IMPORTANCE OF MEASURING ONLINE ENGAGEMENT
Online engagement as a measure of success is not a new concept online, though not one that has ever been clearly defined. The reason for this difficulty is that online engagement means different things to different people. Some organizations might see engagement as a purchase in their online store or perhaps a paid subscription to their online service. But what happens if you dont sell anything online?
Did you know that less than 3% of all visitors to a retail site actually participate in a purchase, does this mean the other 97% of visitors arent engaged with your website? In the first part of my blog series on engagement, I am going to explain what online engagement is and why you should be measuring it. I also believe that everyone has the capability to measure engagement and could be doing it themselves; however, here at MaassMedia we have developed custom engagement models for our clients and are capable of doing it for any type of organization in any type of vertical.
Okay, enough with the sales pitch, lets get started.
What is online engagement?
We must first start with defining what engagement means. One of the basic definitions of engagement is as follows:
To hold the attention ENGROSS Her work engages her completely
To induce to participate She engaged the shy boy in conversation
So according to the above definition, engagement is the ability to hold the attention of an individual or to induce the individual to participate in some sort of activity. To take this a step further, online engagement can be defined as a websites ability to hold a visitors attention or induce the visitor to participate the website. So in order to measure online engagement, an organization must first define which metrics will indicate how the website will hold a visitors attention or induce the visitor to participate.
Why measure online engagement?
Defining online engagement was the easy part, now comes the hard part, why would you actually measure online engagement? There are many reasons why it is a good idea to measure the engagement of your visitors to your website. I want to explore a couple of possibilities of why measuring online engagement could help your organization.
Increase Ad Revenue
For publishers, selling ads on their site is one of the main streams of revenue for the company. Publishers sell ads on a cost per thousand (CPM) and for most publishers, the goal is to get the highest CPM possible from the advertiser. Advertisers want their ads to appear in the most favorable location on the website such as the homepage or perhaps a section of the site.
What if you, the publisher, could sell higher CPM ads on the most engaged content on your site or, perhaps, to the most engaged visitors to your website. If you measure the online engagement of your visitors and then monitor them in real time, this becomes a real possibility and then you can go to your advertisers and charge a higher CPM for your engaged audience.
Another reason to measure online engagement is to use it as a baseline for predictive models. By analyzing your past engagement metrics and running a correlation analysis on these metrics to the conversion events on your site, you can find out which events on your site are the best at predicting success. You can then create a predictive model that scores visitors in real time based on their engaged behavior on your site. Not only can you use the engagement as part of the model but you can include other aspects of your traffic to become even more refined, such as traffic source, keyword, recency of visit number.
We all know that every visit to your website is different, each visitor expects a different experience even if you are not giving them one. But what if you could? What if you could use the data that you are getting from each visitor in order to personalize their experience on your website? This is just another reason that online engagement should be measured. By knowing what type of content each individual visitor is most engaged with, you have the ability to then serve them the content they want to see.
Is this a new concept? Not at all, but it must start with measuring online engagement. Is this just for content? Of course not. You can learn so much information about your individual by measuring their engagement with your site. Are they prone to comment or review? Do they prefer to share your content via email or social media? All of these actions can be measured and then used to further engage the visitor on your website, in real time. you ask? Great question, and that will be the focus of the next blog in the series, How to measure online engagement.
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