authentic. Micro-influencers with smaller audiences have greater total influencer engagement rates. An engagement rate of 5% or above indicates a great performance for a micro-influencer.

Remember that determining what constitutes a 'good' influencer engagement rate is dependent on the number of followers an influencer has and the social media platform being used to track engagements. We'll look at why some influencers and social networks produce more interaction than others in the section below.

Trends within influencer engagement rates

While influencer engagement rates vary from person to person, there are some trends worth noticing. The number of followers an influencer has and the social media network they use might affect engagement rates. Some social networks and influencer tiers are more likely to generate higher engagement than others – think about the recent boom in TikTok and the engagement you see relative to what you’ve historically noticed on Instagram, for example.

Micro-influencers are your best bet for engagement

Based on data from Influencer Marketing Hub’s annual influencer marketing report, the table above indicates that micro-influencers with fewer than 10K followers consistently had a better interaction rate across all social networks than influencers with more followers. This is because micro-influencers have created an online following based on narrow themes, attracting an audience with similar interests who are more inclined to interact with their posts. When you have a smaller audience, it's much easier to interact with and get to know your followers, which fosters high engagement.

TikTok influencers enjoy a much higher engagement rate

We notice that influencers across all categories regularly generate considerably higher engagement rates on TikTok than they do on Instagram or YouTube. TikTok is the undisputed king of the extremely entertaining short video format. The platform is built for content discovery, with amusing and engaging videos being pushed to the 'ForYou' tab for maximum exposure and engagement. Working with a TikTok influencer is a terrific place to start if you want to engage with a younger audience and demonstrate the playful side of your company.

Fake followers and likes can seriously impact engagement

It's the sad truth that several influencers' social media audiences will contain a considerable number of fake followers or bots (whether intentionally or unintentionally). This is bad news for brands, because promoting your items to a bot that will never become a consumer is a complete waste of money. Incidentally, it’s also bad for influencers since Instagram’s algorithm will penalize them for having such a small portion of their real audiences even seeing their content.

Fake followers should be considered when evaluating an influencer's engagement because they frequently make spammy comments and likes in order to artificially enhance an influencer's engagement.

Fake followers can artificially inflate an influencer’s engagement rate, making it appear higher than it is. However, there are ways for marketers to see past this. Marketers could look at an influencer's authenticity percentage on Smartfluence’s influencer discovery platform to evaluate how much of their audience is made up of real (and reachable) people. Anything over 70% is usually a strong indication that they have a real audience, but of course, the higher the number the better. You can also browse over their comments to see if there are any repetitive comments or spammy messages that don't appear to be genuine.

Influencer engagement is a critical measure to keep in mind while looking for influencers for your brand. Now that you know what an influencer's engagement rate means, you can choose influencers who will bring results for your company. You can find influencers who are generating great engagement by looking into influencer engagement patterns and the elements that drive engagement, such as the type of social media platform and the existence of fraudulent followers.

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