I use this word a lot and I realized this morning while on a call with a client that I don’t always fully describe what it means.
So in this post I wanted to take a minute and tell you exactly what I mean when I talk about “engagement” as a metric of success in content marketing.
What is Engagement?
Engagement is any time someone reading a blog post on your website, a post on your Facebook page or an article about your company on another website interacts with it.
Sharing on Facebook.
Emailing to a Friend.
Asking a Question.
It’s all engagement to some degree and it’s all a good sign for your content efforts. It’s also one of the hardest metrics to manage because it doesn’t always directly convert to sales.
High engagement numbers don’t necessarily mean high conversion rates or more profit for your company, at least not right away, so there are two factors at play here.
First, are people engaging with content and then…
Second, are they at some point converting to a prospect or customer because of that content.
That’s one of the things we strive to help our clients understand and one of the reasons we are so keen on tracking these numbers whenever possible.
How to Track Engagement
Facebook provides a fairly powerful Insights tool to measure how people interact with your posts. So too does WordPress and Google Analytics is an industry standard for tracking how people interact with any given page on your site.
These are all very powerful tools, but they are just tools. You still need to devise your own methods for measuring engagement. Some topics, for example, are more likely to drive comments than others. I saw a stat once that 1 out of every 100-1,000 people will respond to something they see in some form.
That’s a huge range and most of the time, the sites on the good end of that spectrum are those related to topics in which everyone has an opinion. Entertainment, politics and technology are key examples.
On the flip side, I doubt 1 in 100 people are commenting on or sharing a post about how to fix a broken sink (unless of course it’s a really funny post – more on that here).
From Engagement to Conversion
So how do you get from engagement to conversion when you can’t measure it the same for every site?
Google Analytics can help a lot with this. Set up goal paths and track where people come from when they convert on your site. Then look at how many people come from key sources.
For example, I can look at a client’s site and see that 20% of the traffic that converts on the site was at one point on the Facebook Page for that brand. Then I can look at Facebook Insights and see that 40% of the Fans on the Page have engaged at some point with the Page.
I can also see that Facebook Fans are twice as likely to comment on the website’s posts and read multiple pages and then I start to see how important engagement is. It then becomes a matter of boosting which things we post to drive that engagement.
At the end of the day, if you can keep a close eye on your engagement numbers and know what types of content get people clicking and commenting and what types drive conversions, you’re ten steps ahead of most competitors.
We know from experience that engagement converts – it builds a stronger brand, it drives word of mouth, and it generates interest in your company in ways that nothing else can.
So it’s what we strive for – all while keeping in mind that valuable next step. The click through and convert.