There are several ways you can calculate your engagement rate on Instagram and while none of them are 'wrong', which one is best to use depends on why you are calculating it. It’s important to be aware that the results will be very different depending on the method used.

What method should you use to calculate Instagram Engagement?

Calculating Instagram Engagement Rate

If you are calculating the engagement rate as a way of monitoring your performance then it's important that whichever method you use, you are consistent and use the same calculation each time. Personally for my own performance tracking I prefer to record as much information as possible including number of posts, likes, comments and reach. 

If you are providing the engagement rate to a potential client or brand who want to work with you check if they have a specific formula they recommend using. If not I suggest using the one that is most representative of what they can expect through working with you. You need to be competitive while giving a realistic expectation of how many people will see an ad they pay for.

You don't have to just send the engagement rate if you are worried it doesn't look great. If you can demonstrate why they should work with you in other ways provide that information too. If your reach is generally much higher than your follower numbers then also provide your average reach per post.  If you don’t get many likes, but you get lots of people commenting, that shows a good relationship with your audience so point this out. If your audience demographics are their ideal customer  (eg they are geographically where an attraction or restaurant is or they are the target age and gender) then say that. Brands want to have a way to compare you with other people they are interested in working with, but sometimes the stats they ask for mean nothing and can be easily faked, so give them information to help them make a more informed decision.

What Counts as Engagement?

Engagement on Instagram includes likes, comments, saves and any other responses to your post (which includes grid content, Reels and Stories). If you have a creative or business account you can go to your Insights section and Instagram will show you the number of accounts engaged in a defined period (the default is last 30 days). If you have a personal account and don't get insights it will be a more manual process.

Engagement figures normally include the number of comments on an account, which will include any comments from you (eg replies) so engagement is automatically higher on an account that replies to their followers.

Different Ways To Calculation Engagement Rates On Instagram

Method 1 - Engagement in month/ Followers

Using the figures in your Instagram Insights section divide accounts engaged in a month figure by your current followers number and multiply by 100 to make it a percentage.

This works well because:

  • it gives your engagement across a longer period.
  • it includes all content types you have created. 
  • it’s quick to calculate.

The downsides are:

  • it doesn’t take into account how much content you have created; the more you create the more accounts you will probably have engaged with.
  • if you have some content go viral, or have a higher than normal reach then it will make your rate look much higher than for another time period.

Method 2 - Engagement / Reach in a month

This method uses the figures in the Instagram insights section. Take the figure for accounts engaged with and divide by the number of accounts reached in the time period, then multiply by 100.

This works well because:

  • it gives your engagement across a longer period.
  • it includes all content types you have created. 
  • it’s quick to calculate.
  • if you have some content with a higher than normal reach then it balances out because both accounts reached and engaged will probably be higher. 
  • the amount of content created in the time period wont make a big difference to your engagement rate.


  • Viral views (ie high reach) on a reel with a low number of likes/ comments (ie engagement) will throw your rate out and make it lower than it should really be.
  • Accounts which have a really low reach (which includes those who use engagement pods or buy likes) will get a much higher engagement rate using this method. 
  • It's less transparent because potential clients can't see your reach so they may get a false idea of how many accounts will see a post they sponsor.

Method 3 - Engagement per post/ Followers

In this method you calculate your engagement per post (likes, comments and saves) for a number of posts eg your last 10 or 30. Calculate the average engagement per post (add all the figures up then divide by the number of posts you looked at) then divide by your number of followers and multiply by 100. 

You can do this manually or there are websites that can do it for free (because the information is available without giving them access to your account).

This method is good because:

  • it provides a very realistic figure of the number of likes and comments a client can expect on a post.
  • you can calculate this for anyone's posts without having any access to insights so it's transparent.


  • it takes a long time if you do it manually.
  • the engagement rate will always be lower using this methods. If other people are using different methods your performance will look worse than competitors whether it is or not.  
  • it puts a lot of pressure on every post to perform well. I believe it is important to post because you want to and you shouldn't always worry about perfect content and timing etc. Realistically you are going to put more effort into a paid AD than other posts so a quick sentimental picture may not be a a true reflection.
  • it's hard to represent your reels and stories in the calculation.

Method 4 - Engagement per post / Reach

On Flick (which is my current favourite app for suggesting hashtags) it provides the engagement rate of each post which it calculates by likes and comments divided by the reach of that post. 

  • This method tells you how many of those who actually saw your post engaged with it.


  • The engagement rate is likely to be much higher using this method.
  • It needs to be averaged across multiple posts or a range provided to be a useful measure. 
  • A post can have a really rubbish reach and a good amount of likes and it will show a great engagement rate. I know on my account this is confusing because the posts that have the highest reach and most likes and comments have a lower engagement rate than those which didn't really go anywhere.

Comparing the Methods

On my "Mummy Blogger" Instagram account with 6.3k followers I have calculated the engagement rate over the last month using these 4 methods and get the following:

Method 1 - 5.17 %
Method 2 - 7.32%
Method 3 - 1.1%
Method 4 - 13%

That's a huge variance between methods. Personally I think my current engagement rate is really low, both likes per post and reach have dropped massively over the last year or two and it's not a priority for me. However I still love Instagram because I have a number of well engaged followers who watch my stories every day and regularly message me. 

What Is A Good Instagram Engagement Rate?

Obviously this question is complicated by the inconsistent methods used, but one thing which is clear is that the larger the account the lower the engagement rate is likely to be. This could be Instagram penalising larger accounts (as some claim) or just that larger accounts tend to have less of a relationship with their followers so they are inevitably less engaged or a mixture of various reasons.

Hootsuite (who suggest using Method 4) say that anything over 5% is a really good engagement rate.

Find Your Influencer (who suggest Method 1) say that anything over 3.5% is a high engagement rate.

Ethical Influencers (who suggest Method 3) give the same scale as Find Your Influencer which they attribute to Scrunch, but they also give details from Phlanx to show the declining average rate as an accounts follower numbers grow. 

Scrunch use Method 3 and have a tool (you pay for) which will do the calculation out for you. The interesting point here is that multiple people are using Scrunch's figures for what is a good engagement rate, but calculating engagement using different methods.

Scrunch's scale suggests: 
Less than 1% = low engagement rate
Between 1% and 3.5% = average/good engagement rate
Between 3.5% and 6% = high engagement rate
Above 6% = very high engagement rate

Phlanx have a free tool to calculate engagement which gives mine as 1.22%. Based on their large number of calculations the average for accounts with 5 to 20k followers is 2.43%


Depending on which method is used to calculate engagement on Instagram you will get very different figures. Some methods are more influenced by artificially inflated engagement that others. Cynically I would suggest that big platforms (which offer tools to calculate any accounts engagement marketed to agencies working with Influencers) prefer methods which don't take reach into account and which ignore engagement with Stories or DMs because this information will not be available to them. 

If you are asked for your engagement rate by an agency or brand interested in working with you it is acceptable to query which calculations they use and also to support your engagement rate with other information to show why you are a good match. It is great that agencies are moving on from a focus on purely follower numbers, but asking for engagement rates doesn't alway offer a clear view of how good an account is either.