Let’s face it: measuring what your readers are doing is not an exact science . . . yet. In the world of online publishing, we are still in the early stages of understanding what works and what doesn’t. We’re in the midst of this powerful, shifting landscape where we once thought that reading and sharing was enough. But we’ve learned that time on site and page views don’t always provide enough information or the right kind of information.
We’ve learned that liking and sharing aren’t always indicators of content actually getting read. As time goes on, we realize that there is more to engagement than all of that, and we’ve got to come up with the metrics that help us measure it.
Why is measuring engagement so important?
You probably know why:
As we mentioned earlier, time on site, page views, likes and shares get a lot of attention as measures of engagement, and to be sure, they do provide some insight into audience behavior, but there is no question that publishers are constantly looking for better measurement.
Take Upworthy’s “attention minutes” for instance. The publisher realized that measuring clicks wasn’t giving them enough information or accurate numbers, so they developed a new metric to help. But there are several other metrics that can add depth and relevancy—and if you have a SaaS CMS, it’s likely that you have the ability to employ and measure these features.
These are just four ways to get a better measure of engagement—and they have a key quality in common: they each require the reader to take a specific action, based on true interaction with the content. Keep them in mind as you continually consider how to improve your measure of engagement and remember that a thumb’s up is good, but a thumb’s down makes you better.
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