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Engagement, be it social media engagement, content engagement or plain old audience engagement, is the kind of buzzword that never goes out of fashion. After all, engaging the audience, whatever the medium be, is the primary purpose of all marketing. But real engagement is not merely interaction with the customer -- engagement becomes fruitful when it goes beyond passive recognition or acknowledgment of your business.
But what does engagement really mean?
When it comes to engaging the audience in the digital media, the usual phrases that get thrown about include 'clicks', 'time on page', shares etc. But the problem lies in companies' understanding of how these metrics work and whether they accurately disclose how people are interacting with your content or on your social media page. Which is why a clear understanding of how best to measure engagement must be an essential part of a company's overall digital marketing strategy.
Here are some ways to measure engagement.
- Know your traffic - Your website is the face of your brand and measuring engagement clearly must begin here. Measuring traffic by using tools such as Google Analytics is a given but engagement is also about how much of that traffic resulted in conversions and helped the business. This can be measured by tracking how many visitor go to a specific page, average duration of the visit, number of pages visited and measuring the number of newsletter sign-ups and subscriptions.
Likes, Shares and clicks per post - These are the simplest of metrics to gauge your audience engagement. They give you an immediate understanding of how popular your post is and how you can increase your reach by sticking to what your audience likes most.
Also, while sharing blog posts or any other third-party content, it is important to measure the number of times users have clicked on the content. This will help you understand if your social media strategies are working well and if it is getting your audience to read your content. With this measurement, you can well figure out if your content aligns with your brand message.
Track conversions instead of reach - Reach is the number of people that see your content -- even if they see it for half a second. Evidently, it means little in the larger scheme of things and at the most, can be a feel-good factor. Think clickbait headlines without much content in the text. The headlines might drive traffic to your website but what next?
Engagement is not mere 'reach'. Content is not created by businesses for audience to just read and leave -- businesses want its visitors to take action. In other words, conversions. Obviously, conversions are measured by sales but it can be gauged through other methods such as 'calls to action', subscription offers and newsletter sign-ups.
Compare and measure over a time period - Whatever your form of business or marketing, online or offline, marketers need to analyse what is working (and what isn't) over a long period of time. This means not being complacent about an increase in social media likes and shares but trying to delve deeper into how involved the audience are with your content you create and whether they are responding by actual action.
Measuring over a period of time will also help you determine if you are losing or gaining followers and analyse if you need to tweak your strategy a bit.
Marketing strategies must be treated like long-term experiments. The audience' preferences and demands keep changing and evolving and a successful marketer will garner the knowledge to understand audience behaviour as well as the tools to measure them. Measuring engagement in the correct way is just the first step in this long journey.