Engagement: The Future Measure of Marketing Success

By: Katie Stout

Digital Marketing Strategist


No, we aren’t talking about wedding engagements. We’re talking about the metric of success that your marketing efforts desperately need.

Typically in the digital space, performance indicators are bucketed into several categories: traffic, conversions, engagement and revenue. Each indicator tells us something about the customer journey.

But out of all of these metrics, engagement is by far the most important. It may be easier to track traffic and conversions and revenue, but the real story of your brand reception is in the engagement.

Why engagement is so important

What makes engagement such an important metric, you ask?

Engagement factors in people’s stories and their human relationship with your brand. It’s a dynamic, relationship-based metric that can drastically impact your marketing results when you employ the right tactics.

Engagement brings to light the small interactions people have with your brand. These micro-moments take place in between the major touch points and can help you identify areas that you could make smoother. For example, after a user clicks through your ad but only spends several seconds on the content you created, this could be a sign that your content didn’t deliver what you promised.

The best part? By placing value on the small interactions your brand has with its followers, you can positively impact the rest of your key metrics.

As attention spans shorten and advertising becomes more accessible, marketers will have to make every step of the buying process as frictionless as possible. Soon it will no longer matter how many people you reach for a few seconds. Your marketing will only be effective if you can keep the user interacting with your brand on several different platforms.

Discovering Engagement

Learning to recognize engagement KPI’s will give you a clear picture of what could be causing a bottleneck in your funnel and will help you solve problems before they cost you valuable dollars of your marketing budget.

Click-Through Rate

At its core, this metric measures initial interest in the image or text on the ad or email you presented. Although superficial, it is still a great metric to understand visual and messaging preferences of your audience.

Key Questions:

  • How many times did your user see you before deciding to click?
  • Where did they click?
  • What was the content of the ad or page?

Time on Site/Page and Time Spent Viewing

This is the best metric to start evaluating engagement. Simply put, if someone is spending more than a few seconds consuming your content, you are probably doing something right! Comparing this metric to the overall average for your site or other pieces of content will enable you to determine what is working and what you may need to re-evaluate.

Key Questions:

  • How does this page compare to other content you created?
  • What content is present?
  • Where is the user spending the most amount of time?
  • How did the user get to that page?
  • Have you done a good job of giving the user “next steps”?

Bounce Rate

Measuring the percentage of people who immediately disengage is also incredibly important to your engagement story. More often than not, a high bounce rate isn’t a reflection of the page itself but an indication that you didn’t deliver on the expectation you set in the last step of the customer journey. To get the most out of this indicator, make sure you are pairing the data with the content that lead the user to your page.

Key Questions:

  • How does the bounce rate of one page compare to the average of your site?
  • How does the bounce rate of one page compare to similar pages?
  • How did the user get to that page?

Likes and Comments

If you or your company is investing time and money into social media, these metrics are one of the first metrics you should be evaluating. Not just because they are indicators that your content is resonating, but because most social platforms prioritize posts that invoke actions from the audience.

Key Questions:

  • Which piece of content has the highest number of likes and comments?
  • What are your average likes or comments per post?
  • Are there any extremely successful pieces or unsuccessful pieces?

Shares and Retweets

Shares and retweets are the equivalent of someone coming and standing along next to you. These are some of the hardest metrics to impact because the message has to match your audience so perfectly that the audience is willing to take your side. These are the engagements that tell you about success.

Key Questions:

  • What is the relationship of the person who is sharing your content?
  • What are those that are sharing your content saying about your content?

Achieving High Engagement

Now that you know what you should be looking for when it comes to engagement metrics how do you put that information to good use?

Give Engagement to Get Engagement

Engagement is one of the most time-consuming metrics to impact because it’s all about building strong relationships. It’s not about posting more frequently, spending more or changing the messaging on a single asset. You have to be present and strive to understand your audience.

Make Interesting Stuff

The fastest way to kill your engagement is by increasing your frequency without taking a good hard look at what you are putting out there. How is your content helping your audience? What problem are you solving with your content? Why are you creating content? If you can’t answer these simple questions, you should pump the brakes and make sure you actually being interesting.

Almost every business suffers from marketing narcissism. Making content all about yourself is only interesting to you and your mother. So talk about something else.

Answer Commonly Asked Questions

One of the easiest ways to increase your engagement is providing the answers to questions that you get all the time. Once you run out of questions, ask your audience to help you come up with other topics that you can cover. Just make sure that you are answering these questions in an interesting way.

You have all the tools and the know-how to start your engagement journey. What’s stopping you?