You Ask, I Answer: Measuring Content Engagement KPIs?

Erika asks, “What KPIs do you use to measure your content engagement, and where do you source the data to track them?”

It depends on how we define engagement in content marketing. What constitutes engaging content? Reading it? Sharing it? One of the quirks of modern social media, when you examine shared content, is that sharing and reading have no statistical relationship. So first, decide what metrics constitute engagement. How? Watch the video for details.

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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Erica asks, What KPIs do you use to measure your content engagement? And where do you source the data to track them? It depends on how we define engagement.

So engagement is one of the really tricky terms because it means many different things to many different people, there are a whole basket of different metrics that generally fall into the engagement bucket on websites, like time on page, average session duration, number of pageviews, all indicate that you’re spending a lot of time on the site, right, you’re engaging with the content.

And then there are other things you can do on a website, like, share a link, through a social widget, for example, email an article to a friend, all those would be engaging content as well.

In the social media realm, you have all the traditional measures the three major buckets, right, like content, like, comment, share, or be the three major behavioral types that you perform in social media for engaging content.

And the trick is this for those two domains, there’s not a lot of a lot of overlap.

So let’s, let’s take a look here, this is a scatterplot of 7700 pages.

And this is the number of pageviews traffic to a set of top performing articles, versus the number of total social media shares.

What we see here is a statistical non relationship.

What this means is that just because something is shared on social media does not mean it has any mathematical relationship with the number of views that that content gets people share stuff all the time, and don’t read it.

People read stuff all the time that they don’t share.

So be very, very careful about mixing these two measures together, because you can see, there is no relationship, there is nothing that connects these two together.

So the question then is, okay, KPIs, how do we measure content engagement, then you have a basket full of metrics, right? All these different metrics, and things like social shares and stuff like that, you also have or should have a measure of what content performs the best in terms of outcomes, you care about, like conversions, right, whatever your goal completions are conversions are, every piece of content should have a number that has an outcome, right is an outcome of some kind, even if it’s, you know, zero to 100 scale, even if it’s just raw number of clicks out two buttons you care about in your website, something the way you make a determination about KPIs is you do a regression analysis, you do a regression analysis on that outcome that you care about, and all of the engagement metrics you have.

And yes, absolutely, for a given piece of content, if you can get likes, comments and shares, get that data get time on page time and session, number of clicks away to a page on the same site, number of clicks off site, if that’s relevant, whatever information you can get.

And what you are looking for is which of the metrics that you have either alone or in combination, have a mathematical relationship to the outcome that you care about, right? So maybe time on page is a good predictor of whether that content helps to nudge somebody towards a conversion, maybe number of times shared or emailed to a friend, if you’ve got a plug in on your website that can measure that is a good predictor of the likelihood of a conversion down the road.

That’s how you do the KPI identification.

And here’s the catch.

With Erica’s question.

Not everyone’s KPIs are going to be the same.

Right? your content, my content, they’re different, right? I guarantee they are different.

Because we write differently, we may cover different topics, we for sure, probably use different formats and different techniques.

And as a result, the way that my audience behaves is the way that differently the way your audience behaves, your audience behaves very differently probably than my audience does.

And so when you run this analysis, you will probably come up with different KPIs than I would write for my site.

It might be time on page because I write long, dense articles and have videos embedded in these pages, right? You might have a very different type of content, there might not be a video on your page.

So time on page Might not be relevant as relevant to what moves the needle forward, moves the ball forward for your conversions.

So that’s why you have to do this analysis.

Where does this data come from? As you’ve heard, it comes from Google Analytics, or your web analytics package of choice, your social media data, possibly your email data, if you’re if you’re emailing out your content, you may need to pull email, click data in from an email marketing system.

But whatever the case may be, you’re going to want to bring all this data together, and do that regression analysis to figure out what has a relationship and then comes the hard part.

Once you establish a correlation, you might have to establish causation just because time on page seems to be say, predictive of conversion, you then have to test Okay, well, what if you you’re cranking out 1500 word posts, go and make some 3000 word posts, double the amount of time on page, double the amount of page and double that amount of time on page.

And once you see time on page go up, do you then see a time based change, meaning that once you start increasing the size of articles, page size of time and page increases, you then see a corresponding increase in the outcome you care about if you double time on page, and you believe that time on page predicts conversions by doubling the page view, then double the conversions.

If you don’t, if conversions actually go down, then you have a correlation.

But you do not have causation.

That means that something else has happened.

There’s a third variable, there’s another source of data is another metric that that may determine what really gets people engaged.

But But in doing that process, you may find that Nope, there wasn’t a relationship.

You may also find, again, when you do that first regression analysis, if there is no either Pearson or Spearman correlation coefficient above point, say, 3.2 5.3.

If everything’s below that, you may have no correlation at all, right, which means then you’re missing data, you’re missing information, you’re missing a metric that could be a KPI and you have to go and hunt it down, find it, figure out what it is, you might have to do some engineering on your data to extract out things like time of day or day of week, you know, those could be hidden factors that you might not naturally initially think, Oh, I should put that input into my content engagement analysis.

figuring this out, is tricky.

figuring this out, requires a lot of detective work.

But once you figure it out, you then know exactly which levers to pull to make your content more engaging.

For the purposes of conversion.

It’s not just engagement for engagement sake, it is engagement to nudge people further down your marketing operations funnel and get them to essentially do the thing that you want them to do.

Right? You want them to convert whatever conversion means in your world.

You want people to convert and this is how you’re measured.

So there’s a lot of pieces you have to assemble.

There’s a lot of data you have to assemble together in order to get the answer that you’re looking for about what KPIs should you measure.

But once you figure it out, then you’re in really good condition to start testing and proving what what meaningful engagement is for your site.

So really good question.

Got a follow up question, leave in the comments box below.

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