9 min read

Website User Engagement Metrics to Watch

Amid the growth of influencer marketing and social media, it's crucial to update user engagement metrics for digital marketing evaluation. These metrics, now more comprehensive and sophisticated, cover eCommerce, various platforms, and custom tracking events. Our review has refined these metrics to better serve end-users and guide content management strategies moving forward.

Dan Bowen

Dan Bowen

Founder + CEO
Published: November 01, 2022
Last Updated: May 01, 2024
(Digital Marketing/Digital Strategy)
Website User Engagement Metrics to Watch

How to Measure User Engagement

The simplest place to start is with the basic user metrics affiliated with website activity. These are the usual answers you will find across the web for establishing Engagement KPIs, and they are still a fantastic place to start.

Every C-Suite executive should understand working terms like bounce rate, pages per session, and average session time. These metrics serve to establish baseline activity across time, and set the foundation for testing website content updates.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the top-line items in any Google Analytics report. There’s a lot more in the modern digital landscape, but these are the baseline metrics that will play a role in any data analysis:

Page Views

how many users visited a given page (usually averaged into a monthly total). Page Views are triggered multiple times per user – for example, one user can view both the “all products” and “checkout” pages of an eCommerce site. This user will trigger a pageview for both site interactions, yet still display as only one “user.

Time on Page

the next logistical metric to consider is time actually spent on each page. It could appear to be very healthy that your website is seeing high page views for several key products – however, it can also be true that they are wasting their time on unrelated product pages in search of the correct offering.

“Time on Page” adds additional context and weight to engagement with key pages. For example, a long amount of time spent on the checkout page may indicate a potential need to improve the user experience. It may also indicate that not enough pre-selling and authority building took place on the original product page. Combining metrics to establish the most likely outcomes is part of the talent that comes to data analytics – just like accounting, P&Ls, and other pursuits in number management on behalf of the business, there are multiple layers of data to read into and connect with one another. Having the right analysts on your team can save you fortunes in testing content strategies, website layout changes, and other key decisions.

  • Average Session Duration: Where “Time on Page” is a granular calculation applying to a user’s experience on one individual page, “average session duration” is a macro calculation applying to the average amount of time users spend experiencing your website. A user can visit multiple pages in a session, and knowing this metric essentially benchmarks the time users spend on your website. When you attempt to better serve user engagement, this is one of the key metrics to watch for improvements. For example, in our example above it may be confusing to determine if “time on page” increase is ultimately a positive or negative data point for the business. However, it’s clear that more time spent on more overall pages is an upward trend in engagement. The combination of these data points indicates a stronger, more complete picture of user engagement.

  • Bounce Rate: the bounce rate is a negative metric, meaning that you want it to be as low as possible. This is the percentage of users that exit a website after viewing only one page. The general premise is that you want your content to be “sticky,” enticing users to seek further engagement and view multiple pages. If a user has searched for an answer, stumbled across your site, and after arriving does not view a second page, then that is less desirable than if the searcher continued to browse your website for an additional five minutes.

  • Conversion Rate: The primary KPI for lead generation objectives, “Conversion Rate” is the percentage of users that take an established high-value action on a given brand interaction. Completed form fills, phone calls to the business, e-mail signups, or online feature use (such as a cost savings calculator) are all common conversions that can be tracked and improved upon.

There are a few more common KPIs for website engagement, but these are the main five which will play a role in strategic data analysis. What has become increasingly important is tracking cross-platform analytics for a fuller picture of a given brand’s performance across the internet as a whole.

In addition to performance on the website itself, social media engagement, eCommerce store transactions, and overall brand mentions across digital platforms have become regular additions to analytics dashboards in recent years to more clearly articulate the brand’s market positioning.

Content Engagement Metrics

Recently content engagement metrics for platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have become increasingly important to monitor, particularly for those businesses venturing into influencer marketing. Social Media monitoring metrics are therefore taking more relevance in company dashboards, and associated KPIs are being weighed more heavily as reflections of market influence.

At a core level, monitoring follower count or increasing follower count across a time period (weekly, monthly) adds an additional lens to the brand’s potential reach beyond website visitors. Brand mentions can also be a valuable KPI if the brand is unique enough to be easily found in search results. A brand like “Pepsi” or “Coca Cola” would easily be able to leverage higher-end analytics suites to scrape millions of content segments for brand mentions, then display them in an organized fashion. Sprout has gone so far as to attempt to calculate “Share of Voice” equivalence in the digital space, utilizing brand mentions and other key metrics.

Overwhelmingly, when we talk about social media metrics that matter, we talk about the engagement rates for a given piece of content. To calculate the engagement rate, or the number of interactions (likes, comments, and shares) a given post is tracked, divided by your total number of followers, multiplied by 100%. If for example, the company Instagram has 100 followers, a post with 10 likes would be realizing a 10% engagement rate.

According to Hootsuite, most marketers consider 1-5% a good benchmark engagement rate. Notice when speaking of engagements, they are always grouped together – intermediate to advanced social media marketers will not pay particular attention to the amount of “likes” vs. “shares” or even comments a given social media post receives. In the eyes of the social media algorithms, these actions are all weighed similarly enough that speaking about engagement in a macro sense tends to be the most productive way to analyze engagement data for business insights.

Engagement KPIs for Email Marketing

When we look at a third platform, third-party email marketing platforms, the KPIs change again to make sense for the platform. In this circumstance, engagement is defined by Open Rates and Link Click Through Rates. It’s very rare that emails are forwarded to each other in the modern age, so using “shares” as a metric would not make sense for e-mail campaigns.

While conversions are used to evaluate the success of the campaign as a whole, the effectiveness is often determined by the quality of the promotion and the user-experience on the landing page as part of the same user-journey. It may be possible, for instance, to link purchase pages promoting a discount offer to email campaigns in order to determine the contribution of marketing to sales.

User Search Volume for Content Marketing

When creating blog posts, one of the most important and common misconceptions is that consistency results in sustainable traffic. In fact, research tops everything when it comes to writing content for traffic. Knowing what your audience is searching for, how often, and how competitive it is to appear in the search results for those topics can inform strategic content calendar creation and some of the best-performing blog posts your website will ever accomplish.

This is a tactic used by SEO professionals but has recently begun to be cross-leveraged with an intersection of social media – as while these platforms do not appear on the search engine results page, they are where many users go to receive their preferred form of content. Knowing that there is a baseline of interest in topics allows you to vet them ahead of time, assuring a baseline level of engagement on social media campaigns targeting those same interests.

Seeing the Full Picture

When maintaining a modern brand, these platforms all connect and form a more three-dimensional view of what progress is being made. For example, many of the traditional site metrics found in Google Analytics will not view your brand’s total share of voice in the market as truthfully as when layering in key analytics from Social Media Platforms. Email Campaigns can be used to bolster new social media posts, brand messages, blog articles, or other content in need of traffic – with the favorable addition of allowing for audience segmentation, tagging users by what type of offers they open or click on links within the most.

For example, you may believe that a certain Instagram influencer post is outperforming another if viewing purely the social metrics. However, you may see that the second influencer post is being sent by email and increasing social media participation from an older, less-engaged demographic. This combined layering of insights can inspire campaigns catered to improving demographic participation, or leveraged within the creative process itself to create engaging content from the ground up.

Ultimately, knowing how to combine and leverage these data platforms into more comprehensive dashboards is something we see as a game-changing development in our industry. As artificial intelligence continues to develop and alter the way we do business in the digital sphere, the combination of AI and cross-referencing brand data platforms will allow us unparalleled insights into the mentality of our consumers, the likes of which have not yet been fully realized. This makes it one of the best times to be aware of your core metrics as a marketer, as well as exercise an understanding of connecting different data sources in a way that provides additional insight.

If you would like to discuss how multi-channel data analytics can better inform your strategy across the web, social, and more, click here to schedule a call with us. We live and breathe marketing in the modern age, and it is our pleasure to open as many doors as we can that may be suitable for your business goals.

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