Social Marketing Analytics Framework Review – Measuring AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT – Part 2 of 10

Thought about the Audience Engagement KPI the Altimeter/Web Analytics Demystified  Social Marketing Analytics Framework put forth and how it might be measured.  While Share of Voice is easy to compile and chart (although applying share of voice is more difficult) qualifying Audience Engagement is not as easy because shares and trackbacks (for a site that is not a blog) are harder to gather (and don’t always show up in Site Analytics).

Upon further reflection, I find the Audience Engagement KPI metric somewhat confusing in weather it is trying to measure the Engagement of a piece of web content (a blog post or tweet) or a website/blog.  I suppose it makes more sense to take Audience Engagement as a measurement of a particular piece of content – like a blog post – where there are comments and trackbacks and shares, and where the total page views can be divided into the sum of the above.

Another thing that’s confusing me is calling this KPI “Audience Engagement” … which implies, to me, that I’m measuring the engagement of an audience with my content (the whole website) .. if I wanted to measure the engagement of my audience with a particular piece of content I created … maybe the name of this KPI ought to be called something else – like “Item Audience Engagement” … something that keys into a separate score for every piece of content rather than an aggregate score for all my content – etc.

On the other hand, since the Share of Voice KPI was applied to a brand or website – shouldn’t all the KPI’s either apply to an entire site … or just a piece of content ?  What confused me is the SOV metric was for a site, but the Audience Engagement KPI was for a piece of content – and doesn’t easily work if you try to get the audience engagement of a site.

While calculating the Audience Engagement of a blog post might make sense,  aggregate site numbers make more sense, yet the pathway to achieve those numbers is missing from this KPI.

For one thing, collecting the number of comments, historically, is easy enough for a blog (you can look at the blog backend or Technorati) but getting the number of shares and trackbacks is more difficult.    Total Views would be the total number of pageviews of a website or blog where the comments/shares/trackbacks were directed to, taken at a domain level.

And TrackBacks were first created for blogs yet they are a built in to the Audience Engagement equation even if you site is not a blog.  While it’s possible to get the total number of Trackbacks for a WordPress blog with the addition of a few lines of code to your blog template it may not be possible to to get trackback counts in many types of website content.

Meanwhile Trackbacks are much easier to get on a post level than at the blog level.  While I seem to recall there are tools that can track aggregate trackbacks to a website (trended over time?), try as I might, I can’t find one. That tells me this KPI should be re-written, as in several instances it will not be implementable (or you’ll just have to ignore trackbacks all together – and that is fuzzy analytics where we should have none).

The number of shares as a metric is also confusing – a share can be measured for a post on Facebook much as a RE-Tweet is.  You can go into Facebook and see how many times a piece of content you can see is shared – but since your content isn’t always on Facebook. counting the number of shares may not be applicable in  many cases.   I suppose for Twitter, they could have substituted ReTweets for Shares.

The number of comments is applicable both to a post or blog and is obtainable in both cases from the backend of a blog.  Comments can appear in many times of Social Sites and depending how much we have to keep track of, can be counted manually or perhaps, with a automated tool.   For example the total number of comments my blog has 3,295 Comments (gotten out of WordPress) – but this option doesn’t let me count the number of comments my blog got over time (as a trend).

Assuming I can’t get a good number for Trackbacks or Shares to a website (I can’t) what does my Audience Engagement look like for my blog?

3295 /124,188  = .27%   This isn’t very helpful to me – I’d need this over time , charted for me by software, but that isn’t happening anytime soon.

To sum up, measuring the Audience Engagement KPI ought to be clearly written to the website level or the post (content) level, but not both.  Also, this KPI  represents a circumstance where it’s best not to publish what you can not support  in the first place.  I cannot show you a concrete examples for a website as too much that is needed by this KPI is missing and I’m not able to recreate it on the fly, no less.

Finally, while I wanted to use the Audience Engagement KPI on Havana Central website (not a particular piece of content) – as I did with Share of Voice.

Even if a KPI is a long equation – the elements of that equation should be easy to obtain or derive – there should be no ambiguity about the formula or how it is applied - this KPI is extremely vague (as to weather it is to be applied to  a piece of content (mention) or a website as a whole) – therefore, poorly written,  and by getting rid of trackbacks and shares (because they may be too hard to gather in some cases) we might get a formula that will still “kinda” works - but ultimately defeats the purpose of what we’re trying to measure – and way too much “fuzzy” math is in the world right now.

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