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November 5, 2017

Understanding Audience Engagement and ways to measure it.

A survey by parse.ly showed that majority of publishers don’t have a clear understanding of what audience engagement would mean for their websites. While the term ‘audience engagement’ remains a high priority for publishers, now more than ever; there also exists a certain level of ambiguity as to what Audience Engagement really is.

Vuukle is an engagement platform and we often mention the term in our blogs. Why not discuss and get some clarity over it? In a broad sense, audience engagement would mean any activity by the readers which implies increase in interest and involvement. A completely engaged audience would be that which is loyal and has a high rate of interaction.

chart showing agreement on "engagement" definition

The ambiguity arises because for every brand the final goal differs a lot. Additionally we fail to identify the layers of level of engagement. For a fresh audience even landing on the post page would be a sign of good engagement. But for a regular ones we need deeper interaction. According, to me the target should be to continuously get your audience more engaged, more involved. Successful engagement tactics will always shift your readers to higher levels of engagement. Click To Tweet

Why Audience Engagement Matters?

Depth of interaction matters more than number of interactions. The more involved or connected your audience is better are the chances of conversion.

Its always better to have 10 customers who buy than 100 customers who visit but only 2 of which buy.
The segment of audience that you can build real relationship with is much more valuable than a large non-engaged audience. You can refer few lessons to improve audience engagement.

How do you Measure Audience Engagement: The trouble with the Metrics.

It would be great if we could define audience engagement in a single golden metric. But that is not the case. There is no one parameter to completely gauge the level of engagement. The audience at different levels of engagement interact differently. What your metrics can show is which segment of your audience stands where.

chart highlighting engagement metrics

What marketers consider to be a sign of engagement?

Metrics such as page views, unique visitors are not a clear indicator. Most of it can be very low level engagement. Likes indicate a slightly higher level of engagement.

Comments indicate high level of involvement. They imply that the readers read through and feel compelled enough to share their thoughts. Comments can be considered a primary score for loyalty and personal feedback. The value of a share as a sign of engagement depends on the context. For websites it is important but not a dependable metric.

But none of these really paint a complete picture nor deliver actionable data. Having no clarity with what exactly should be focused on is quite a challenge.

Measuring Audience Engagement: Understanding the Metrics

When talking about engagement a lot of metrics come into the picture. While certain metrics are better indicators of engagement none of them are complete. Without a specific focus it is  difficult to drive action for engagement. Vuukle primarily recommends the following metrics which can act as a definitive measure for your Audience Engagement:

  1. Bounce Rate: Bounce rate indicates the percentage of audience that navigates away from your website after viewing a single page. Low bounce rate is a sign of good engagement. It indicates that the readers are staying and checking out more content.
  2. Average User Session Duration: This indicates the amount of time a user spends on the website in one session. The more time spent, the more engaged the reader is considered to be. The drawback is sometimes a user might leave open a page without being active. For websites using short articles on each page, pages per session would be a better metric.
  3. Average No. of Pages per Session: This indicates the number of pages the user navigated to in a single session. Higher number of pages indicates higher level of engagement. But a low figure isn’t always a bad sign, at such times considering session duration is helpful.
  4. Returning Visitors vs New Visitors: A high percentage of returning visitors shows that your audience likes to come back often. This is a good measure for engagement.

Additional Audience Engagement Metrics made available by Vuukle:

Websites using Vuukle, can get deeper inferences from metrics generated by various action indicators.

Engagement actions: Engagement actions such as Recommend clicks, Share clicks, comment votes, emote bar clicks, etc. deliver deeper insights. Higher number of actions indicate higher engagement. Rather that just counting time or pages visited you get direct insight into user actions.

Recirculating Traffic: This indicates the percentage of traffic that is recirculated or guided to other page on the website using Vuukle widgets. Using this you can specifically find out how much traffic migrates within your pages.

Vuukle metrics are highly informative and source of rich data on actual user actions. Click To Tweet This blog is is a good example of use of such metrics.

Conclusion:

Its important to define what audience engagement means for your website. Based on this you need to focus on specific metrics to target and improve.

Its important to dive deep and focus on metrics that reveal the interest of your audience. The more ‘user action’ oriented the data the better.

 

Santoshkumar Pandey

Engineer by qualification, content & marketing expert by profession. Meditate, blibliophile & a creative geek.