What is Engagement?
Before we get started on on how to increase engagement, I believe it’s very important for any digital marketer to clearly understand what engagement means.It certainly is not a metric.
Is it low bounce rate? Higher number of page views?Increased time on site?We can go on and on, looking at various metrics trying to define what engagement is.But in reality, what engagement means for each business/website is different, it could even mean different things for different sections of the website.
Take a look at the example below
The given values in the above diagram are good news for an analyst at dictionary.com but not for an analyst at wsj.com(Wall Street Journal).
Since the core purpose of these two websites are entirely different.
People visit dictionary.com to look up a word.The High bounce rate reflects that they have found what they are looking for within the 1st page of search results and has left.The low average time reflects that the visitor has been able to find the needed word quickly and efficiently.
wsj.com exists for an entirely different purpose.The website is there to educate people about current events,therefore, it needs people read more of their content.In their context, it would be good news to see very low bounce rates and the very high time averages.
The 1st thing you need to figure out for yourself is,What engagement means for your website.
The maestro Avinash Kaushik takes a closer look at this in his book, Web Analytics:An Hour a Day.
For those of you in e-commerce, engagement is somewhat straight forward.Let’s focus on websites that mainly depend on content marketing.
How can we measure engagement in a website driven by content marketing?
Avinash kaushik has written a great post on how to measure the engagement of the overall site.Let me take some trouble and go into more granular level and measure engagement for each article/blog published with in a certain date range on your website.
I have created a custom report with a set of metrics in order to achieve this.If you are new to GA, my colleague Bilal Azeez has done a brief screencast on how to create a basic custom report.
Let’s take a closer look at what each metric represents and why we use these metrics.
Bounce Rate :
Percentage of visitors who navigate away from the website after viewing the page.
We want to make sure our visitors consume more content.Higher bounce rates reflect that only a few visitors view more than one page.What we need to do is look at ways we can reduce this bounce rate.
Avg.Session Duration :
The average time a visitor spends on the website per session.
Since we want our users to consume more of our content,we need them to spend more time on our website.It is essential to look at strategies to increase the time spent on our website
This shows the average number of pages viewed per session.
Higher number of pages per session means that the user is viewing more pages in a session.A higher ratio reflects that the user is consuming more content
Unique Pageviews :
The number of times a unique IP address visits your page for the 1st time
This helps us identify the most popular posts(we can also use a more sophisticated mechanism like the ONE METRIC to identify this)
Let’s export your custom report to excel and follow a few simple steps to identify the articles that will be of value to get started.
- Sort the unique page views column highest to lowest,take the top 50
- Sort the bounce rate column from highest to lowest.take the top 10
We now have 10 popular articles that have higher bounce rate than the average bounce rate.
Things that might work — A Hypothesis
- Creating call to action banners that are relevant to the page content.Add other related links on those banners.Make sure to add these banners in such a way, that it does not disrupt the UX (Ex: If the article is on web analytics that mentions the use of custom reports, add a banner saying “learn how to create custom reports under 5 minutes”)
- Setting these banner links to open in a new window.This immensely helps with the UX of your website.
- Integrating links of the same domain within articles, allowing the user to go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain(Internal Links also add value to your SEO efforts)
- Improving overall content readability
Measuring the Impact
“If you cannot measure it,You cannot improve it” ~ Lord Kelvin
Optimization is all about improvement.Given below is a template that I use to measure the impact of our efforts.
We have compared the key metrics before and after the implementation of banners.The impact of your efforts can be easily tracked and justified with the above report.
I have created an editable template for your ease.Click Here to access the template.
It is quite clear that all our hypothesis are in fact true.This gives us the green light to optimize each and every blog/article page on the website accordingly.
Hope your hard work pays off!
Let me know how this turns out.Cheers!