Measure audience engagement so that you make the most of your marketing dollars.
Believe it or not, we are in the 4th quarter of 2018! This is the time of year most agencies and businesses take a look at the past year of metrics and marketing dollars spent on campaigns and decide where to allocate a new budget for the new year. The days of radio and print ads from Mad Men are a fading memory. These are the days of digital marketing, where we are able to track what is working and what isn’t. Your marketing team has multitudes of data allowing them to make educated decisions on what their users and customers actually engage with on your website. Let’s take a look at what the most important user engagement metrics are for businesses.
What are user engagement metrics?
It’s simple: user engagement metrics measure how users interact with your website and its content. These metrics show what your website visitors do, and which pages they spend the most of their time on. With these metrics, you can detect patterns of user behavior which will allow for more conversions and sales. In order to determine these user engagement metrics, we will be utilizing Google Analytics to see how to track these metrics on your WordPress site.
1. Visitor frequency– User Sessions and visits
How many visitors are coming to your site on a daily basis? How many are visiting on a monthly or quarterly basis? You would only know this if you embedded a GA code in your site and are tracking these types of metrics. It is a simple task to complete, which will allow you to draw many conclusions for the future of your website and business.
Now user sessions and visits differ from each other in that a session is a measurement that groups the activities of a visitor on your site and terminates after thirty minutes of idleness. By contrast, a visit is any time a web guest reaches your website from some other domain.
In order to see these types of metrics, head to the dashboard of your Google Analytics account.
From the selections on the left-hand side, click on Audience and then overview. Then select a date range in the upper right corner. We chose to show a whole month, so you have more data to work with, you can even compare the data from this year versus last year to see where your visits and sessions have increased or decreased which will again allow you to make a better conclusion for your marketing campaigns.
Sessions are going to be a higher metric because they account for users who have come back to the site more than once during the given time frame. We will review the importance of returning visitors in the next metric point.
2. New vs Returning Visitors
New and returning website visits are an important metric due to the fact that they can show if you are gaining new traffic from a specific online ad campaign. They can also indicate which visitors are returning to make another purchase on your ecommerce store.
Google records new visitors based on the device they use to log in to the site, although it does keep track of users by browser. So, if you are logged into a Chrome browser on your desktop and land on a website for the first time, that action will be counted as a new visit. However, if you are logged into the same Chrome browser on your iPad, it will count you as a returning visitor.
And you guessed it! A returning visitor is someone who has visited your site before and is coming back for more! Fun fact though, a returning visitor who has not visited your site in two years will be counted as a new visitor once they re-visit your site after that two-year mark.
You can find this metric and the actions of new/returning visitors under the Behavior selection and New vs Returning tab.
3. Average Time Spent on Site
This user engagement metric will allow your marketing team to decide if visitors are really interested in the content or visual elements on your site. That is what makes blogs, content, and imagery so important. Do you have a tutorial video on your site on how to make a festive cheesecake? A video post along with a blog (vlog is the technical term) will encourage visitors who stumbled on your site to stay awhile. If they are really engaged with that type of content, they will hang out a little longer and see what else your site has to offer. Or, they may come back at a later time as a returning visitor, as we described in the previous point.
Now of course Google has an Algorithm for the time spent metric. In that algorithm, when a user clicks on your site from a search engine result, Google will place your site as a high-quality page. So, it is a win, win! Create highly engaging content to schmooze your visitors, and in return, you are gaining Google on your side! You can find this metric by again locating the audience tab and selecting overview, like in the first metric example.
4. Bounce Rate
A bounce is detected anytime a visitor leaves a page. Let’s say a web visitor was scrolling though Instagram and they came across an intriguing ad with a call to action that lead them to a particular landing page about whatever product was on the ad. The visitor wasn’t as intrigued with the product as they were in the ad, so they leave and close out the web page. This scenario among many others constitutes a bounce.
The percentage of bounces per given date range will depend on how many pages your site contains. If you are just using a landing page to pull traffic from ads, then you would obviously have a bounce rate of 70% or higher. If you have an internet fashion blog site with many topics and pages, then having a bounce rate of 70% would be relatively high, and you would want to lower it to about 30%. The truth of the matter is that you want to create engaging content that people will love so that they will not want to leave your site the second they land on it.
You can find this metric again in the Audience and Overview section of Google Analytics.
5. Most Popular Content Pages
Growing up, everyone wanted to be the most popular kid in school. And with Google, this fairy tale hasn’t changed. To know which content pages are getting the most popular engagements and page views, you will want to select the behavior tab in GA, and then select site content > all pages. This element will then show which pages are receiving the most page views in order from most to least, as well as average time spent on that given page and the bounce rate—all important metrics that we have previously gone over. From here, you and your marketing gurus can decide what to do with these pages. Are they receiving too little traffic? Think about ways you can start some inbound marketing initiatives to increase awareness.
To wrap up these metrics, it is important to know who, what, where, when and why so you can decide what is working and what isn’t. Are your marketing dollars being spent wisely? Only you can answer that question with the help of Google Analytics and user engagement metrics!