Social media websites don’t offer a standarized metric for engagement, but most marketers and analytics applications arrive at an aggregate measurment by adding up likes, comments and shares.
Divide that total by the number of fans, multiply the resulting number by 100 and you arrive at a percentage rate for engagement.
A telling sign that these figures might not suffice as true engagement measurements appears in a comparison of the top 20 most engaging pages on Facebook today versus one year ago. Today’s list looks too much like last year’s ranking: one in four of the pages are the same. Surely more has actually changed on the social network than that.
Actually, we see more changes in engagement numbers when contrasting statistics provided by different third-party vendors of social media analytics applications. The variations result from the lack of true standardization in the data.
Our wish list for a standardized metric adds the following components to the engagement formula:
- Different weights for comments, likes and multimedia, taking a cue from Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm used to determine placement of content in the newsfeed;
- Similarly, different weights for photos viewed in fullscreen mode versus the regular viewer and a count for hitting the replay button on videos;
- Number of times people tag content;
- Engagement by non-fans and fans alike; and
- Accurate tallies of negative feedback, including sarcastic comments, people hiding posts from the newsfeed and unliking pages or posts.
More details appear in the infographic that we created to promote a presentation we’re giving on the subject tonight in San Francisco. Share the graphic below with your friends, and let us know what you think of it in the comments section beneath this post.