There’s a worthwhile discussion on the measurability of engagement at Web Analytics guru Eric Peterson’s blog. Eric sets out to measure the engagement of a few users in his RSS base and, based on the responses of those users, will now have to figure out how to readjust his metrics. Some of the best information is in the comments section, especially where Gartner’s Bill Gassman weighs in on the slipperiness of engagement:
Each organization’s version of engagement will be unique. It will be
derived from a number of root metrics, probably under a dozen. Common
root metrics will be frequency, recency, length of visit, purchases and
lifetime value. Some organizations may include visitor actions, such as
subscribing, providing personal information, writing a comment, or
participating in a blog. Soft metrics, such as attitude, influence and
obsession may be used. Not all root metrics will come from the Web
analytic tool. Many will use metrics from other channels such as call
center actions and physical store visits.
Anyone sitting on the fence waiting for a dashboard of engagement and ROI metrics should check back in a year or so. This isn’t going to be wrapped up in a bow any time soon. Of course, by the time the metrics are solidly drilled, the competitive edge will have long since dissolved into an efficiency game. Hell, when Betty Crocker has an RSS feed–and a nice one at that–this is no longer the territory of early adopters.
Gassman is right-on w/ his comment that each firm’s version of engagement will be unique. It HAS to be unique, for (at least) two reasons: 1) measuring engagement requires customer and channel data whose availability varies by firm; and 2) to ensure buy-in and commitment from senior managers, the definition can’t be handed down from some external source.
For some more thoughts on this topic, please check this out: http://marketingroi.wordpress.com/2007/01/02/engagement-myopia/