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.


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.


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.

Example of likes in posting

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 fewer but more engaged followers.


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.

Example of Engagement with posting

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.

There are two kinds of Like Follower Ratios that we differentiate:

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

Example of first like follower ratio

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

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

example of like follower ratio in posting

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.


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

We observed that YouTubers often receive a higher engagement on Instagram than those influencers that are mainly present on Instagram itself. One explanation for this is that YouTubers often encourage their YouTube followers to also follow them on Instagram for more intimate insights into their lives, and thus, driving traffic towards their Instagram channels. YouTubers often have a very dedicated, die-hard fan base and are able to attract fans across all social media platforms. Furthermore, YouTube stars can be understood as a small a small community – vloggers usually recommend each other in their postings or sometimes even guest-star in other vloggers’ videos.

The LFR is also 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.


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.

Example of fake channel analysis

Example of a channel with purchased likes

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


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 a 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.


Published originally on InfluencerDB