Engagement metrics—playing the numbers

The most important aspect of any engagement metric is to understand what type of conversion you want to achieve through your marketing actions. For every campaign, you need a goal. This may sound obvious, but in a social networking world, the equation is not so easy. This is why so many companies struggle (and fail) to attach a significant ROI to their marketing efforts. If you’re not using the right data, your digital investment may begin to feel like a white elephant.

So what is the right data?

Most of the time in the business world, goals come down from the top, along with the appropriate measuring devices and protocols—every keystroke counted, sorted and judged. Social media is not a top-down rubric. It’s a living, breathing presence spread across multiple channels and platforms. Each of these channels may employ multiple campaigns, and each campaign requires its own realistic goal. Once an individual goal is established, you can then determine how to measure its effectiveness. In social media, it’s bottoms up.

That said, it’s important to remember that with multiple campaigns running at any given time, looking at aggregate metrics can dilute important data. Too many times have we seen organizations get stuck on the basic numbers (how many followers and fans they have) and then look at social media as a failing entity if they don’t measure up to what they think/heard it should be. These basic metrics can obscure core goals and belong under the covers of digital sharecropping. They’re nice to know, but they don’t matter.

Also, many digital metrics (visits, pageviews, bounce rates, time on site, etc.) are susceptible to external factors and will oscillate with changes. Often times negative experiences can drive these numbers up, and changes to technology and social landscapes can skew your metrics.

If you want to know if you’re spending your marketing dollars wisely, you need to drill down to core goals. Are you looking to gain visibility, bring in new leads, become a thought leader, increase sales and loyalty, drive traffic to your blog, increase positive customer experiences, or maybe something else? (Yes, we know you want all of them at once, but each channel and each campaign requires a single realistic goal—something that is easily forgotten.)

One of the lesser appreciated (and most powerful) engagement metrics tracked is Visitor Frequency and Recency. It’s almost always an indication of positive experience. When it comes to brand engagement, ultimately the best indicator of a truly great experience is whether people want to do it again. (And again, and again.)

Remember that true engagement takes time and is organic.


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