A follower to following ratio is the number of followers an account has relative to the number of accounts they are following on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
This is also known as your “follow ratio” or in the eyes of some, your “Instagram Cool Ratio.”
Your follow ratio is more of a vanity metric rather than a truly useful social media metric like engagement rate.
What Your Follow Ratio Says About You
It’s thought that your follow ratio gives people a quick idea of how “cool” your account is.
That’s because popular accounts tend to have far more accounts following them than vice versa.
Let’s use Justin Bieber’s Instagram as an extreme case. The Biebs has over 145 million followers, but he follows only 450 or so accounts. This shows that people are far more interested in following him than he is in following other people.
Compare this with a “normal” Instagram account that follows around 1,000 accounts and has 150 followers. By glancing quickly at this account, you can tell they likely do more consuming of content than creation.
Your follower ratio is also a general indication of:
- how popular your content is
- how selective you are with your follows
- how likely you are to follow back
However, some accounts will use manipulative tactics like following you to get you to follow back, and then unfollowing you to improve their ratio. Therefore, follow ratio isn’t always a reliable metric.
How to Calculate Follower to Following Ratio
To calculate your follower to following ratio, divide the number of accounts that follow you by the number of accounts you follow.
Follow Ratio = Number of Followers ÷ Number of Accounts Followed
For example, if you have 10,000 followers and follow 1,000 accounts, your follow ratio is 10 (or 10:1, if you want to use a true ratio).
If you have 1,000 followers and follow 2,000 accounts, your follow ratio is 0.5 (or 1:2).
In Bieber’s case, if he has 145 million followers and follows 450 accounts, his follow ratio is a whopping 322,222.
A follow ratio of 1 means you follow the same number of accounts that follow you.
A follow ratio above 1 means you have more accounts that follow you, and a follow ratio below 1 means you follow more accounts than you have followers.
What is a Good Follower to Following Benchmark?
Because there are different approaches to how selective people are with following other accounts, there’s no standard follow ratio benchmark to strive for.
However, when evaluating a brand’s follow ratio, you can use these general benchmarks to get an idea of account quality:
- < 0.5 = Spam: Brands who follow twice as many accounts as accounts that follow them are likely trying to gain followers by follow-back schemes
- 0.5-1 = Low Quality: This ratio doesn’t scream spam, but it also doesn’t indicate a must-follow account
- 1:2 = Average: A slightly positive follow ratio is indicative of a new, yet growing account
- 2:10 = Quality: An account in this range has proven they are worth a follow
- 10:300,000+ = Influencer: An account in this range easily gains new followers and has a major influence on their social media sphere
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