You are Measuring Post Level Success Wrong

By: James Reichert

Engagement Rate used to be the one and only metric used to measure your content on Facebook, but those days are long gone. Content is no longer only used to engage your audience; it is also now a vehicle for driving actions. For this exact reason, Engagement Rate should not be used to measure the success of all your content during a given time period. Your Total Desired Actions driven by content and Cost per Desired Action if you are promoting content — which you should be — tells a better story when it comes to performance.

Facebook defines Engagement Rate as, “the percentage of people who saw a post that liked, shared, clicked or commented on it.” This metric does not include link clicks or video views, two actions that are now a part of healthy Facebook content strategy. In fact, the Engagement Rate for link posts and video posts is usually below 1 percent since the desired action is not factored into the equation. Does this mean you should completely abandon the metric all together? No, you should not. Engagement Rate is still a good performance indicator for content that is used to purely engage the audience. But how do you measure success for different pieces of content?  Let’s investigate.

Engagement Posts

If you're not promoting content, the best metric is Engagement Rate. But if you are promoting the piece of content (like you should be), it's Cost per Engagement.  Cost per Engagement is probably the stronger indicator since you have more control over the audience to which you are connecting the piece of content.


Link Posts

The main indicators are Link Clicks and Click-Through Rate. However, much like above, Cost per Desired Action (link clicks) is the best way to measure performance if you are promoting the piece of content.



Video Posts

The auto-play feature on Facebook has inflated the total number of video views. You really need to dig deeper here and look at the Average View Duration. This metric will help you figure out how much of the total video was actually viewed, an important data point that can help you figure out when the audience dropped off.


There are numerous additional roles that content can have on Facebook, but the three outlined above are the usual suspects. All in all, I am not writing off Engagement Rate as a viable indicator for post level performance; we just need to be mindful of the desired action of each piece of content. 

What metrics do you think identify success? What metric is most important to you? Tell is in the comments below!