lifestyle PR + digital media

What's the deal with engagement rates?

August 15, 2019

Anyone who works in social media and digital marketing knows that, although having hundreds of thousands of social media followers might seem like the most important metric, it’s really not. This is something marketers spend a lot of time educating our clients on — that what matters more than having a boatload of Instagram followers is how many of them actively engage with your content. 

Having high engagement means a brand or influencer’s content resonates with their audience—that followers appreciate the brand’s or influencer’s content and perspective enough to remain invested in the brand (AKA continue following, liking, and occasionally purchasing from the brand). 

So when social media managers see a decline in engagement, it’s no bueno. And, according to word of mouth and this study by Trust Insights, engagement on Instagram has been in decline for months. 

According to their study, engagement rates for the brands in their study dropped 18% in a few months’ time, from 1.1% to .9%. Influencers, too, are experiencing a drop in engagement rates.

So why is this happening, and how should brands combat it? 

The why is hard to explain; in their report, Trust Insights couldn’t find an explicit reason for the decline in engagement rates. So that’s...not great.

In terms of combating the issue, brands would be smart to analyze which of their posts have garnered the highest rates of engagement, and post more content like that. If you’re a makeup brand, and makeup tutorials tend to do really well on your page, invest in more of that kind of content. Maybe video does better than photos. Whatever it is, getting to the bottom of what kind of content grabs your audience’s attention is important. 

Brands should also consider spending some money on Instagram, whether with straight-up ads or by boosting posts to grab the attention of people scrolling by. 

Lastly, brands should look at the long game, too. How? Diversify. Beefing up owned channels (such as email marketing) means that you’re less vulnerable when Instagram-wide engagement declines like this happen.