This weekend I am hosting an engagement party for two of my close friends. The constant use of the word “engagement” in my conversations during the day (my job) and my conversations during the evening (the party) have had me thinking a lot about this word. Engagement is such the buzz word in web analytics these days. Everyone is either claiming to have the magic formula or debating it’s definition and use. I don’t think that there is a definition for engagement. I believe that it is an umbrella for a set of metrics or tools to analyze how visitors interact with your widget (replace widget with any content type you want :) ).
When I say “umbrella”, I mean the metrics to evaluate engagement are going to vary widely depending on what you are analyzing. Metrics that I would use to evaluate engagement are specific to the content and content type. For example:
- Video – clicks on “play”, “rewind” or “pause”, percent of stream played, new versus repeat plays.
- Photo Gallery – number of photos viewed; number of clicks on “Next” or “Back” in the gallery; new versus repeat visitors to the gallery; time spent viewing the gallery.
- Game – number of games played; games played per visitor; clicks per game.
From a widget analytics perspective, I would of course always consider the grab rate (grabs of the widget divided by views), number of times the widget has been shared and whether or not those new placements of the widget are staying active or churning off. You can read my post on “Outbreak” to get a better understanding of what I mean by active or churning.
Specifically for widget analytics, at Clearspring we have focused on a specific set of metrics to measure how widget viewers are engaging with our customer’s widgets. They break down as follows:
- Interacted Views – views to the widget where a visitor either moused over or clicked on the widget.
- Interaction Rate – interacted views divided by views.
- Clicked Views – views to the widget where a visitor clicked on the widget.
- Click Rate – clicked views divided by views.
- Clicks – no explanation needed I hope.
- Clicks per Clicked View (CPCV) – clicks divided by clicked views (think page views per session if you are a web analytics junky).
- Avg. Time Spent – the average time spent viewing the widget (time on page).
- Avg. Interaction Time – the average time spent physically interacting with the widget on a page.
Adding on to the theme of interaction metrics above, the ability to capture custom events is critical in completing the engagement umbrella toolbox. Who cares if someone clicked 5 times on a widget? But if they clicked 2 times on play and 3 times on “send this content to a friend”, then the value of those 5 clicks takes on a whole new meaning.
None of these metrics in isolation are going to answer the question of “what is your customer’s level of engagement?”. The metrics are simply a set of tools provided to help the widget creator analyze their content that is specific to their business goals and objectives. Every business is different and every widget is different. Depending on the objectives of your widget and its content, your definition of engagement will vary drastically from the next widget that comes along.
Staying with the theme of “Engagement”, my favorite widget this week (which I am listening to via headphones as I type) is Clear Channel’s new widget that features Sara Bareilles. The widget has several songs that the site visitor can listen to (she is singing “Love Song” right now – how engagement appropo). Check out this widget and look for two specific things: very cool and prominent “Get and Share” button on the widget AND sharing buttons specific to each radio station’s, private social network. You can see that by clicking on the “Get and Share” button and toggling through the icons to see the radio station that is promoted.
Hats off to Clear Channel – the quality of the stream is amazing! Cheers!