Measuring Audience Engagement Accurately

When you write and post content, there are several different results that you expect to achieve. One of those results is engagement with your readers. Ironically, that is the easy part. What is much more difficult is measuring the engagement in a way that gives you a clear understanding if what you are doing is working effectively.

The vagueness of the term, “engagement”
When it comes to a typical conversation that you might have with another person (face to face), you probably have a good idea about what engagement is. You converse with the other person and the conversation is exciting and compelling. Both you and the other person are interested in what you both have to say. You have succeeded at engaging each other. However, as obvious as it may be in that context, it may be much more difficult to determine engagement online. Basically, you need to figure out if your content is engaging in general.

What is content reach?
What is meant by the term, “content reach” is the number of readers who read your content, even if they don’t read it all the way to the end. Of course, if a person reads your content for three seconds and then walks away, how much good does it actually do you and your business? It is not particularly useful. In fact, to take it one step further, it is practically meaningless because if the person is not willing to read your content all the way to the end, there is no chance that the person will share your content with anyone else.

Your goal is that the person reads your content (and, of course, becomes highly engaged) and wants to continue to read what you are sharing on an ongoing, long-term basis. That is one of the many good ways that you build a solid relationship with the other person.

A better solution
One of the extremely important elements to your content is your call-to-action (CTA). Your CTA should tell your readers exactly what you want them to do. Interestingly, they will probably be willing to do whatever you want. That is exactly why your CTA needs to be as effective as it can possibly be. Part of your CTA should be gathering contact information of your readers. That way, you will be able to keep in close contact with them. That is a way to determine how well your content is doing with those readers.

Don’t mistake the amount of time spent for the actual engagement
If you can track how much time a person spent on your content page, it is a measure of how much he or she was reading. However, with that said, if a person spends two minutes on your page, that doesn’t go a long way to saying that he or she actually read your content from beginning to end. It is just not enough time for most people (unless that person is an amazing speed reader).

Of course, a positive thing that you can say in that case is that the person didn’t leave right away. That should count for something. Sometimes, in that situation, what seems as though the person is staying on your page for a long time may be giving you a false impression. Perhaps, that person walked away while still on the page and came back quite a while later. There are several possible explanations.

Just because a person is sharing doesn’t mean that the person is reading
That seems rather ironic but the fact is that you can read the first sentence of a particular piece of content and consider it good enough to share with others. However, you may not have read any more than that first sentence. How crazy is that? Of course, you want your readers to share your content; however, you also want them to read your content regularly. One thing that is for sure is that a person will not leave a comment, question, etc, regarding your content if that person is not engaged. That is just a fact.

Measuring engagement can be daunting, difficult to initiate, and overwhelming. The fact is that after you write and post your content, your objective is that your readers become engaged by it. If that doesn’t happen, you need to rethink your content. If you determine that your content is not engaging, you need to write new content that is engaging. It is that simple. Of course, engagement also goes beyond just posting content and waiting to see if your readers are engaged. You should also take the opportunity to initiate some valuable interaction with them. That will serve to deepen the relationship.

Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.

His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.

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