Organisations are now becoming more aware of measuring the effectiveness of their social media presence, but what metrics to use? To gauge community growth, to compare the ROI between social media campaigns, to count product image views, organisations can (and should) tap into various resources to extract these answers.

One of the most popular social media metrics out there is Facebook Engagement, easily accessible by using Facebook’s new Page Insights (go to the Overview or Posts tab and there’s an Engagement column for all your posts).

But what do these numbers mean and what exactly is engagement?

Generally speaking, engagement on Facebook is when people perform actions on your Page. They may like a post, click on a link or comment on an image for example. With Facebook Insights, engagement is defined as post clicks, likes, shares and comments. But they also do something very handy – they enable you to split post clicks from likes, shares and comments – and there’s a good reason why.

We measure two forms of engagement: Absolute Engagement (the hard numbers) and Engagement Rate (the hard numbers with respect to your community size, which we’ll cover  in Part II). With Absolute Engagement it’s important to know the effect of the various types of engagement. For example, if someone likes a post on your page, that like has the potential to be seen by their friends – thereby building greater awareness. Likewise for comments and shares – these are all viral by nature. Post clicks i.e. when someone clicks on an image to see it full size, are important but non-viral in nature, so do not tap into one of social media’s major strengths. Below is how we treat these different types of engagement:

Absolute Engagement

  1. Active Engagement = Number of Likes, Comments and Shares (have a viral nature)

  2. Passive Engagement = Number of Post clicks, link clicks, video views, image clicks (non-viral)

  3. Total Engagement = Active Engagement + Passive Engagement

Total Engagement is a measure of the actions people are taking on your page and should be recorded at least monthly to make sure people are staying (or hopefully getting more) engaged with your content. This will answer the question: was last month’s content more engaging than the month before?

Passive Engagement is a measure of content consumption. People clicking on your post to read more or get a better look at your image is getting your content consumed (but not spread). This could be important if your objective is to drive people to your website by including links to it in your posts.

Active Engagement is a measure of how sharable your content is. When people like, share or comment, they are doing so in front of their friends so your content has an opportunity to be seen by more than just your immediate community.

So does it make a difference if a page has 1,000 page likes or 10,000 page likes? Yes, absolutely and that’s where we move into Engagement Rate, which will be covered in a post soon.

Team Mosh

Check out Part II of this Post here.

33 comments so far

  1. Dan,

    Thanks for sharing – I certainly hadn’t appreciated the distinction between the two metrics. I’ve jumped into the insights part of my Facebook page to have a better look, is ‘talking about this’ the active engagement? and ‘engaged users’ the passive component? Dan

    • Jeremy Marks,

      Hi Dan, good question. Talking about this is slightly different again, although very closely related to Active Engagement it’s a measure of how many unique people are taking actions that can be seen by their friends (likes, shares, comments, mentions). The number you see on your Timeline view is for the last 7 days. Engaged users includes both Active and Passive Engagement so is the number of unique people that contribute to your Total Engagement. Hope that makes sense!

      • Dan,

        Thanks Jeremy, that makes sense! ps – I just happened to check back on your blog and notice your reply, I didn’t get an email notification FYI. Great work with the blog articles – Dan

  2. Vanessa,

    Hi Jeremy,

    Great article. I was just wondering – I seem to have engagement however these numbers do not seem to be translating to shares, comments, website visits or sales? I do not understand why. Would love some of your insight and advice.


    • Jeremy,

      Hi Vanessa

      So your engagement is mostly Likes as opposed to Comments and Shares? That’s pretty normal. If you’re looking for web traffic are you dropping to odd link into your content and providing your community with value (a reason to click)? Or better yet, using Facebook Advertising? Generally speaking, content is great for story-telling and brand building, which results in engagement. If you’re after web traffic and sales, try FB Ads.

  3. Ljuba,

    Hi Jeremy,
    I have post engagement but no likes,shares or coments.Could you please explain .Thanks

  4. Kiks,

    What about if you delete the facebook what will happen will be erase the engage name from facebook

  5. Nicole Zampiello,

    I have a person fb acct and an acct for photos I take. I have a lot of engagements but And random likes. My goal is to reach as many people so I don’t have to tag people to see their pics. Suggestions-I have somehow set my fb page up differently than my personal acct. my pic page is to see the page in question go to Nicole Zamp photos

  6. Anonymous,

    hm thank you Jeremy, this is important information to know. Thank you again.

    • Julian Thompson,

      We’re glad you found it valuable. Cheers.

    • Julian Thompson,

      You are very welcome! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  7. 1,

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as
    long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage?
    My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would genuinely benefit from some
    of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this
    okay with you. Thanks!

    • Julian Thompson,

      Hi, no problem, go for it! Cheers.

  8. Mark Barnett,


    Great articles. I think a month ago Facebook switched from quoting “active” engagement to “total” engagement in the insights section under Pages To Watch where I follow my competitors. My comparative number increased three-fold while most of my competitors increased ten-fold. I’m kind of lost about why they have so much more “passive” engagement if in fact I am understanding what just took place. I have 6% engagement rate and 24% net engagement rate. All I can imagine is that they have more videos and if the videos start moving, that might count for them. Thanks.

  9. Piso Epoxi,

    I believe for SEO purposes shares as more important than likes. Is that true? But, there are different kinds of shares. Could you explain more about this? Thanks a lot!

  10. Anonymous,

    Piso, you can share to your own timeline, to a friend’s timeline, or in a private message.

  11. Nguyễn Vũ Bảo Châu,

    On Facebook Insight, we have Post Engagement section. But I don’t know where statics come from. I download the excel chart but when I sum up, the numbers didn’t match.

    • Julian Thompson,

      Hi, the CSV export can be pretty confusing!

  12. Rais Kassim,

    Your post was very helpful. I have a question I have been struggling with. Say I have this Facebook page I have been building for sometime now and it’s now 500,000 active followers and now I wanted to sell them a product say VOD (streaming) services for example. How do I gauge the percentage of this followers that are likely to subscribe to my services. Keeping in mind on my Facebook insights table I am averaging a People Reach of 2.4million and a Post Engagement of 1.5million. And also how do I maximize the conversion rate. Thanks

    • Julian Thompson,

      Hi Rais, glad you found the post helpful. Sounds like you’ve built a great community, those reach and engagement numbers are impressive! The only way to gauge the rate at which they will convert is to run a test and get some real numbers. Anything else will be wild guesses as there are too many other variables involved. Maximising the conversion rate could be a topic for a whole other blog post, but, some things to think about: 1. The Facebook Pixel with event tracking if you’re converting on a website. 2. Aim for a consistent, frictionless path to conversion. 3. Consider remarketing to people who visit your landing page, but don’t convert. Good luck! – Team Mosh.

  13. Chinenye Bernadine,

    Thanks for the wonderful explanation ,I now I understand what engagement means in a post .I want to ask how do I create link to my page .

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