Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are important metrics that can be found in standard SEO tools. They include things like bounce rate, time spent on site, number of pages visited, etc.
There are many different types of engagement metrics, but we’ve put together a list of must-known ones to get you started:
- Social media engagement
- Pages per session
- Average session duration
- Unique visitors
- Bounce rate
- Average time on page
- Time on site
- Traffic source
- Event tracking
- Conversion rate
- Scroll depth
- Dwell time
- Abandonment rate
To understand why engagement metrics matter, we need to first explore some of the driving forces behind them and how they might be aligned with your marketing goals and objectives.
What Are Engagement Metrics?
Engagement metrics are indicators of how users — site visitors, customers, employees, etc. — interact with your media properties, e.g., your website, social media profiles, application, portal, software, or content.
For the purposes of this post, we’ll be focusing on visitors to a website.
Sometimes referred to as consumption or behavioral metrics, engagement metrics are the measurement of how and how much users engage with what you post online. In total, webmasters and marketers can get a good idea — quantitatively and qualitatively — of which types of topics, content formats, and messages are best received by their intended target audience.
With this information, you can plan future marketing campaigns around data-backed, historically engaging themes.
It’s also important to note that an engagement metric can be an easily misrepresented, overly broad term. By default, Google Analytics and other tools will register all engagement that occurs on a site. But you may want to view only customer engagement one day vs. non-employee engagement the next.
You’ll need to create separate views for each type of user. Each view must be labeled clearly. For example, filtering all company- and employee-related IP addresses will show you an accurate metric value since you don’t really create content for your employees to click on.
Preliminary time spent planning and filtering your trackable events will make each event metric that much more meaningful.
Engagement Metrics You Should Be Tracking
Below we’ll tackle the aforementioned engagement metrics, how you can track them and why they matter.
1. Social media engagement
These are the top engagement KPIs you should be tracking regularly: Likes per post: “Likes” is a catch-all term I use for people who have upvoted your posts.
Comments per post: “Comments” is a catch-all term for mentions and comments made to your social media posts
Click-through rate: The click-through rate metric measures the percentage of people who clicked through to a specific page after viewing a social media post.
To calculate this metric you need to collate the number of times people clicked on your social media posts over the course of a month and then divide it by your total number of published social media posts over the same time period.
A pageview is the total number of times someone views a web page. A single site visitor may click on multiple pages in a single visit, but they cannot open the same page multiple times. A pageview is recorded for each case.
Pageviews can tell you where traffic comes from, but they’re not always the best metric for measuring success. For example, if one user refreshes a page repeatedly, then the page view count for that page may be inflated. This makes the data less hygienically and actionably collected.
However, if you’re looking for a quick understanding of your page performance, then page views are often the first type reported.
3. Pages Per Session
Calculate pages per session to determine the number of pages viewed by a visitor each time they land on a page. A web session is a period of time during which a user visits a particular site. The number of pages viewed by visitors between their entrance and exit is pages per session. By default, Google analytics stops tracking sessions after 30 minutes of inactivity. This rule ensures people don’t load your site and leave their screen on forever, which would cause them to rack up more time on-page than they intended.
Pages per session is an interesting metric because it can indicate whether your site has good navigation and CTA links. Users can easily navigate through your site using logical hyperlinks and context, which means they’re able to easily move through the pages of your site. You want people to visit lots of pages on your website.
On the other hand, though, it may also be true that if the page doesn’t give them the information they were looking to find by clicking, they might then click on other pages of the site in search of better information. Once they’ve found something they like, they might leave your site frustrated and go back to the SERP for something else.
4. Average Session Duration
The time elapsed between when a user lands on your site and when they exit averaged across all sessions and users is known as average session duration.
Divide the total duration of sessions by the number of sessions and you have an average session duration. It’s difficult to benchmark your individual metric against a competitor or even your industry, but about three minutes is commonly thought to be a solid baseline to start from.
This metric is important because it’s a higher-order measurement than simple metrics like clicks, time on page, or pageviews, which don’t require additional math or averages to calculate. Average session duration paints a clearer picture of what your audience might find interesting on your site and where you might need to make future optimizations to promote higher engagement.
5. Unique Visitors
To dig deeper into the performance of your pages, track unique visitors, which is the number of individuals who land on a page for the first time.
This is different from the regular pageviews metric, which, as mentioned before, factors in individual people repeatedly clicking on the same page or returning to the site multiple times. A unique visitor is recorded by Google via cookie, which assigns a visitor a unique ID. That way, you can filter out a returning visitor and just look at the first-timers.
Tracking unique visitors is important because it gives a truer, cleaner look at how far-reaching your content is and whether it is penetrating into new audiences and markets (as opposed to cycling among repeat visitors).
6. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of one-page sessions relative to total page views. If a visitor views only one page and then “bounces” off your site, this registers as a bounce.
A bounce rate of 100%, for instance, means every single person who arrived at your site looked at one page then left. A high bounce rate could be an indication that users aren’t finding what they need, your content is very thin or your site navigation is poor.
On the other hand, visitors who land on your site via blog post may find everything they need on that one page and then leave. High bounce rates on blog articles are typical because users are often looking for answers to their questions but are not yet interested in exploring the rest of your website.
7. Average Time on Page
Time on the page gives you insight into whether your content is relevant to readers. The moment when a person clicks on the first page to the moment they navigate to a second page (or leave the site entirely) counts as time on page. This metric is then averaged across visitors who recorded the same or similar paths.
If you have incredibly long-form content that would naturally take 15-20 minutes to consume, but the average time on page is just two minutes, that’s an indication that your content isn’t engaging enough to keep people on the page. Your time might be better spent creating shorter content or at least optimizing the structure or flow of your current page to retain users.
8. Time on Site
Time on site is effectively time-on-page on a wider scale.
It measures the duration between when a website visitor enters your site and when they click on their final page. This kind of engagement metric gives a macro view of not only the total amount of time spent on each web visit but also the performance of your exit pages.
Traditionally, you want an active user to, say, find a blog in SERPs, then navigate to a service landing page, then click Contact Us. It’s a simple, natural progression, but one that rarely occurs in the wild as designed.
What if visitors leave after reading just one blog? Or if they make it to an About Us page and then bounce? These are your exit pages — and they’re not really the ideal ones.
Time on site thus can inform you as to whether users are spending enough time on the site relative to the content they’ve viewed and whether you may need to rethink navigation and link structure. As mentioned, you want an exit page to, ideally, be farther down the funnel.
9. Traffic Source
At a high level, Google Analytics can tell you whether site visitors are arriving from:
- Organic search.
- Paid search.
These traffic sources can then be further subdivided into specific channels, like search engines, social platforms, or referral sources.
This information helps you identify which channels your visitors are coming from so you can improve your site performance on those channels. Growing organic traffic can help validate your keyword strategy, because if people are searching for your keywords, then they’re probably interested in Meanwhile, falling referral traffic can potentially hint that there may be broken links, site errors, or an undersupported backlink strategy.
10. Event Tracking
You won’t be able to see event tracking metrics in Google Analytics unless you define them as events and set up campaign goals and unique tracking codes.
An event is whatever action or goal you want it to be. Typically, an event is any desired action or goal that occurs on a web page. This could be filling out a form; clicking a specific link, or remaining on the page longer than three minutes.
Event tracking is a method for drilling down into the actions people perform on your site, which is extremely helpful because many engagement metrics simply track where traffic comes from and the time spent on your site.
You can create multiple kinds of events. Every time an event is triggered/completed it is recorded as a conversion.
11. Conversion Rate
Your site should be functional for the purpose of driving sales. However, you may define conversion differently than I do.
There are micro-conversions like requesting a price quote or adding a product to an order form. There are micro-conversions such as downloading a white paper or signing up for an email newsletter. There is no shortage of conversion opportunities for content marketers, so how you set your conversion framework is totally customizable.
Once you’ve enabled conversion tracking, you’ll be able to determine the conversion rate. Conversion rate is the percentage of people who completed the task (converted) out of the total number of people who visited the page.
By optimizing for conversion rate, you gain more value out of every page on your site. Conversion rates give you the opportunity to convert new visitors into repeat users, and eventually into loyal, paying customers.
12. Scroll Depth
Google Tag Manager can help you figure out how far down page users actually go, which is called scroll depth or page depth (or sometimes just depth).
This plugin has a tracking code that fires when a reader triggers a certain pixel size or dimension. If, for example, a user scrolls past the halfway point of your page, the trigger fires, recording a scroll depth.
Time on page is one way to measure the amount of time a visitor spends on a webpage. Scroll depth is another way to measure the actions and level of interest visitors show on a web page.
13. Dwell Time
Dwell time measures how much time organic web visitors spend on each page before clicking away from the page. Pogo-sticking is when a user clicks a result from a search engine, then goes back to the SERP multiple times until he finds a page that best suits his needs.
If your page ranks at position 2 on Monday, but by next week it drops to position 8, this decline may be due to poor engagement. Essentially, dwell time refers to Google’s method for determining whether its algorithm has properly ranked results that match user intent. If your dwell time on your site is low, Google may downgrade your page.
Dwell time is not clearly labeled in Google Analytics. To begin, you’ll first need to navigate to Average Session Duration — which tracks more than just organic traffic — and then add a segment that is specific to just organic traffic.
A dwell time between two and four minutes is usually considered standard.
14. Abandonment Rate
The abandonment rate is the most important customer engagement metric for e-commerce businesses. It tracks the percentage (or fraction) of shopping carts that had at least one item placed in them but never bought. Users abandoned the conversion at the last minute.
Knowing your abandonment rate allows you to optimize the goal completion process by using last-minute discount activations, email nurturing, or a better user experience on the checkout page.
Measure What Matters Most
Companies with an in-bound marketing model place a stronger focus on content engagement — engagement through channels like web, social media, and email marketing.
E-commerce businesses are more sales-focused, with customer engagement metrics such as NPS, abandonment rate, and return visits a high priority. As an example of metrics reporting, even further, SaaS firms tend to be greatly interested in metrics such as daily/weekly/monthly active users, time spent in the app, and activation rates.
The goal is to make sure that your analytics capabilities align with the fundamental goals of your business and to make continuous improvements.
Some matters are more important than others. And plenty will go far beyond your boss’s comprehension.
If you’re looking for influence, here are My Blog Poster articles that may help.