Since the very beginning, online publishers have measured the success of their editorial departments primarily by the number of pageviews and unique visitors they receive each month. To some extent, this makes a lot of sense. The more traffic a website receives, the more ads it can serve to those users, and the more money it can make from selling those ads.
But while traffic metrics are obviously important, digital publishers encounter problems when they make them the end-all, be-all of how they measure their performance. After all, pageviews alone cannot tell a publisher whether their visitors enjoyed the articles they read and videos they saw — or even whether they stuck around long enough to consume the content. And if people aren’t having a positive experience on your site, they’re probably not going to keep coming back. Even worse, they may leave with a negative opinion of the brands who’ve paid to advertise with you.
In order to build strong, sustainable businesses, publishers need a variety of real-time metrics that can provide a truly holistic view of their performance. Here are three engagement metrics every publisher should monitor and optimize.
1. Engagement time.
Engagement time is a metric that tells you how long people spent perusing a piece of content after arriving on one of your pages.
For publishers, it’s particularly powerful as an indicator of whether people are enjoying what they see on the site. In fact, studies have shown that the more time a user spends reading or watching a piece of content, the more likely they are to return to that site in the future. Further, sites that optimize for this metric will make themselves more valuable to their advertising partners, as higher engagement times have also been linked to increased brand recall for the ads on the page.
With the right real-time reporting platform, you’ll be able to generate insights that allow you to improve your engagement time moving forward. For instance, you can monitor which topics are generating the most engagement time from your audience, and then produce more content around those subjects. You can even break down this metric by traffic source, allowing you to show your Facebook audience the content they are most likely to spend time with.
2. Video completion rate.
Video is one of the fastest-growing segments in the media world, with publishers rushing to meet buy-side inventory demands. Given the format’s rising prominence, it’s crucial for publishers to make sure their multimedia content is connecting with their audiences.
Enter video completion rate, a metric that tells publishers what percentage of viewers made it through the entire piece of content. In addition to shedding light on whether your video content is landing with your audience, this tool also offers insight into how you should be presenting content to your audience.
By looking at how your completion rates vary based on the length of your content, you can figure out how long your videos should be. You can also test your rate against different time, platform, and device variables, and enhance the user experience based on people’s preferences. For example, if visitors who come to your site via the Facebook app aren’t watching videos all the way through, you might decide to serve them your article page with only text and photographs.
3. Visitor loyalty.
This metric tells you how many times your readers have visited your site in the past week or month, which is a great way to determine whether the content you’re producing is creating dedicated fans of your publication. These fans will give you more data as they continue visiting your site, thus, making your publication more valuable to the advertisers who try to reach them there. As an added bonus, you can also target these users with offers for any premium subscription services you sell.
If certain pieces of content are closely linked to people who’ve visited multiple times in a given week, it’s a good sign that those articles or videos are winners, and that you should try producing similar content in the future. You might also decide to promote these with paid media spend, in the hopes that they will convert an infrequent or first-time visitor into a regular reader.
If you’re a publisher looking to learn more about visitor engagement, there’s no better tool than the Domo business cloud. Offering real-time data, intelligent insights, and intuitive visualizations, Domo empowers you to understand your audience on a much deeper level.
Ready to learn more about how real-time data can help you create irresistible content? Click here to find out what the Domo business cloud can do for your media or entertainment company.