19.12.2017

4 trusty metrics for measuring engagement

For potential customers, your website is a window into your business - but this is only half the story. Your website is also a window to your customers. Every time someone visits your website, data is available to be distilled into meaningful metrics which can help you determine whether that visit was valuable to your business or a missed opportunity.

4 trusty metrics for measuring engagement - MadBit Studio Dublin

Over time, the opportunities that these metrics reveal can greatly contribute to your company’s success. However, out of the many types of metrics out there, which ones should you be paying attention to? Figuring this out can be a real challenge, and the answer is specific to each business.

However, what we advise is to start off with a few of the ol’ reliables and ask yourself, are your visitors engaging with your website?

What’s all this fuss about engagement?

‘Engagement’ is the popular kid about town when it comes to analysing website performance. Why? If people are not engaging with your business, then you are just a passing thought. This doesn’t necessarily mean conversions will not be made, but it means you have very little control over how and when these conversions are made.

In other words, these sporadic conversions could dry up tomorrow without a whisper of warning, and you would not even know why. If you are engaging visitors, however, you are more likely to achieve stability. Engagement is what keeps people hanging around, caught in the magnetic pull of your fantastic website.

People engage with websites that appeal to them in some way and tend to invest their time, energy and money into the things they like. This not only makes conversions more likely, but also increases the chance of returning visits, more people hearing about your website, and, in turn, creates more opportunities for your business to take advantage of.

What engagement metrics should I use?

How do you determine if people are engaging with your website? Here are four engagement metrics to start you off.

New users vs returning users

It is good to be aware of just how many people are visiting and revisiting your website on a week by week, month by month basis. There is no ideal ratio between the two, however it makes sense to want a healthy amount of both, so 50/50 is a worthy aim.

It is always good to have new people engaging with your website, and a significant number of new users is usually a sign of rapid growth. However, a strong foundation of returning users represents your loyal customer base and investing in them is the best way to nurture true brand ambassadors.

According to Brian Balfour of HubSpot, metrics show that what happens in the first week of a user’s engagement with your website has a huge impact on retention over time. The more a user engages in that first week, the better the chance you have of retaining them as a returning visitor.

If your returning users are at an all-time low, even though new users keep arriving, it may be a good idea to instigate more engagement during that pivotal first week.

Time on page

It follows that the longer someone stays on a page, the more likely it is that the content engages them. This is especially the case with mobile, because people tend to have only one tab open on their phones. However, when there is more than one tab being used, this metric can become less reliable.

After all, just because your website has been opened doesn’t mean it hasn’t since been minimised, and now your visitor is off on YouTube watching funny cat videos… So how do you know if your content is actually being consumed? Luckily, there are some great third-party tools (e.g. Hotjar or Mouseflow) and WordPress plugins that will track user behaviour on your website, such as how far down the page a user has scrolled.

Knowing how far users scroll will help you determine if your content is engaging, as it will highlight at what point users tune out. With this helpful information, you can make necessary tweaks to your content and user experience (UX).

Clicks

If users aren’t clicking, conversions cannot be made! By keeping a watchful eye on what clicks are being made, how many and how often, you can discover a lot about your users. Ideally, this metric will reveal a good rate of page depth, which is the clicks users make to go deeper into your website by visiting several pages.

By following these page paths made by users, you can determine what engaged the user the most and on which page they decided to drop off the website. Page depth is worth measuring, even if you are receiving a high number of clicks. Marketing campaigns are often deemed a success if the marketed link received a lot of clicks, but if people immediately disengaged once the page loads then the clicks are worthless.

Clickbait links are infamous for drawing users in with eye-catching headings, only to bring the lured victim to a page that has little, if anything, to do with the title that caused them to click in the first place. Which brings us to…

Bounce rate

A dreaded metric for anyone measuring engagement on their website. This is when someone clicks onto your website and leaves without clicking through to a second page. Bounce rate is used to determine a number of things, mainly whether that particular page was engaging or not.

However, the type of content on the page is an important variable to be considered when determining whether the dreaded bounce was really that bad. For example, a bounce from the Contact Us page makes total sense – the user found the information they needed on the first page they visited, so why would they go any further?

That being said, in an ideal world, every page would be designed shrewdly enough so that users are led deeper into the website for further engagement and successful conversions.

Apart from measuring scroll (and associated insights) – for which there are a variety of solutions – the above metrics can be tracked using a free Google Analytics account. Once you have decided what to measure and set some goals, it’s possible to create a custom dashboard that displays these key KPIs.

This allows you to get started with just a few metrics that will give you real intelligence into engagement. You can then add in any business-specific KPIs you have to build a more complete picture.

At MadBit, we specialise in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and other types of online analytics and monitoring. If you need support putting in place a reporting and analysis strategy, get in touch to see how we can help.