Measuring Engagement Metrics for Social Media Marketing – Part 1


Following Eric T. Peterson’s Engagement Metrics Process

Graph from Web Analytics Demystified

Eric Peterson, of Visual Sciences, over at Web Analytics Demystified has been running a series of articles on Engagement Metrics, as a response to Robert Scoble’s calling for “engagement metrics.” Based on discussions he has had with customers on building engagement metrics, Eric has outlined a possible scenario of the process of identifying and measuring engagement metrics.

As with analytics in general, getting good data comes from a combination taking knowledge of technical data collection processes and limitations and building “business metrics” on top of that.

One question to ask while reading the process he goes through in creating the engagement metrics for his website is: is this something that can prepackaged or will it be under some form of “tabula rasa” analytics (see “The Future of Analytics and the Fate of Page Centricity“), where each website has to be specially configured?

First he outlines what engagement actual means for his website:

Moderate-Value Activities

  • Read my weblog
  • Read about the Web Analytics Business Process
  • Research web analytics jobs
  • Add a link to my link database
  • Read comments about my books
  • Give me an email address
  • Host a Web Analytics Wednesday
  • Join the Web 2.0 Measurement Working Group

High-Value Activities

  • Consider buying one or more of my books
  • Buy one or more of my books
  • Read about any of my books
  • Read about my Key Performance Indicator Worksheets
  • Download a sample copy of one of my books
  • Email me directly
  • Submit a comment to my weblog
  • Go to to check out my books

Next, Eric narrows it down to key business goals and creates a simple formula:

my engagement calculation is essentially this:

(Pct High-Value Content Consumption Sessions + Pct Moderate-Value Content Consumption Sessions + Blog Subscriber Reads per Session + Pct Recent Sessions + Pct “Long” Sessions + Pct Direct Sessions) / 6

This results is the dashboard like below:

Yes, what Eric is creating is pretty raw, but we cannot ask for too much precision in measuring something very fuzzy – what is engagement?. What we can ask is rough measurements than can be measured as part of a trend over time to gauge changes in visitor behavior and correlating that with campaigns and changes to the website.

Conclusion: Where do we go with this?

As PR and Marketing folks struggle with measuring the success of their Social Media Marketing campaigns, how will they work together with analytics company to solve the issue of enagement metrics?

Working with “buzz measurement” companies like BuzzMetrics is only half the battle, this needs to be combined with on-site analytics tools like WebTrends, WebSiteStory HBX/Visual Sciences and others.

Daniel Barbosa, and others at Factiva, have been openly engaging a few thought leaders on trying to resolve the Engagement Metric issue at a Social Media Roundtable in last December. I’ll talk more about Eric side of things and how it fits with Factiva’s Social Media Roundtable discussions in Part 2.
Part 2 Coming Next Soon…


  1. Daniel,

    Thanks for referencing my work on measuring engagement. Obviously I agree that “buzz measurement” only paints part of the picture of visitor engagement but the opposite is also true. Still, the criticality of the web site in this conversation drove me to look for a practical (if slightly “raw”) measurement that could serve as a jumping off point.

    I’m not in the Bay Area but would love to come to a Social Media Roundtable and discuss sometime.

    All the best,

    Eric T. Peterson

  2. Eric,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Your blog posting on the measurements is definite critical and an important contribution to engagement metrics. I’d love to see analytics companies and folks like Factiva/BuzzMetrics come together. Maybe a platform like Omniture’s Genesis would be a good way to “fuse” the two separate but related data?

    And while I did comment that the measurement is “raw”, I think that’s how engagement metrics will be short of interviewing every person who has visited the website. But at the same time, clients and marketers need to be reminded of the limitations of the metrics, much like analytics folks already do with analytics data.

    Definitely let me know when you are in the Bay Area.



  3. […] Daniel Riveong at Emergence Media describes my engagement metric as “pretty raw” but wisely points out measuring “buzz” is only a component of measuring engagement and that external data needs to be incorporated into site-based measurement. Sounds like Daniel is connected in the Bay Area so perhaps I’ll get invited to the next Social Media roundtable to talk about my metric. […]

  4. Wow what an incredible set of stats and he is right on when he says that its the business metrics on top of the data.

    Your formula above looks prety impressive and I think we will apply it to our sites and see what it looks like.

    On another note there is an MMORPG coming out called Tabula Rasa….lol.

  5. […] Eric T Peterson ofrece una fórmula flexible y personalizada para determinar cuales son las mejores medidas de engagement. […]