Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Demystifying the "Demystified" Engagement Calculation

I don't know Eric T. Peterson, who writes the blog and book entitled "Web Analytics Demystified", but the summary of his "visitor engagement calculation" in this MarketingSherpa article has me, well, mystified. Here's the equation:

Engagement Calculation (Ci + Ri + Di + Li + Bi + Fi + Ii) / 7
Describing Peterson’s engagement model as a combined metric is an understatement. It takes seven metrics, each one an index that represents an engagement factor. Most of them will be familiar to you. They all depend on the variable “n.”

As if that wasn't enough, here's an explanation of just the first variable of the equation:

Indices: Engagement Factors
->Ci: Click Depth Index
Definition: the number of sessions having more than “n” page views divided by the total number of sessions by the user.
This index calculates the percentage of sessions a visitor clicks deeply into your website. How deeply? That depends on where you set “n.” For every session that a visitor’s page views exceed “n,” their engagement score will increase.

The level of sophistication required to measure this is significant. Only the most sophisticated online marketers will ever achieve this level of anal retentiveness.

So what of small and medium-sized businesses?

I recommend using the "Duh-mystified" Conversion Sciences Engagement Calculation: Bounce Rate.

Bouncy Bouncy

The inverse of visitor engagement is visitor leaving. Quickly. Bounce Rate measures the ratio of those visitors who visit a page and then click nothing. If a visitor isn't engaged by anything they see on the page, they bounced. Maybe to a competitor.

The bounce rate on your home page is a pretty good indicator of how many of your visitors are bouncing off your message, layout, message, copy and design.

For a home page, a bounce rate of 30% is considered good. That means that 70% of the visitors were engaged enough to go deeper into the site.

There are two ways to increase your bounce rate (decrease the percentage):

1. Get better qualified traffic from your advertising and organic search efforts.

2. Offer things on your home page that your visitors care about.

Profiling your visitors is one way to understand what they are coming for and, thus, what you should feature on your site.

So, before you get into the calculus of engagement, take a look at how engaging your home page and landing pages really are.

MarketingSherpa: How to Measure Website Engagement: Calculate Scores for Every Visitor

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