REPORT: Influencer marketing benchmarks and trends 2023

Complete Guide to YouTube Engagement Rate: What It Is & Why It Is Important

Engagement rate is an indicator reflecting how actively the audience interacts with the content: likes, comments, reposts, and so on. The higher the ER, the more interested the subscribers are. That is why, if a YouTube channel has over 200,000 followers but a video collects only 20-30 likes at most, it is considered strange.

So what ER is considered good? And why should a marketer pay attention to this indicator before starting an influencer marketing campaign with a YouTuber? Let's figure it out!

What is the engagement rate?

For a while, the most important metric the businesses took into account selecting influencers for advertising campaigns was the number of subscribers. This indicator was considered the only one expressing the “power” of the profile or YouTube channel. Allegedly, the more people subscribe to the channel’s updates, the cooler the influencer is and more people will learn about the brand. But the reality is not exactly like this. At some point, every marketer starting a new influencer marketing campaign started asking a completely logical question: “Is the number of followers really the most important indicator?”

Often, the negative effect of a big number of followers was experienced when businesses started advertising campaigns to introduce new products to the audiences. It turned out that subscribers were not always those people who were really interested in a particular influencer. Also, often the main incentive to subscribe was a one-time interest, which quickly subsided, and after a while, people unsubscribed, or became “dead souls”, listlessly scrolling through the creator’s publications.

The situation is aggravated by the social networks’ algorithms: the users see the publications depending on their current popularity. Simply put, those influencers who instantly have a lot of reactions go to the top, and less popular publications generally remain without a chance to rise in the search results.

To do this, account or YouTube channel holders have to be proactive and form a loyal community that is really interested in the content around their profiles. In this case, even a channel with a relatively small number of subscribers has every chance of winning (if the publications cause a lively reaction). Then the publications of such an influencer will not go down in the search results, but, on the contrary, will appear in the feed of a wider audience.

The influencers face the question of bringing subscribers to an active state – they should be a benefit and not be a “dead weight”. Benefit means interest, attention, or, to be more precise, engagement.

This is where we come to the main topic of our article.

Engagement rate (ER) is a metric that helps to evaluate the effectiveness of the content policy and communication on the site. In simple terms, ER allows businesses to determine how actively the audience interacts with the influencer’s publications. An active reaction means:

  • Like;
  • Repost;
  • Comment;
  • Saving the publication;
  • Marking the publications as “favorites”.

YouTube's algorithms are most focused on audience engagement when selecting videos for recommendations. How many likes and comments does an influencer get for every thousand views? How emotionally do people discuss the creator’s content? The YouTube engagement rate allows you to determine which videos can achieve the greatest engagement, which methods of interaction with the audience work, and which ones do not.

By the way, dislikes are also counted in the YouTube ER. A negative response is also a response, and it means that people are ready to watch this content, albeit as a guilty pleasure or to raise their self-esteem (“I am obviously more intelligent/beautiful/etc. than this YouTuber"). And for advertisers, it sometimes makes no difference whether the users watch the video with approval or with disgust – they will see the ad. But still, usually it’s also important for the reactions to be positive.

How to calculate ER and what is an engagement calculator?

Traditionally, the ER formula is the same and you can calculate the engagement rate for one post or all posts within a certain period. First, you need to calculate the average number of reactions per post — for this you need to take all the posts within a certain period (for example, a week) and sum up all the reactions. Next, you need to divide the total number by the number of posts for this period. Finally, you will have to divide the resulting value by the number of subscribers in the account and multiply by 100. This will be the average engagement rate for various social networks.

Related: How to Check Instagram Engagement Rate & Why It Matters to Creators and Advertisers?

How to calculate the engagement rate on YouTube?

This formula is used to calculate the ER on YouTube because all the publications here are videos and the number of views is one of the most important parameters that count. The fact is that on YouTube, the number of views is available to all users, and not just the channel owner, so it is convenient to use the engagement rate by views for comparison. 

The resulting value may be a little less than an average ER because one user can see one publication several times, respectively, each of these views will be taken into account in the formula:

YouTube Engagement Rate Formula

Today, instead of making long calculations manually, you can use any YouTube engagement calculator – a particular software available on the Internet that helps to make the calculations quickly. However, BuzzGuru offers an even better option – our discovery and analytics platform provides you with all the necessary statistics about the YouTubers that you may need to decide whether or not to start an ad campaign with. And yes, the already calculated ER is included:

See the calculated ER on YouTube

What is the average ER for various groups of influencers?

From a marketing point of view, all influencers can be divided into 5 groups:

  • Nano-influencers – 1K-10K followers,
  • Micro-influencers – 10K-50K followers,
  • Mid-tier – 50K-500K followers,
  • Macro-influencers – 500K-1M followers,
  • Mega-influencers – 1M+ followers.

The main driving forces of influencer marketing are micro-, macro- and mega-influencers. Let's try to objectively evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of working with these creators.

Working with micro-influencers, you collaborate with creators who actively communicate with their followers. People trust them and listen to their expert opinions. Advertising on their YouTube channels is perceived more as friendly advice, while for a celebrity it looks like a clear advertising post. Micro-influencers' followers are more likely to react to their new publications. 

When working with micro-influencers, you will invest less in sponsored publications. But you need to watch what kind of response this type of creator collects in the comments, as well as how natural their content looks.

Instead of spending money on multiple posts from one or two macro- or mega-influencers, marketers can partner with more micro-influencers to potentially reach a more engaged audience over a longer period. Some social media engagement calculators show that publications of this category of creators may have a higher engagement rate compared to publications of macro-influencers.

Although ad campaigns with macro-influencers often require significant investment, they allow you to reach a wider audience and the risk of having fake accounts among their followers is much lower. Moreover, such creators allow the brand to get more coverage and the level of content quality on such channels is higher.

Publications from macro-influencers appear more often in the recommended content. Advertisements in these publications are made very “thinly” and do not catch the eye. 

Now let's talk about the celebrities, the influencers with the biggest numbers of followers. They are referred to as mega-influencers. Of course, promoting a product with the help of such creators is the perfect way to build brand awareness among the masses. But celebrities don’t bring high conversions. If a mega-influencer has 3 million subscribers, only 10% of these people will like the publication. This is 300,000 people. And only a few, for example, will follow the link in the profile and buy the product. So think about whether such advertising is effective for your brand. 

However, when it comes to YouTube, the general rule of higher micro-influencers' effectiveness doesn’t work. Here, the channels with more followers have higher ER. It was confirmed by the latest Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report:

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No matter what kind of influencers you would like to collaborate with, a micro-influencer or a celebrity, the BuzzGuru platform will be a perfect solution to help select the right creator.

Thus, if you don’t know which YouTuber to choose, just follow some easy steps:

1. On the dashboard, select the Influencer Discovery tab. Next, select YouTube as a platform to find creators for future collaborations:

YouTube Influencer Discovery Tool

2. You will see the filters you can apply to narrow the list of YouTubers. For example, you can specify the number of subscribers:

Search YouTubers by the number of subscribers

3. Next, you will see the list of influencers to select from. You can change it by the number of subscribers, views or the price of potential integration: 

Top YouTubers

4. Finally, choose the YouTuber you would like to cooperate with from the list. On the channel’s page, you will easily find the “Content analytics” section with the engagement rate already calculated for your convenience:

Check the ER of PewDiePie

In addition to the ER of the specified channel, you will find the average engagement rate on similar channels. It will give you a better understanding of how the audience of the selected YouTuber engages with the publications compared to similar creators.


A high YouTube engagement rate does not guarantee that the integration will help increase sales of the products or services you would like to advertise. However, it is important for organic reach. The more the channel’s audience engages with the content, the better. Therefore, it is worth tracking this metric on the BuzzGuru analytics platform and thinking over the content that will help to increase ER: hold contests, ask questions to subscribers, and post useful videos.

Try BuzzGuru today! Submit for a free trial and check out platform’s capabilities by yourself.