Engagement Rate vs. Follower Count: What to Prioritize

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Engagement Rate vs. Follower Count: What to Prioritize

If you consider the characteristics that make someone an influencer, the very first thing you’ll imagine is probably that they have lots of followers. It’s not necessarily wrong, but that’s not the only thing that makes someone an influencer anymore.

Today, social media influencers must maintain an impressive engagement rate, in addition to a growing audience. Let’s take a look at what the engagement rate is, why it matters, and how to evaluate it.

What is the engagement rate?

Engagement rate is the measure of the degree of interaction between an influencer and their. The more invested the audience is in an influencer’s content, the more frequently the influencer’s content late engagement rate, add the number of interactions for a post, divide the total by the number of followers an influencer has, and multiply the result by 100. This is the engagement rate for the specific post. To better understand the overall engagement to understand roach for various posts better and calculate the average.

If you do not want to determine engagement rate manually, you can use an influencer marketing platform to analyze influencer profiles. The platform will calculate an average engagement rate and analyze the specific influencer’s rate against the benchmark set by their colleagues.

Engagement averages differ depending on the number of followers an influencer has and the platform they’re on. For example, don’t compare TikTok influencers with YouTubers or Instagrammers. These networks provide different types of interaction and consequently differ in their average rates.

@valeskaschneider is a German surfing influencer. She has a 4.8% engagement rate, higher than the typical engagement rate for Instagram influencers who have 15-50K followers.

What is the importance of engagement?

Imagine speaking in front of a huge crowd, but only a few that are genuinely interested in what you’re talking about. Then imagine speaking to a small group that is laser-focused on the message you’re delivering. Which of the groups is more inclined to trust you, take in your message, and then let others know about it?

This is the way engagement works. In the example above, the person speaking to a large audience would be a macro influencer, and the person who spoke to a smaller audience was a micro-influencer. Although micro-influencers have a smaller audience, the people who follow them trust them and actively enjoy their content.

This is essential for your company, as you can leverage this engagement to your advantage. People who are engaged with their followers are more attracted to the content of the influencer’s specialization. And, if they are loyal to an influencer they’re more likely to trust the brands that the influencer endorses.

Can an engagement rate be too low or high?

In both instances, the answer is yes. Keep an eye out for extreme engagement at either side of the spectrum.

If engagement is low, it may be for one of three reasons: negative. First, it could be that the followers don’t pay attention to the influencer’s content. Second, it is also possible that the influencer might have an abundance of followers that, even though they are real, are inactive. Or, a low level of engagement could indicate fake followers.

If an influencer’s engagement is very high compared to the average for their segment, it could simply be because they work hard at maintaining their social community! On the other hand, it could also indicate that they have bought fake comments, likes, or different types of engagement. If you notice this, investigate the authenticity of the users to ensure that the people who are engaged with their posts are real.

What is the average engagement rate of an influencer’s segment?

To determine engagement benchmarks, you can make use of an influencer marketing platform that will calculate them for you. Or, you can also do the analysis yourself.

If you do the research, be sure to keep these three aspects in mind since they could impact engagement averages:

  • Category of the content (e.g., beauty, fashion, sports)
  • Social networks (TikTok, Instagram, etc.)
  • Types of influencers (micro-influencer, mega influencer, KOL*, etc.)

A KOL (also known as a key opinion leader) is highly valued in their profession on and off social media. One example of a KOL could be Oprah. However, because the influence of a celebrity isn’t restricted to social media, don’t let engagement be the final determination on whether or not you want to work with them. Oprah, for example, has a low percentage of engagement on Instagram but has an enormous amount of influence beyond the platform.


Engagement rate is a crucial measure to consider in your analysis of influencers. It allows you to identify influencers that have a strong connection to their followers. And in collaborations, it is possible for these influencers to leverage that relationship to help your brand create a positive first impression of their fans.

Engagement Rate vs. Follower Count: What to Prioritize