Like content curation, everyone in the industry is talking about digital and social engagement. Or, rather, they should be talking about this kind of engagement.
Unlike stats that show you that a fan was on your site or is following you on social media, engagement is actual proof that your reader/fan was there.
It's like a hand print. My reader was there because I saw his/her comment or I saw them retweet or they repinned an image. A more business-perspective on engagement could be the perceived interactivity on your site or social media. Clicks, time on site, pageviews, comments, social media shares. These are all tangible examples of engagement. Many talk about exposure and impressions, but the reality is you need to have the tangible numbers in your hand, especially when pitching to a brand.
Unlike the retail companies and investment-funded brands, you don't have the money to use fancy platforms to measure engagement. And honestly? You probably don't have the time. The fact is, those brands have staff, resources, and knowledge that we as bloggers might not ever have. If the situation sounds bleak, I assure you, it's not! Bloggers can make do with their own resources like Google Analytics (aka the blogger's best friend), Facebook Insights, Crowdbooster and Topsy.
Here's how you can use these sites to monitor and measure engagement on your site and social networks:
You've heard us mention it before but your Google Analytics is the heart of your site. If you haven't spent time on the platform, you should close out of this browser right now and get to it. I'm not kidding. Ok, you're back? Good. You can measure engagement on your site in a couple of ways with Google Analytics. Pageviews, Clicks, Time on Site, Frequency and Reach are all good ways to look at your site's engagement.
- Pageviews: These will tell you how many pages your visitors are viewing while on your site. The higher the pageview, the more engaged your reader because they are clicking through your site. Meaning they like your content! Always important.
- Clicks: Obviously, you want clicks on your site. That's the whole reason why you are creating content – to get people reading your site. The more clicks, the more your content is resonating with your readers and the more your readers are active on your site.
- Time on Site: This is one of my favorite measurement tools on Google Analytics because it shows that your site is an Internet destination, a web hot-spot. But seriously, the more time your readers spend on your site, the more content they are devouring. Which is another sign that you are loved by your readers.
- Frequency & Reach: A more in-depth look at your blog's visitors, Frequency and Reach will give you a closer look at your reader's online behavior. You can see how many first-time visitors came to your site, how many pages they clicked through upon their first visit to your site and the percentage total of visits and pageviews for each visit. It's pretty complex and requires a little research but ultimately, this tool tells you how engaging your content is with your reader and, in turn, how loyal your readers are.
We've briefly talked about Facebook engagement but we've never dug deep into the actual insights behind the platform. As one of the web's top traffic drivers, it's important for you to know how to create content that wakes up your fan AND click through. I've noticed a slight decline in Facebook engagement and that the behavior on the platform is changing. Which can be challenging if you don't have the information you need to make sense of it all. Thankfully, you do have the resources now.
- Engaged Users: This is your go-to spot in Facebook Insights that will show you how your posts are resonating your readers. I highly suggest you check this each week, at the least, to see what is working and what isn't. If you learn that your fan just loves Internet Memes (and who doesn't) maybe you should post a weekly Meme and see how many shares it gets. If you fans love big photos, then that's probably a good indicator of what you should be posting. Do you readers understand your sarcasm in your posts? If not, cut out the funny business and keep it concise. Whatever your readers want will show up in the database. The more you know what they want, the more you can get them to stop lurking and start liking.
- Virality: Virality on Facebook basically indicates the percentage of posts that were created based on your Facebook post. Think of it as a map that shows how far your post traveled in Facebook. The more viral the post, the more likely your post was shared with fresh, unique eyes.
Topsy is a Twitter Tracking platform that acts as monitoring mechanism for your Twitter activity. You can see how many people your Tweets reached, how far your links went in Twitter and basically how engaged your entire audience is. It's not enough to have 100,000 followers if none of your followers are ever talking with you. It's like that whole, “Did it really happen if no one noticed” train of thought. Unlike Facebook, engagement on Twitter isn't hard. In fact, one might say it's pretty easy. Get witty, get smart and watch your Tweet spread with these tools.
- Topsy Analytics: This chart will outline the activity of your Twitter account. You can see when your highest day was, when it was the quietest, how many mentions your account received AND what content was the most popular on Twitter. This alone will tell you how active your feed is, how your content fits with your followers.
Another Twitter tracking tool, Crowdbooster is one of my favorite tool because it gives you a hot-map that indicates which tweets were the most engaging. No searching, no in-depth analysis. Just straight up charts that show you which tweet was the hottest aka more viral.
- How Are My Tweets Doing: Measuring impressions and Retweets, Crowdbooster's “How are my tweets doing” graph shows you which links are doing the best, giving you the information you need to craft better tweets in the future. If a quote gets you the most impressions and retweets, than that shows you that your readers are crazy for quotes. Aka do them more! If a tweet about a fall-fashion trend got more impressions, you know that your Twitter following is obsessed with fall fashion and would be happy to share more posts on that topic. Aka do more of those posts!
Honorable mentions: Pinerly, which is a Pinterest marketing platform that shows you how many repins you received. We briefly talked with them about growing your Pinterest following here- read up on their tips. Also Pinerly, which will show the analytics behind your boards and your account, not just campaigns that you run. However the site is down for updates so stay tuned.
Now that you have those resources at your finger tips, it's time to cater your content to match your reader. Or craft new blog elements like polls, quizzes, contests. Remember, the goal isn't just to draw your reader to your site. You want him/her to come out of the lurking shadows and talk with you.Do you have any questions about website engagement? We can try to answer them as best as we can!