There has been a lot of talk recently about ‘engagement marketing’, particularly in relation to Web 2.0 and social media.

But what are the success metrics of engagement marketing online? How does one measure engagement?

I saw a presentation recently from an advertising agency (AMV) where the natty title was ‘Adds not Ads’ which referred to the growing importance of brands engaging with their target markets: much better to be ‘added’ (MySpace friend style) than keep creating interruption-style ‘ads’.

But can we really use the number of MySpace friends a brand has as a useful metric for success in engaging customers? How should be measuring ‘engagement’?

My own feeling is that the usual Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should still apply, be they ‘hard metrics’ like sales, clicks, conversion rates, or ‘softer metrics’ like brand favourability, purchase intent. Engagement metrics need to be understood in terms of how well they contribute to delivering these KPIs, rather than be seen as the KPIs themselves.

But what how can we measure “engagement”? A few thoughts:

- Number of friends, connections etc. on social media sites
- Volume and quality of mentions in the blogosphere
- Network analysis of the above, as well as inbound link mapping and analysis
- Dwell time on site / Depth of visit / Page views per session / % repeat visits
- Customer satisfaction (e.g. how likely are your customers to recommend your brand to a friend of theirs?)

What others are there that you are using or seeing being used?

Arguably you could use Search Engine Marketing (SEM), both paid search and organic search engine optimisation, as a proxy to measure the commercial impact of many of the above engagement metrics.

For example, increased linking activity due to increased engagement should lead to better natural search rankings. Changes can thus be monitored and tied back to site visits, sales and so on.

As paid search becomes an opaque marketplace (with all search engines introducing notions of ‘quality’) then even here you could look at your clickthrough rates and bid positions as a proxy to measure how ‘engagement’ may be improving your paid search results?

So perhaps “engagement” improves “search equity” – which we know drives lots of hard and measurable metrics.

Case studies anyone? Other ways to translate ‘engagement’ to harder metrics?

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein

Published 24 October, 2006 by Ashley Friedlein @ Econsultancy

Ashley Friedlein is Founder of Econsultancy and President of Centaur Marketing. Follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (5)


Ania Markowska, Managing Director at True Clarity

The website supporting the recent 2006 Army Everest West Ridge expedition could be classed a successful social/community marketing event.

Although the climb ended in failure the websites use of Web 2.0 techniques helped make this the Army’s most successful campaign ever in recruitment terms. According to the Army Recruiting Group the campaign resulted in a 100% increase in enquires compared to the previous quarter.

I still believe to exploit social/community marketing you can't ignore your basic business KPI's. While the technology and strategies are changing the fundementals of business aren't.

over 11 years ago


Nic Smith, Product Marketing Manager at Business Objects

The onslaught of web 2.0 and the community web environment undoubtedly presents a new challenge to marketers. In an age when a video of two kids playing grunge can generate over a million hits on youtube in less than a week marketers of the world should pay some attention. The challenge has not only become how to reach these growing communities environments but how to track and manage the effectiveness of the brand penetration.

Before drilling into what marketers can do about this situation, let’s look at the historical view of marketing metrics and what KPI’s organizations have been concerned about. Marketing challenges typically start with a few key challenges:

1. Lack of insight into customers
- Experiencing high customer turnover rates and customer
- Lack of insight into who their customers are, how much they spend, and which products they purchase
2. Badly targeted campaigns
- Campaigns may give a low return on investment and fail to hit targets
3. Inability to track the success of campaigns
- Unaware of which are their most and least effective campaigns
- They may continue to run badly targeted campaigns with low success rates

Given these challenges, what are marketers looking to gain visibility into when it comes to campaigns...

over 11 years ago


Laurent Nicolas, Alenty

This is a very interesting point of view : dealing with brands-individuals relationship with the same metrics as for individuals-individuals relationships.
In this case, another metrics that can be used (and soon measured) is trust. A brand will have to build a trust network with its community (customers + prospects). And this network can follow the same rules as social networks.
This idea is developed in the following article (unfortunately in french):

over 11 years ago


Matt Ambrose, Copywriter at The Copywriter's Crucible

Software companies are working on technical solutions to measuring engagement metrics as we speak. Hubspot being one example. It will still take time for marketers to be able to calculate how all this data can be used to formulate some sort of ROI but it does seem to be gathering some pace.

over 11 years ago


Dennis R. Mortensen

>>Web 2.0 – what are the metrics for successful ‘engagement’?

Hi Ashley

That is a great question, but I think it is very site specific and very difficult to give a generic answer to. However; being on the subject I recently and very specific added my comments to the tracking of Social Network sites:

My take on Social Network Metrics is (as of today):

Social Networking business objectives:
- Increase Advertising and/or premium member-ship Revenue
- Increase User Engagement

Social Networking advertising revenue KPI’s:
- Advertising Revenue
- Visits per week
- Ad units per visit*
- Ads served*
- Ad CTR

Social Networking user engagement KPI’s:
- User Engagement*
- Anonymous visitors to members conversion rate*
- Active member length
- Time since last login
- Total time spent on site


Dennis R. Mortensen, COO at IndexTools

about 11 years ago

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