Measuring Engagement on Facebook

Two formulas to determine your Facebook engagement rate and virality

By Staci

In my current position, I focus mostly on the digital side of communications. I have searched far and wide to come up with a system of metrics that accurately reflects the efficacy of my organization’s efforts on social media.

The way that I have looked at and measured activities on Facebook has evolved over time, but I have finally landed on an engagement metric that I can get behind…for now. Facebook is an excellent social media platform for most businesses and organizations. However, with the adoption of the EdgeRank algorithm, creating and growing a Facebook page from scratch is a steep uphill battle compared to the good ol’ days of the past.

Our content is not guaranteed to show up in the newsfeeds of those who have liked our pages; instead the visibility of our online activity is linked to the relevance of our posts as determined by the involvement and engagement of our fans. This means that each and every post will have to ride on its merit. (There is a certain formula that you can tweak in various ways to optimize your posts for EdgeRank, but that would require an entirely separate blog post.)

So, let’s get down to business. Factoring the number of “Likes” a page has into the metric for engagement no longer makes sense. It is great to have a ton of “Likes,” but what really matters is the actual activity of your community. The metric that I like to use for engagement measures the number of engaged users versus the number of reached users.

The formula looks like this:

(Daily Page Engaged Users / Daily Total Reach) x 100

I like this formula because it takes into account the actual number of people who have seen your content and helps you determine what percentage of the people who saw your content were actually moved enough to interact with it. (Why should we factor in the number of fans of a page to determine the efficacy of a page or a single post? To me, including the fan base of a page is not logical when trying to evaluate your activity.)

So, some basic explanations might be helpful:

Daily Page Engaged Users – This metric consists of the number of unique users who have clicked on your content or created stories about your page. This measures activity regardless of whether or not the activity actually created a story that showed up in newsfeeds.

Daily Total Reach – This metric consists of the number of unique users who have seen any content associated with your page.

There are a couple of other areas of interest that I focus on when making sense of our Facebook analytics. I regularly measure Daily Total Impressions and Daily People Talking About This (PTAT). I like to measure impressions in order to compare the reach of Facebook with the reach of our online advertising. (This is solely used to provide some perspective when looking at online media buying.)  I like looking at PTAT to get a better picture of the virality of our content.

To look at how many engaged users were converted into volunteer viral brand ambassadors, you would follow a formula that looks like this:

(Daily People Talking About This / Daily Page Engaged Users) x 100

This takes into account the ultimate level of involvement that people can have with your page. PTAT measures the actions that have been taken that create “Stories” that show up in the newsfeeds of your friends on Facebook. PTAT stories are created when someone likes or comments on your post, writes on your wall, shares your content, RSVPs to your events, participates in your polls, mentions your page, tags your page or checks-in at your business on Facebook.

With the engagement formula, we are looking at message penetration. With the virality forumula, we are looking at motivated actions.


You can find the data for the insights mentioned in this post by downloading the Facebook Analytics Report accessible through your admin dashboard. I like to track these metrics on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

What Facebook insights do you like to track? What metrics do you like to use? Let us know in the comment section below!