With the advent of digital, engagement has risen up the ranks of evaluation criteria. Pre-digital, engagement with a brand wasn’t really monitored, the focus tended to be on either awareness or lead/sales generation.
The introduction of social, and with it the opportunity to have a two-way dialogue with customers, has pushed ‘engagement’, as a metric, well and truly into the spotlight. It’s no longer appropriate to simply tell customers about your products and services – they want to know more about you – your personality, your ethos and philosophy. They want to be able to share their experiences of your brand, good or bad, with their fellow followers. Many are also willing to share their ideas and suggestions for how you could improve or innovate your products/services.
So what exactly is engagement?
Engagement: The interactions between people and brands – mainly in an online arena.
How do we measure it?
The metrics detailed below are some of the key metrics used when measuring engagement. It is not an exhaustive list so depending on your goal, there may be a better metric which is not mentioned here.
Measuring engagement online
Cost per Click or Clickthrough Rate (CPC/CTR)
The cost per click/click through rate metric measures how many people have clicked on an online ad or email vs the total cost of the activity and is usually expressed as an average. Used in email marketing and online advertising/PPC, it shows that your activity has been noticed and acted upon.
The beauty of analytics is that you can track virtually anything and everything. The following website analytics give a good indication of user engagement on your website:
Average session duration
Average no of pages visited
Number of downloads
Number of Goal and/or Event conversions
Any measurable activity that a user engages in before making a conversion
The percentage of people who land on your page and leave without interacting or viewing any other pages. NB While a high bounce rate is often seen as a negative, it really does depend on the page in question e.g. if a blog post has a high bounce rate, that may not be a bad thing, assuming a visitor has landed on the blog post page from a social post and had read your content before leaving the site.
Interaction Rate (Website/Advertising)
Tracking action within ad or webpage e.g. rollover, click play on video, check box, etc. The metric is calculated based on % of impressions resulting in an interaction.
Social Media Metrics
An incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website. Often considered an indication of the popularity/importance of your website. Important for SEO because search engines such as Google give more credit to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks and consider them to be more relevant than others when returning search results.
Sharing content from a website via a social media platform.
Instances where a company or brand name is mentioned/tagged online, usually on social media or in a blog post, website article or other piece of content.
The emotion behind a social mention. Is the mention positive, negative or neutral? Sentiment adds important context to social conversations without it, measurement of mentions could be misleading. Eg Your brand might receive lots of mentions on social media but if the majority of the mentions are negative, it could highlight a potential issue.
Social Share of Voice
Percentage of mentions within the industry that are about your brand versus the percentage that are about the competition.
Online Contact /Direct Messaging
The number of reshares, retweets or repins on average for each post.
Approval actions e.g. favourites, likes, +1s etc are counted as ‘virtual applause’ received from your audience.
The number of comments or replies.
The number of engagements (clicks, retweets, replies, follows and favourites) divided by the total number of impressions.
Any form of digital content such as blogs, reviews, videos, photos etc. that are produced and shared by end users of an online service or website.
Measuring engagement offline
With regard to offline material there has to be a mechanic in place e.g. coupon to track the response of the consumer:
Cost per response (CPR)
The cost per response metric measures how many responses a campaign has generated vs the total cost of the campaign and is usually expressed as an average. Used in direct marketing and direct response advertising, the responses can come from any of the following:
Physically filling out a coupon or form on an ad, leaflet or brochure and sending it back to the company for fulfilment.
Direct Response Phone Numbers
Dedicated phone numbers which are used to track responses to advertising or direct marketing activity.
Vanity URL tracking
Used to track online responses generated from offline activity e.g. advertising campaigns/marketing literature. A word of caution: if your vanity url is your web address followed by /vanityurl some people may just type in your website url and then search through your website to get to the information that they want.
Engaging with your audience takes time and requires trust. In today’s ultra-competitive world, businesses need to create valuable content and experiences to help nurture and build online relationships between their customers and their brand.
Consumers will connect and engage with a brand if there is something in it for them – that doesn’t mean giving away millions of branded freebies. Useful information about your product, its usage or simply helpful tips so your customer can do something more efficiently, all add value to your content offering. It’s not about your business, it’s all about the customer.
So, if tracking engagement is your goal, the metrics above will tell you if your marketing activity is performing as it should. If you need a helping hand with any aspect of marketing measurement and evaluation, get in touch today.
Enjoy this? Read Evaluating awareness: Making everything count Pt. 1