Why should publishers care about engagement metrics? We’ll tell you.
Reliable engagement metrics are becoming more important for publishers who depend on revenue from subscriptions and membership programs. Engagement shows publishers how well their editorial strategies are lining up with reader interests. If you want to sell subscriptions, you need to create the kind of engaging content that your readers are willing to pay for.
Publishers with high engagement rates see greater overall profitability, since readers who are engaged with the publication are more likely to subscribe, click on links, and click on display ads. Engaged readers are also more likely to share the publication’s stories with their friends and followers across social media and through email.
Have you ever heard the saying, “What gets measured, gets managed”? When you track the essential engagement metrics for your digital publication, you’re better able to cater to what your readers want. This will improve the utility of your publication, leading to increased profitability in the long-term.
What Are Engagement Metrics?
Engagement metrics are what publishers use to understand how much value readers are finding in their content. Each reader’s time is valuable, and engagement is how publishers measure the value of engaging their readers.
Which specific engagement metrics are deemed “essential” will vary from publication to publication. However, the 10 most common engagement metrics for publishers to measure are:
- Page views
- Time on page
- Bounce rate
- Pages per session
- Scroll depth
- Conversion rate
- Unique visitors
- New vs. returning visitors
- Top exit pages
- Abandonment rate
Some of these metrics are better suited for ecommerce businesses. For example, abandonment rate usually refers to the percentage of virtual shopping carts that are abandoned compared to the number of completed transactions. However, with more digital publishers selling both physical and virtual goods, cart abandonment rates do have their place as a metric worth tracking.
How to Track Engagement Metrics
Engagement isn’t hard to track. If you use Google Analytics, you might already be seeing many of the essential engagement metrics for digital publishers. Right off the bat, you can easily track page views, average visit duration, and pages per session through your Google Analytics account.
For an even more detailed look at your publication’s engagement, download a Google Analytics Engagement Report. In this report, you’ll find page depth and visit duration, both of which are based on user sessions.
If your website runs on WordPress, you can try out a few plugins designed for tracking engagement, as well. The most popular WordPress plugins for tracking engagement are MonsterInsights, ExactMetrics, and WP Statistics.
Reasons to Track User Engagement
Engagement is closely tied to profitability for online publishers. How do you know if your readers are enjoying the content you’re putting out? You could ask individual subscribers or send out mass surveys, but the results you collect are probably going to be skewed. Engagement metrics provide you with the most honest assessment of how readers are receiving with your content.
Nearly all of the essential engagement metrics we’ve talked about today are interrelated, which means optimizing for one of these metrics should improve your performance in others.
The best way to improve your engagement rate is by putting out more of the content your readers want. Optimize your pages to put the best information or the most enticing elements right up front, and then sprinkle additional content—like photos and videos—throughout articles to give people a reason to keep scrolling down the page. Once you’ve optimized the reader experience, you’ll be right on track to generate more revenue through both subscription sales and traditional advertising channels.
To learn more about the essential engagement metrics that we recommend digital publishers track, get in contact with our team of publishing experts today.