How Measuring Online Engagement Can Help Your Business (Part Two)

Analytics | March 26, 2018

In my previous article, “What Is Online Engagement And Why Should You Measure It?”, I explained how measuring online engagement can help you better understand the customer experience. In this article, I am going share some metrics and methods that will help you measure engagement with your website. Additionally, I will explain how you can leverage these metrics to improve business results.

Defining engagement

To determine how to measure online engagement, first define what engagement means to your organization. Which interactions and attributes would validate that a user is engaged with your website/mobile site/mobile app? These interactions and attributes can be broken down into four (4) main parts:

  1. Acquisition sources (BARV)
  2. Visitor Loyalty (VL)
  3. Content Consumption (PV TOS)
  4. Content Interaction (VI)

If you are a mathematician and would like to see a formula defining visitor engagement (VE), then your wish is my command:

VE = ((PV TOS) and/or (BARV) and/or (VL) and/or (VI))

Basically, this formula states that visitor engagement (VE) is equal to a combination of page views and time on site looking at specific content (PV TOS) and/or a brand aware returning visitor (BARV) and/or visitor loyalty (VL) and/or visitor interaction (VI). Fairly simple, right?

Establishing a threshold for engagement

I bet most of you are already probably measuring most of the interactions and attributes listed above. The tricky part comes when you need to define thresholds for what qualifies as “an engaged visit.”

For example, do you consider a person that returns once a week to your site engaged? What about twice a day? What is the correct threshold to define a visitor’s engagement? That question can be answered by analyzing your past data.

What about content interaction? What actions on the site do you consider to be a sign of engagement? Watching a video, sharing a story, commenting? Possibly a combination of some sort? This is what you will need to decide.

Why do we even need to create a threshold, you might ask? Well, we would need them for segmentation purposes. To understand your most engaged users, you must segment them from the rest of your audience for further analysis.

The wonderful part of my formula above is the abundant opportunities it gives you to segment your audience. Each one of the parts of the formula can be used as a separate segment. By doing this you can trend the segment over time to see if your engaged audience is growing or depleting. You can even create a complex segment with AND and OR statements to see how many unique visitors are engaged with your site.

Improving engagement for business results

Okay, so all of this measurement and segmentation is great, but does it pass the “so what” test?

Well, let’s take an example. Say you come to me and tell me that our engaged visitor segment increased month over month, my answer would be “so what?” What can I do with that information that will help me improve my bottom line, either through increasing revenue or decreasing expenses? In short, how can measuring and reporting on engagement be turned into an action item to positively impact the business?

Luckily for you, I have a couple of suggestions. Let’s say you have a content site that doesn’t sell a product but generates revenue mainly through the sale of advertising placed on the site. What if, after measuring engagement, you realize that your engaged audience generates 10x the amount of ad impressions than the average visitor. Also, what if you could prove that same audience segment was 5x more engaged with the advertising on the site? Your goal then would be to acquire, retain, and develop as many engaged visitors as possible.

How can this be done? First, by segmenting your engaged audience you can begin to understand where these visitors are coming from and spend your marketing dollars on those acquisition sources to increase the number of engaged visitors.

Secondly, you should deliver personalized content to your most engaged visitors. Again, creating segments based on engagement will help you understand the type of content that your engaged visitors value the most.

Personalized content may then be delivered through a targeting tool that heads toward your end goal, which is to increase visitor engagement with your site through acquiring new engaged visitors, to retain current engaged visitors, and to drive the visitors you currently have to engage more with your content/site/brand.

This framework will allow you to begin measuring engagement and to use this information to improve your results on an ongoing basis.




By: Chris Meares, VP of Analytics, MaasMedia
This article has been adapted from an earlier version, posted here on November 5, 2013.



Kari Mayhew is the Marketing Manager for iCiDIGITAL, and has contributed engaging and educational ideas to a variety of enterprises, both on and off-line, for well over a decade. She can also be found experimenting in the kitchen, running on dirt trails and cheering for favorite teams.