Why Audience Engagement Matters

No matter how you measure it, all publishers should care about the engagement of their website audiences. Basic web articles typically feature two ingredients, 1. written text and 2. a mixture of imagery (& video if you’re lucky). Immersive features including interactive content are often dismissed as either ‘too expensive’, ‘too complex’, or ‘too time consuming’ to produce.

1. Audience Engagement… the Essential Spice’ 🌶️

There is little doubt that strong audience engagement can drive and attract genuinely loyal readers. One might think of it as the essential spice required to boost organic sharing, average session duration and repeat site visits. Beyond the once mighty comments box, interactive content is the new kryptonite that can be used to achieve this kind of turbo charged audience engagement.

For instance, in a KaPost study ‘interactive content was found to generate 2x more conversation than passive content’. The same study found interactive content to be “the new compelling force” in digital media.

2. Add Article Authority & Brand Trust

High quality articles, with a strong media mix (imagery, audio, interactivity) demonstrate an understanding with how audiences like to consume their content.

We live now in the age of dispersed media platforms, social networks and blogs, in addition to the mainstream media. This means increased competition for audience time and attention. As a result it has never been more important to build article authority and with it trust in your brand. In light of this according to Digiday, publishing giants Vice and Buzzfeed have both stated they are looking to ‘diversify’ their content mix for 2019.

3. Meaningful Engagement Over Meaningless Traffic

Out with the old, in with the new. Top level traffic figures such as monthly page views are being de-emphasised in favour of a new breed of engagement focussed metrics which seek to better understand the quality of audience traffic. Average Session Time, Clicks per Session and Share Counts to name just a few.

As publishers begin to seek out better relationships with their audiences, the inadequacy of the traditional metrics quickly become clear. Facebook discovered the importance of ‘quality’ after it transformed from the home of holidays pictures and status updates to a hub of passive meme consumption. Facebook have now quickly moved to re-prioritize personal & group content (traditionally very engagement heavy) over other passive type posts.

4. Social Networks Cutting the Cord. Go Direct 🎯

Social Networks (Twitter, Instagram etc.) often demonstrate with particular success the ability to engage with their users, and to keep them engaged.

Nevertheless, many publishers traditionally relied on these same networks for their own community engagement independently of their main sites. As a result many discovered that a significant portion of their traffic depended entirely on third party algorithms liable to change at any moment.

Media execs have since responded with a strategic shift to engage with audiences directly through interactive polls & quizzes, email newsletters and more.

Below see an example of direct audience outreach using a Dot Poll.

5. How To Best Measure Direct Meaningful Engagement 🥰

At Dot we have moved away from a narrow focus on basic page view statistics to a more holistic understanding of the quality and level of interactivity publishers have with their audiences.

You may notice in the screenshot above taken from Dot’s Analytics page, the first three stats have less to do with a raw quantity of views but focus instead on ‘Time-Spent’ and actual audience ‘Interaction’, or ‘Content Clicks’ to put it another way. With this understanding it is possible to engineer greater value from well designed content than a poorly engineered site seeing 10x the raw traffic.

Understanding and optimising audience engagement is therefore the most effective strategy to driving increased session time, brand loyalty and ultimately revenue.

___Dot provides publishers with free, easy to use tools to create, publish and monetise interactive content. Build better audience engagement now and Create an Account.