Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who Has the Best Engagement of Them All? – Like Follower Ratio Explained

# Updated in March 2019 # 

One metric that you will always stumble upon when using social media channels for your influencer marketing strategy is the Like Follower Ratio or Engagement Rate. The metric is crucial to determine how engaging an Influencer and his or her audience is. 

What is the Like Follower Ratio?

The Like Follower Ratio is one of the best indicators to understand how good the engagement of followers towards an account actually is. This metric is based on the number of likes on average in relation to the number of followers.

Usually, an erratic Like Follower Ratio (LFR) within a larger time period is normal. Furthermore, it is generally declining with an increasing follower growth. Why is that? We assume that the quality of the audience correlates with number of followers and that is reflected by the LFR. As already briefly mentioned, the LFR describes the likes in relation to the followers. So 200 likes in relation to 2,000 followers equals a good 10% of followers who are engaging with a posting, while 2,000 likes (a by far greater number of likes) just equals 2% if the account has 100,000 followers in total. The more followers an account has, the harder it is to keep up a good LFR because the chances that all of the followers will engage with the postings decreases. Because of the fact that people miss up to 70% of the content in their Instagram feed on average, the audience is qualitatively higher if following less accounts since it is being exposed to a smaller amount of content.

Do engagement rates really decrease with increasing follower numbers?

Let us break that assumption down in more detail: We assume that the engagement is likely to decline with an increasing number of followers.

There are certainly some indicators that can possibly explain a correlation between the number of followers and the engagement rate. First of all, we assume that the new Instagram algorithm is a contributing factor for that phenomenon. Instagram wants you to “see the moments you care about first”, so with 70% a user is missing in his or her feed, the new algorithm should assure that the remaining 30% is content that is relevant for the user and with that, the user is likelier to engage with this content. Regarding Instagram’s statement, we cannot clearly say how Instagram believes to know what the users care about and we can only assume how the algorithm works. We suppose that Instagram calculates which accounts following each other have stronger connections and similarities like similar friends, similar followed channels and the like. Thus, you do not only see postings of channels you engage with most, but also those that your friends interact with and that you might be interested in as well.


Let us try to take that thought a step further: Instagram is a social network whose original idea was to share moments and memories with friends. Its intention was not to give the loudest voice the biggest share. Keeping that in mind, we assume that Instagram’s new algorithm makes it harder for large accounts to even appear in users’ feeds, since these large accounts are not classified as your friends or channels with a close connection to you.

Secondly, followers of rather small accounts are generally interested in the content and, thus, are more active and engaged towards the channel they follow. Therefore, micro-influencers with a rather small followership who dedicate their account to a specific niche often count less but more engaged followers.

How to calculate the Like Follower Ratio

Compared to other metrics, the Like Follower Ratio is pretty straightforward. Let us give you an example to give you further insights into the calculation of the Like Follower Ratio. Below, you see a posting of Caro Daur (@carodaur), a famous German fashion and lifestyle influencer.

Like Follower Ratio Caro Daur

Caro received 29,781 likes for the photo on the day she published the post. That day, she had 981,215 followers. To calculate the metric, you want to know the percentage of likes in relation to the number of followers:

The quotient equals 3,04% of likes for that specific posting in relation to the followers. In general, the calculation for the Like Follower Ratio is based on the average of likes within a certain time span to get an overall understanding of the engagement between an influencer with his or her followers.

We at InfluencerDB can display two different Like Follower Ratios:

Firstly, the general Like Follower Ratio of every influencer based on the average amount of likes within the last four weeks.


Average Like Follower Ratio of a channel within the last 4 weeks

Secondly, a Like Follower Ratio can be calculated for every single posting.

Like Follower Ratio per post

Like Follower Ratio for a single post

Keep in mind that all likes are taken into account for the calculation of each LFR, both the likes of followers as well as the likes of non-followers.


What is a good Like Follower Ratio?

Due to the manifold factors that impact the Like Follower Ratio of an influencer, there is no one standardized benchmark for the LFR.

The LFR is highly dependent on the size of a channel – micro-influencers often show a higher engagement than celebrity-influencers. Furthermore, the LFR differs across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: In general, Instagram shows a 10 times higher engagement than Facebook and about 3.5 Billion likes are counted on the platform every day. We created an analysis on of the average Like-Follower-Ratio on different sized accounts, you can see the results below!

Another way to measure your marketing efforts on Instagram is by verticals. Instagram marketers often think that beauty and fashion are two industries that always perform well on Instagram, but the two verticals also suffer from high saturation. The Like-Follower-Ratio Benchmark will give you some idea of the LFR you can achieve in your industry.

Watch out: The appearance is deceitful!

The Like Follower Ratio is definitely a metric to look at when evaluating the value of an influencer. An extreme drop of the Like Follower Ratio but an abnormal increase of followers without any visible extra media exposure can be an indicator of purchased followers. These followers are mostly bots that only follow but do not engage with a channel. There are bots that do both, though, which makes detecting purchased followers more difficult.

Likewise, an extremely high Like Follower Ratio has to be examined carefully. The channels of our Operation Instafamous show immense Like Follower Ratios since we purchased likes for the channels but not followers. Thus, a lot more people like our content than actually follow our channels.

Like Follower Ratio

Example of channel with purchased likes

Therefore, a mixture of data-based analysis and manual evaluation is key when examining the LFR.

The Takeaway

Although no clear benchmarks can be defined regarding the Like Follower Ratio, a look at the metric can help brands and companies to evaluate if an influencer is able to generate awareness of a brand or a product. Each like guarantees that the user has perceived the displayed product or brand. In this regard, the LFR is a more valuable metric than the follower number of an influencer, since a great number of followers does not always come with high engagement and is not necessarily an indicator of a high-quality audience.

But the value of good engagement is already threatened by like-abuse and the use of like-tools and engagement groups. These topics will be addressed in the upcoming blog posts. So, understanding the metrics is important to identify an honest, authentic, and high-quality influencer.

Still, the mindset that the number of followers is crucial for success changes and the importance of engagement is on the rise. Therefore, micro-influencers come into the limelight, simply because their engagement is oftentimes more promising.