When you think of all the analytics that matter to the success of your company’s online presence, where does engagement data rank?
Are you tracking it at all?
Are you using it to support your ecommerce personalization efforts?
If you’re not doing either of these things – much less tracking engagement data in the first place – you’re missing out on one of the most important insights into how your market behaves, something that is almost always worth a lot of money.
What Is Engagement Data?
Engagement data is an analytic that shows how much time a website visitor is spending on various pages. As the amount of time on a given page usually correlates with interest, higher numbers can be interpreted as better engagement.
With so many analytics to already keep track of, you may be wondering why engagement data should earn a spot on that list.
Simply put, because engagement data tells you what potential customers are interested in, these analytics will help you improve your ecommerce personalization, which, in turn, will improve sales.
The Difference Between Engagement Data and Click Data
Click data and engagement data are similar analytics but get confused far too often. They’re complementary analytics, but they tell distinct versions of a buyer’s story.
For instance, most people know they should track the click-through-rate on their webpages. They believe this will show them which pages are doing best. Unfortunately, this only tells half the story. People who track these analytics without factoring engagement data run a serious chance of misunderstanding what their visitors are truly interested in.
If you’ve ever bought a car from a dealership you probably know about this firsthand. Even though you came on the lot for something specific – say, a minivan to help with your three kids – you still may have spent some time perusing other options.
After all, it’s hard to ignore that shiny new two-seater sports car right when you walk in, even if you know it’s not remotely a good fit for your needs. You might look at the new model of your old car, too, and even consider a large SUV, a possible alternative to the minivan.
In the end, though, what you’re really interested in is the minivan and anyone who watches you from the moment you come on the lot will be able to tell because of how much time you spend looking at that particular vehicle.
However, you can’t watch over a visitor’s shoulder as they explore your site in real-time. All you can do is examine analytics later on to see how your visitors tend to behave. If you don’t have engagement data to review, every “car” a visitor clicks on is going to look as valuable as the next.
Time Spent Looking at Different Products Is as Valuable as Click Data (if not more)
It may seem like this problem would solve itself after enough visitors. At a certain point, the most valuable pages will be those that are clicked on the most, right?
First of all, that’s not necessarily the case. Let’s consider that “sports car” one more time. It probably draws a lot of attention. In fact, if the dealership could only see which car gets visited the most, it might even win.
That’s because everyone wants to look at this fun, exotic vehicle before they break off to look at sedans, vans, SUVs, and trucks. So comparatively, the sports car wins the attention contest even if it never actually sells.
You may have a “sports car” page on your site, one that grabs people’s attention right away. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most valuable asset you have, though.
This is usually where CTAs come in as important tracking tools. You could argue that the dealership would avoid any costly misinterpretations of their data because they’d eventually realize that their sports car isn’t selling, but their other vehicles are.
It’s not always that easy on a website. Some pages won’t have CTAs. They just wouldn’t make sense there.
Furthermore, engagement data is still valuable on pages with CTAs. If you’re not seeing clicks on a certain page, it will help to know if it’s because the content leading up to the CTA is falling short (in which case, engagement will be minimal) or if it’s succeeding (in which case, engagement should be high) and it’s the offer that’s clearly lacking.
What Should Retailers Do with Engagement Data?
By far, the most important thing a retailer can do with their engagement data is use it to influence their personalization efforts. In other words, while these analytics may be helpful for modifying your site, don’t forget that you’ll engage visitors much better if you can actively personalize it based on individuals’ unique preferences.
If you know that a visitor to your site has shown the highest amount of engagement for a certain type of content or product/service in the past, be sure your site adjusts for this when they return.
How to Accurately Keep Track of Engagement Data
The good news is that engagement data is extremely easy to track in the age of analytics. You can simply use ecommerce personalization software that not only tracks this vital data but helps you implement in order to customize your overall user experience.
The Importance of Machine Learning, Fast-Algorithm, and Collecting Accurate Data
If your engagement data is anything other than completely accurate, these analytics will quickly cost you. Instead of your site turning into the perfect destination for each visitor, it may actually do the opposite.
Fortunately, thanks to machine-learning, this has never been easier. The right program will not only actively collect these important analytics for you but put them to use in real-time, as well. Again, this is the only way to achieve the type of ecommerce personalization that is so important for creating the type of engagement that turns into sales.
Making Engagement Data a Priority
Unless you’re already seeing 100% conversions on your website, tracking your engagement data will absolutely improve your results. This will be especially true if you combine these analytics to real-time ecommerce personalization so visitors always feel like welcomed guests on your site.