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When I think about Facebook (which I do a lot here at M+R), I like to think of it like the Wild West. There’s a loony sheriff in town who changes the rules constantly—that’s the news feed algorithm. There’s a Marketplace, there’s a Townhall. Two strangers are in a verbal shootout in the comments of your latest post. And us? We fine folk are just trying to run our campaigns while competition for land in Facebook news feeds is getting tougher and tougher.

But if you tie up your horse at the saloon and take a seat with the barkeep, they’ll remind you that one thing never changes around these parts: The only way to beat the algorithm (without paying) is to post actually engaging content.

How do you know if you’ve shared the most engaging content? If you’re like most, you use engagement rate (engaged users / post reach) to see how many of the people that see your post engage with it. However, that gives you some false understandings of how your post is actually performing in the eyes of the algorithm.

Some messages with really high engagement rates barely reach beyond the first few thousand eyeballs, probably because they didn’t get those engagements right off the bat, when it counted. Meanwhile, your other posts that got a lot of reach probably had high engagement rates until they were shown to a lot more people outside your core audience. So these posts engaged a lot more people IRL, but since reach is high too, the engagement rate doesn’t look so hot.

Upon realizing this, we set out, uhhh, prospectin’ to find a better metric to measure engagement. One that more accurately told us which posts are getting boosts in the news feed (so we can keep doing more posts like that). What we came up with was pure gold: Engagement Score

Facebook Engagement Score correlates more closely with the reach a post gets, and we like that it is easily benchmarkable. You know the number of Facebook Fans you have, so the benchmark Facebook Engagement Score will tell you what other orgs your size would see for the number of engaged users.

Want to know what the benchmark Facebook Engagement Score is? You’ll have to wait for our 2018 Benchmarks Study to come out this April. Sign up to get our Lab posts via email so you don’t miss it!

In our quest for trailblazing social media metrics, we didn’t stop there. We’re also starting to measure what types of engagements Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts are getting with these post-level metrics:

Clap Score
(Number of likes, hearts, reactions on a post / Total fans or followers that day)
Most basic level of engagement. It tells you that people approve of your post—or at least it makes them feel something.

Talk Score
(Number of comments on a post / Total fans or followers that day)
If your goal is to foster real conversations about your issues, this is the metric you’ll want to hone in on. It’s going to be lower than your clap score but has more impact on your score in the algorithm.

Share Score
(Number of shares or RTs on a post / Total fans or followers that day)
Many of you are using social media to get in front of new audiences, and sharing is the best thing your readers can do to help that. So look at posts with good Share Scores and see what they have in common. Tip: Reading this blog post we wrote might help you bump up your Share Score.

Do you have other metrics that you use to evaluate which content is good, bad, or ugly? Tweet us @MRCampaigns.