Engagement and the Interactive Web

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As the social aspects of the web continue to broaden and provide new and richer opportunities for consumer interaction, one thing has become clear – traditional metrics rarely tell the full story when trying to measure consumer engagement.   Some forms of interaction are easier to measure than others.  For example, you can use web analytics to view visits to your website and to get an idea of exactly what people are doing once they get there.  Which pages are they visiting?  Which products are more popular and where are they dropping off?  It becomes more difficult though, to get a feel for the value that information brings to you.  Exactly who is your audience and what does that knowledge mean to you?  More difficult yet is the task of trying to understand how consumers are engaged with your brand – one of the primary benefits of social media and the form of engagement that ultimately translates to conversion.  Traditional metrics such as clicks and page views are still relevant in many ways, but they don’t capture the full picture.  They don’t fully measure interactivity and they don’t capture the viral nature of the interactive web.  There are many intangibles to be gained from participation:  industry recognition, insight into what you’re doing right (and wrong), the opportunity to respond to comments, both positive and negative, and of course word of mouth (people trust the opinions of others over other forms of information).  You need a framework for using metrics, and that framework is provided by the intelligence gained from social media.  If you’re blogging, or if you’re using Facebook or Twitter, how much feedback are you receiving and what types of comments?  That information, used in combination with your metrics, will give you a much better idea of interest level and the types of reactions that help build awareness and ultimately lead to purchase.