Engagement on Instagram: is engagement rate more important than follower count? How to measure it? 

does engagement rate matter instagram

Today we’ll discuss why to succeed on Instagram and keep your personal brand’, business’ or private account alive, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of focusing only on the follower count. 

This is undoubtedly a metric that can make an exciting first impression and flatter the ego, but truth be told: the number of comments, shares, and saves is what you should track more carefully. Connecting with your audience is the goal to keep in mind – without it, you’ll be left in the dark with a thought: why my posts get so few likes, and no one replies to my instastories?



We’d love to say it loud: it’s better to have a smaller but engaged audience than a large group of random people, who couldn’t care less about your content. It’s crucial to understand that even if you have hundreds or thousands of followers, it won’t directly affect your engagement rate. It still can be disturbingly low. 

So what the engagement rate is, how to measure it and what actions can you take to improve it? 


Instagram Guide how to grow on instagram 2021


What is the engagement rate telling you?

Instagram engagement will show you your content’s performance. It measures the amount of interactions your content earns (likes, comments, shares) relative to your follower count. Long story short: it helps you track whether your audience is involved with your posts and see whether the content you’re creating is appealing to them. 

It’s also a valuable metric informing you about your account’s visibility, indicating whether your publications have an impact on your community. 



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Instagram is considered the most “engaging” social media platform (23% more engagement than Facebook!), which means that engagement plays a significant role on the platform – and, in some ways, is the determinant of your success.  

In order to grow your account and retain your followers (and future customers, if you run a business account!), it is essential to involve them and bring them value.

Engagement rate isn’t another vanity metric – it’s an objective formula, giving you a report about audience interest or your brand/business relevance – so you can get to know your followers and keep track of what works and what doesn’t. 

How to calculate your engagement rate? 

There are two formulas to calculate it:

The formula brands and businesses use most often: Engagement Rate by Reach = (Likes + Comments) / Reach x 100

The one most common among influencers: Engagement Rate by Audience = (Likes + Comments) / Followers x 10

If you’re upset with the math, fortunately, some platforms and tools can do the work for you. IQ Hashtags provides you a full report of your engagement rate day by day (along with other helpful insights, that’s why we always choose this one): it’s an automated process that is luckily much quicker than doing the math by yourself. 




Is my engagement rate reasonable, or is it definitely too low?

All things considered, the average Instagram engagement rate (by the audience) is 1.22%. Before comparing your result to this number, keep in mind that the average rate differs significantly by industry – and each niche earns different engagement. 

A good engagement rate is commonly between 1% and 3.5%, the perfect engagement rate is 6% and above. 

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We will dive into the tactics to boost your ER in the upcoming posts, so remember to stay tuned to learn more!


Should we chase higher engagement rate, not the follower count? 

Many creators and business owners are chasing new followers. Be aware that – almost in every case –  it’s more reasonable to run after the number of shares and comments! 

Be aware that Instagram is swarming with bots and people who subscribe to your account simply because they’re hoping for the “follow back .” Would you like to have an irrelevant audience who never interacts with your content? 

To tell you a little story, during a meeting with one of our friends (working in a similar industry), we chatted with him about social media – yep, especially about the Gram, of course. He told me about his remarkable, deep, and authentic relationship with her followers, and then we discussed the “followers gaining” race.

He told me that one of his competitors bragged that he had more followers than she did, and guess what? One month later, he noticed that this creator bought 5 000 fake followers, so their follower count would be the same. 

Obviously, this is not the right thing to do – she ruined her engagement rate because none of those bots and fake profiles will ever engage with her content. 

This story’s moral is no matter how many followers you have, the most important thing is to track your followers’ activities because follower count is easy to fake these days. 

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Engagement will make your account more authentic – and this is what really counts. 

As we pointed out, knowing your Instagram engagement rate helps you understand how much your followers value the content you upload.



In other words, interpreting the engagement rate correctly will give you the flexibility to choose specifically what can have an impact and thus, earn a lot more engagement: comments and likes.

Engagement rate is the key metric for influencers

If you aspire to become an Instagram influencer, engagement rate can help you stand out and become noticed by valued marketing and PR agencies. 

Creators with a reliable engagement rate are more likely to be selected by big brands. We got this info from many befriended agencies from all around the world: the choice is mostly based on the quality of the engagement rate of the creators. Influencers with more reasonable ER are more often selected to participate in the various commercial campaigns.


Instagram Guide how to grow on instagram 2021


To sum up! Knowing your engagement rate when you’re a social media creator is essential – no matter what is your niche or the character of your account. It effectively allows you to know what appeals to your target audience. There are plenty of “hacking tips” to boost your Instagram engagement – and we will discuss them in the upcoming post to elaborate on the ones that will make you see the real difference in your stats. Good news: some of these tips are very applicable for both personal and business accounts!