Is mainstream media ‘jealous’ of Mocha’s engagement rate?

By: Ryan Macasero January 28,2017 - 08:38 PM



Forget the fact that before Rodrigo Duterte was elected president, engagement rate was not even discussed outside of a very exclusive group of those who worked in the media industry. Yet, lately, it’s been a favorite topic of prominent bloggers like Mocha Uson and Thinking Pinoy.

Forget, also, that engagement is only one of several metrics used to gauge the success of media organizations. Facebook is only one of many platforms where digital content is delivered. Engagement rate is not a metric in gauging the quality of journalism produced, nor is it the only way to measure reception by its audience.

Neither is it productive to compare the engagement rates of media organizations to bloggers, nor any other kind of unrelated business. It’s comparing apples to oranges. The only thing that your engagement rate tells you is how interested your audience is in reacting, commenting or sharing your content.

For those who don’t know, this is how to measure the engagement rate of a Facebook page: You take the number of interactions (likes, shares and comments) divide it by the total number of followers (for the day, week, or month, etc…) and multiply that by 100. Voila!

For pages like Mocha Uson or Thinking Pinoy, catering to an audience already highly organized and already seeking to engage in whatever content is produced, whether real, fake, positive or negative, about their president, a high engagement rate is almost assured. For smaller outlets like Cebu Daily News, who produces content on a range of topics like local governance, entertainment, sports, environment, etc… we have to work much harder to engage our audience. It is a given that not every story will produce the conversations that we desire. But we try anyway.

For the past month, Cebu Daily News’ engagement rate has been floating between 30 and 50 percent weekly with over 130,000 followers. This makes it one of the most engaging news pages in the country, although it is not one of the most followed. This puts us at a comparable engagement rate with Mocha Uson, who at her latest post, announced her engagement rate at about 55 percent or almost 2.5 million interactions with 4.5 million followers.

Her page has many more followers than ours. But the important thing to note here is that our content and our audience couldn’t be any more different than hers.

Fake news, celebrity pages and niche blogs can also produce a much higher engagement rate, because they tell people what they want to hear.

For us in the “mainstream” media, we don’t lose sleep if our engagement rate drops. For one, it is not the only metric we produce for advertising clients. Secondly, we don’t know who Mocha, Thinking Pinoy, or other bloggers’ clientele are, nor do we care. And I am certain that those deciding where to invest in advertising are wise enough to understand the difference between the audience of “mainstream” media versus the pages of these bloggers. Other considerations we present to our advertisers include website data, Instagram, Twitter and even chat apps.

Something those who insist on flaunting their engagement rate must understand is that a low engagement rate won’t kill mainstream media.

Journalism has been here before Facebook, and it will be here long after Facebook is history.

So bloggers can continue producing whatever content they want to produce and say what they want to say, as it is their right to do so under the Constitution, as long as it does not involve harassing or threatening other citizens.

More important than the engagement rate is that media and journalists continue to push to tell stories that –hopefully— engage and inspire our readers to act.

My suggestion to these bloggers? Enjoy your engagement rate and flaunt it as much as you like. But is the mainstream media “jealous” of your engagement? Oh, please.

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TAGS: blog, blogger, Cebu, Duterte, engagement, government, Mocha, Mocha Uson, politics, President Rodrigo Duterte, shares, social media, trolls

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