Did You Wonder About The Engagement Before You Got Hitched On Social Media?


Aditi Raghavan

August 8, 2014 3 min read

Updated on September 18, 2019

Noisemaking. Applause. Interaction – words synonymous to how we perceive engagement on social media. Fundamentally, engagement is a measure of communication. When someone makes a noise, applauds, says something in reply to a word we uttered, we know they communicated a response to us. Not just that, they participated in a conversation that we started. Rooted in such deeply embedded offline behavior, people evaluating and judging engagement on social media are but natural expectations.

Why Measure Engagement ?

These days, engagement for brands on social media is usually the result of a mathematically astute formula. However, why does engagement make a difference? When we see an engagement score, what do we take away from that number? The way the brainiacs at Unmetric see it, engagement is an evaluation of Who said What about content a brand puts out there. With demographic information, one can probably answer Who looks at your content. With sentiment and counts of likes, comments, retweets etc. – we also know What was said about the brand. Yet, it is only when we quantify this information – when we have a number to adjudge – that we get closer to answering Why: Why does one piece of content go viral while another barely elicits a whimper? Why does a brand have a huge number of fans, while another can’t rack up any sizeable followers? An engagement score opens the Pandora’s box of causal and co-relational reasoning towards how and why brands do well on social media.

Engagement Theory 101

There are multiple schools of thought on the factors that should make up a formulaic assessment of engagement. Let’s walk through a few:

Only Interactions Speak The Truth: Patrons of this school believe in the purity of audience interaction. In other words, count the number of shares, comments and likes or replies, favorites and retweets – that’s all you know and that’s all you need to know. In this way, the engagement of a singular piece of brand content will stand on its own merit.

Weigh The Important Ideas: A descendant camp adds in another key variable to the mix – the depth of an idea. Here, each of the interactions are weighted based on their importance. Consider shares more important than likes? Think replies are more important than favorites but just as much compared to Retweets? Then just attach a corresponding weight to their number to make those interactions matter.

The Guaranteed Vanguard: A parallel lineage of engagement theory also considers the audience – those who actually receive and see the content. With limited availability of such information publicly, adopters of this formula use the number of fans or followers as a steadfast data point. Thus, it’s not just how many people interacted with a piece of content, but also how many people interacted among the x or y number of people who visibly like or follow the brand.

No Two Brands Are Equal: And last but not the least, the realists – interactions and audience aside, this camp advocates that no two brands are equal on social networks unless we take into account the inner workings of the individual networks and the size of the brand itself when we estimate the brand’s content engagement. At the end of the day it may be a mere number, but engagement must reflect the real social media environment in which brands operate.

New At Unmetric

At Unmetric, we’ve been closely following developments across multiple social platforms. We’ve drawn from them and the ongoing debate to deduce what we believe is the most defensible and accurate measure of brand engagement on social media.

As we move to standardize how we calculate engagement, the Unmetric Platform has a few upcoming tweaks in the pipeline. In its revamped avatar, Unmetric’s engagement scores aim to bring a new level of accuracy and action to competitive social media intelligence. For more on engagement and our new features, sign up for a free trial.

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