You’re in your weekly meeting with your boss, and she tells you that you need to generate more social media followers, more web hits, and more impressions on the digital campaign you’re running. How do you respond?
A. You look sheepish and write down the request in your notebook. You’ll get right on it.
B. You share metrics that speak to something more important than quantity… quality.
Ding, ding, ding—you’re right: the answer is B. Yes, quantity of traffic is important, but your engagement metrics are crucial. What if your new social media followers like you but never look at your social content again? What if they visit your site and immediately bounce? What if you generate a thousand more impressions… but to prospects outside of your target market?
Let’s see how the your outcomes will differ between option A (a focus on high traffic) and option B (focused on engagement metrics).
You launch a broad campaign to produce high traffic metrics
You produce 100 new social media followers by creating an offer that incentivizes them to like your page. Of those 100, 5 share your content once a month. Over 12 months, you get 60 new shares of your content, which results in 13 additional followers with a similar engagement level. You had used paid ads to generate the 100 followers, which ultimately increased your cost per follower.
You generate 1,000 more website visits per month by spending on impressions. However, 90% of those users bounce. Plus, their average time on site is 10 seconds, and each user looks at approximately 1.2 pages on your website. Your SEO and overall site authority go down because of the high bounce rates. Ultimately, you’re converting visitors to known prospects at a low rate.
You generate 80,000 impressions for your campaign to a broad audience of industry professionals (but you suspect there are a few pet owners in there). You convert them at 0.05% and produce 40 leads from your campaign. Your cost per acquisition is high because you paid for more irrelevant impressions, and you converted at a lower rate because your message wasn’t targeted enough.
You educate your boss and do what you know works: launch a targeted campaign and produce high engagement
You produce 10 new social media followers that each share your content once a month. Over 12 months, you get 120 new shares of your content, resulting in 25 additional followers with a similar engagement rate, thus growing your reach to engaged users long-term. You were able to organically execute this campaign for free.
You generate 200 more website visits per month. In addition, these new users stay on the site for 2 minutes and view 5 pages on average. Your SEO and overall site authority improve from these quality visits, and you convert leads at a much higher rate because of the high level of engagement.
You generate 40,000 impressions for your campaign to a narrowly targeted audience of decision makers. You convert them at a 0.3% (much higher than typical benchmarks), producing 120 leads in your campaign. Your cost per acquisition was low because you paid for fewer impressions.
Focusing on User Engagement KPIs
You see how important engagement metrics are? Targeted campaigns allow you to invest your dollars in a way that reduces cost per acquisition. You also gain authority in the market by narrowly messaging to needs and proving to your audience that you understand them.
Instead of focusing on quantity, we should be measuring the quality of our traffic. That boils down to one key thing: engagement.
Here is a list of user engagement metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you should be looking at:
- Website Time on Page: This metric shows you how interested your visitors are by allowing you to see how much time they are spending on a page. High engagement is indicated by long time on page.
- Website Bounce Rate: High bounce rates are bad for your site health and indicate that when the visitor arrived at your site, they didn’t find what they were looking for and “bounced.” Bounce rate is defined as a single-page session divided by all sessions. Average bounce rates are 41%-55%, and good bounce rates are anything under 40%.
- Website Pages Per Session: This metric indicates how much your content made the prospect want to click around and learn more. High numbers of pages per session indicate high engagement.
- Social Media Shares: This is the number of times your content was shared. Sharing is important for expanding the visibility of your message and is more important for wide content distribution on social media.
- Social Media Reactions: Likes and reactions on your post also indicate engagement and help you determine which content your audience wants more of. You may get a lot of reach (number of impressions) with a paid social post, but if it has no reactions and no shares, your content wasn’t resonating with the audience.
- Social Media Comments: Commenting is a high value interaction that proves content value. Often visitors will tag a friend who might like the content, which then helps your content get even more engagement.
- Social Media Link Clicks: Check if the visitors clicked your content links, thus indicating interest and further engagement with your content.
Leverage a CRM or marketing automation system to track lead sources and campaigns that ultimately convert prospects into sales. This data will allow you to go back and assign an ROI to your marketing efforts based on spend, conversion of that spend to leads, and ultimate conversion of those leads to sales.