Since one of the key functions of social media marketing is engaging in a conversation with your customers, it makes sense to develop a set of metrics that you can measure and track on a regular basis. This post focuses specifically on measuring the customer engagement with your blog, future posts will deal with engagement metrics for other social media platforms.
After all – what gets measured improves, and what gets measured and reported on improves immensely.
But that brings us to the challenge of any measurement objective – finding measurements that:
- Are indicative of the behavior being measured (data is useless unless it actually reflects the underlying behavior being measured, in this case, engagement)
- Are directly and unquestionably quantifiable (soft measurements that can’t be replicated are less valuable than hard ones that can be replicated and can’t be questioned.)
- Can be gathered inexpensively (with expense being defined in terms of both monetary and time costs.)
- Bonus: Are predictive – where changes in x metric actually can predict future changes in other, more important metrics (like sales) in the future.
Sorry for the technical aside, but I wanted to throw them into your thought process, because those factors are worth considering for any measurements you gather and upon which you measure the performance of yourself or your company.
What factors meet the above critera for measuring a blog’s engagement? Here are a few that I like to track: (Remember, as you view these that I’m targeting engagement here. There are other factors that I track (for example, traffic, traffic from search engines, etc.,) that are not directly engagement-related.
- Number of desired actions (sales, subscriptions, etc.) with your blog appearing as the referrer source(Each of the next three factors is measured for the blog overall and for the new posts in that particular month, as the data on the new posts tends to be trending and predictive of future performance.)
- Number of comments
- Number of unique commenters
- Number of tweets (The remainder of this list is tracked for the blog as a whole, as it is generally too “expensive” to track them all the way to specific posts)
- Number of incoming links
- Average time on site
- Number of “direct” visitors (people who keyed the url in directly, or came from another source that did not provide referrer data)
- The non-bounce rate (remember that higher bounce rates are a bad thing, and that the mind tends to equate more with better. So I subtract the bounce rate from 100, call it my non-bounce rate, and track that. (So, a 60.4% bounce rate equals a non-bounce rate of 39.6%)
- Number of RSS subscriptions
- Number of Diggs/Del.icio.us/Propeller bookmarks from the domain (may want to substitute a different site that applies more directly to your subject matter) – of course, this assumes that you’re not gaming the systems by bookmarking your own work
Agree/disagree with any of these? Are there metrics we’ve missed? Let me know by making a comment below!