July 16, 2014

User engagement: Get it right!

Written By Martin Sandhu
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User Engagement

User engagement is something we hear a lot about these days, and that’s because it is so important to the success of any online business.

User engagement is essentially how much time a person is willing to engage with something, whether that be a blog post, social media channel, video or any other type of content.

However, although it is clear to most businesses that user engagement is a good thing that will help them to develop good customer relationships and improve their brand loyalty, many companies actually get it wrong and assume they are engaging with users when they are not.

Are people really engaging with your content?

Many companies wrongly assume that their user engagement levels are high when their content gets lots of shares across social media, or when they get lots of clicks. Of course, clicks and shares are all good and no marketer is going to complain about them. But are people really engaging with the content?

There was an interesting article in Time a little while ago that discussed this very issue. It suggested that while a click is seen as a mark of success for an advert, many companies wrongly assume that someone clicking on a link and visiting a page counts as engagement, even when they often don’t read it.

In fact, it turns out that the majority of people don’t read a page once they have clicked on it. According to figures in the article from Chartbeat, 55% of visitors only spend 15 seconds or less on a page once they click on it.

It’s the same story with social shares. The implication is that someone has enjoyed the content so much that they have shared it with their contacts. But according to the article there is no relation between shares and the amount of time that the reader engages with the content.

What type of content engages the user?

There is a difference in engagement levels depending on the type of content created. Again according to the article, content focused on news is engaged with more than generic content, which may generate links but nothing else.

You can find out which content is getting more user engagement by finding out how long people are spending on particular pages on your website. The longer they stay, the more they are likely to be engaging. Also, check your comments on blog posts. Comments are an excellent way to see which types of content is generating the most interest and can provide a good guide to follow for future posts.

Create content that gets users to return

You want an audience to come back to your content time and time again. Forget about just getting clicks or shares: user engagement is the most valuable factor for advertisers and marketers.

You must care more about what people do once they click through to your website and how they engage with your content. People spend longer with good content, so the longer you hold the attention of a visitor, the more likely they are to return.

It all comes down to spending time and effort creating high-quality content that truly engages. It takes longer, it takes more effort, but at the end of the day, it’s what really matters.