When you publish a blog post, YouTube video, or infographic, what happens? Ideally, people should react to it. And, they should react in a way that you can measure and track. Content marketing engagement metrics are your canaries in the coal mine. They tell you if your marketing is on the right track.
After all, if you aren’t engaging your audience, what’s the point? What are you doing wrong? But many marketers fail to understand what they need to measure to increase engagement. You need to know what metrics to pay attention to when it comes to engaging your audiences.
Consider this your introduction to content marketing engagement, a sort of content marketing engagement 101. Learn why engagement matters and how you can measure it. Plus, discover what you need to do to start paying more attention to engagement.
Understanding Content Marketing Engagement
Before we jump into the hows and whys of engagement, it helps to have a grasp of what the concept is. Neil Patel, over at the Content Marketing Institute, defines content engagement as “real people responding in measurable ways to your content.”
That seems easy enough. People engage with your content when they do something in response to it. That something could be commenting on a blog post, thumbs-upping (or thumbs-downing) a video, or sharing the content with others (either over social media or email).
The critical thing here is that you need to have some way to measure the engagement. Tracking the number of thumbs up or thumbs down is one way. Giving people customized links to share is another.
It’s also worth noting that a person doesn’t have to explicitly do something with your content to be engaged with it. Comments, likes, and shares are often regarded as the gold standard metrics for engagement. But not everyone wants to share what they read online with their friends, and there are plenty of people who aren’t comfortable commenting on blog posts or videos.
How long people spend on a page, reading or viewing something, and how much they scroll down a page when looking at content can also give you an idea of their levels of engagement.
A person who visits a page or video and bounces (leaves) after just a few seconds isn’t going to be very engaged. But someone who lingers, scrolling through the entire piece, or who watches a video to the very end is likely engaged.
Why Content Marketing Engagement Matters
It’s estimated that the “digital universe” — that is, everything that’s online — will grow to 40 trillion gigabytes by the year 2020.
You already know that there’s a lot of content out there. The amount of content is expected to double every two years until 2020, making it even more challenging for brands and marketers to stand out.
That’s why engagement matters. If you’re not grabbing your audience’s attention, keeping it, and getting them to react in some way, you’re pretty much just filling up the web with more stuff. Content that doesn’t engage doesn’t have worth or value. It might as well not exist.
Content Marketing Engagement Metrics
How can you measure content marketing engagement? It all depends on what you want your content to do. The first step to measuring engagement starts with clear goals and objectives.
For example, if you want your content to boost the number of people who sign up for your newsletter or make accounts on your site, you can pay attention to how many people do that after looking at a piece of content.
If you want your content to increase awareness of your brand, you can pay attention to how many people share a link to the content on social media. If you just want more people to read your blog or watch your videos, you can pay attention to bounce rate, traffic, and scroll rates.
How to Improve Content Marketing Engagement
Knowing what metrics to monitor gives you a sense of how your content performs. Is anyone sharing your content? Do people bounce after just a few seconds on your site? Are people watching your videos, but only for 10-15 seconds?
As long as you know what your goals are for engagement, and that your content isn’t reaching them, the first step to improving engagement is often to improve your content.
That can seem like a tall order, and it usually is. One way to do it is to pay attention to production quality. Are your videos blurry? Do your blog posts have a lot of typos or grammatical errors? Are you giving people huge blocks of text with no headings or images?
Another way to improve content quality is to focus on hooking the customer from the get-go. Pay close attention to your headlines, for example. Do they make people want to read on, or are they boring as dirt? Also important is to make sure your headlines correspond to what’s in the article, video, or blog post.
You also want to pay attention to your content’s content, and to your real audience. Are you creating videos for 18 year olds when it’s really 45-year-old moms who are tuning in? Defining your audience then crafting content for them is essential for engagement.
One last thing to do to improve your engagement: Don’t put your brand first. Content that engages is content that helps the audience or customer in some way. No one cares about your brand’s newest release, unless that release will solve a specific problem.
Your content marketing engagement improves if your content focuses on the customer. To do that, you need to know exactly who that customer is.