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User engagement is not often a high enough priority for digital marketers, and that is both a big mistake and a big opportunity. Many reports focus on traffic, revenue, keyword rankings (and of course DataCube score), but user engagement metrics are usually an afterthought.
Unlocking the value of user engagement data should be at the heart of every report, whether the focus is SEO/SEM, content marketing, email marketing, or conversion rate optimization.
A variety of commonly tracked metrics tend to fall under the bucket of “engagement,” but they all focus on how people interact with your webpage. Do users spend more time on one page than another? Do users click back to a search result immediately after visiting your website? If a particular type of content is present, such as a video, do users watch the full video?
Note the difference between an engagement metric and an experience metric. Experience metrics focus on technical performance of your site, such as the page load speed.
In addition to the common engagement metrics discussed here, remember you can set up custom metrics to answer questions specific to your website or business. For example, if you’ve recently invested in new media (videos, infographics, etc.) to give your customers more information at various points of the sales funnel, you might want to see if the average order value of customers who watch a new video is higher or lower than those who don’t watch a video, and compared to those who watch a different video.
Really digging into engagement metrics helps determine ROI on recent digital implementations and gives you a wealth of helpful information for marketing resource allocation.
Many traffic reports break down overall traffic numbers by category or topic, usually aligning with business objectives. Segmenting by page design or feature allows for more cross-channel analysis and optimization.
Example: An apparel website’s report might segment traffic by shoes, shirts, and pants. After a major website redesign, the report shows shoes benefited much more than shirts and pants. A number of business decisions might be made because of this, but if the report segmented by page type, such as category pages, product pages and product guides, the real story may be the shoe category had more product guides, which benefited the most from the design update, and drove the shoe performance. With that information, instead of investing more heavily in shoes, the company’s digital marketing director might invest in more product guides rather than more shoe-specific content.
What’s more important, user engagement or traffic? What about keyword ranking? How do these impact one another? There are a lot of questions that can come up when you start digging into engagement metrics. Sometimes, if your keyword rankings and SEO traffic go up, your website might start to receive more casual users, who are less engaged than those who found you before.
To help make sense of this, build and refine a custom dashboard tailored to your business and website’s goals. Over time, it will go beyond telling you what is happening, and tell you why.
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