Saturday, November 8, 2014

Digital Strategic Analyst – 3 ways to boost the visitor engagement time on your websites

As a digital strategic analyst, making sure that the web visitors are fully engage in your websites is important. Being a graduate student in Integrated Marketing Communications program at Medill Northwestern University and specializing in digital analytics, with the experience of being a B2B website planner, there are two articles that I found them insightful in better understanding the mystery of engagement in websites. 

The first article Easy Ways to Keep Visitors on Your Website Longer by Eric Siu who is the CEO of San Francisco-based digital marketing agency introduces some principles to keep visitors on the website longer. If you see a bounce rate higher than 50 percent of your visitors, or an average time-on-site that's less than one minute, he suggests that the website should add more multimedia content, add internal pages, make the content more readable and install a 'Related Posts' plugin to your blog. 

    ↑ The heat map of websites provided by ClickTale shows which areas on the websites drive the most attention and provides the detail of interaction with the content.

The second article is Time on Page vs Visitor Engagement Time, written by Sam Green who is the Chief Content Editor for ClickTale. This article is to differentiate the time on page and visitor engagement time. The length of time on page sometimes is not accurate to judge the engagement level for a website because visitors might do something else while keeping the browser open, which is still counted as time on page. The aggregation time of actions like mouse move or scroll reach can better represent the time of engagement which can measured by ClickTale, which is a digital analytic service company. For example, ClickTale provides heat map of websites to detect which part of the website attracts more attention. (picture above)

From these two articles and my graduate studies of social marketing in the Medill IMC program, here are three action items to help you boost the engagement time on the website by focusing on the actual engagement.
  •    Ask For Action- If people don’t know what to do on that website, then they will just leave. Add the action buttons on the sites. A clear navigation of a flow toward to a destination page also can let visitor know what to do.
  •    Site Related Posts- If people like A, they are more likely to like something relevant to A. Therefore, putting a related post beside the content or adding internal links to the sources will make the visitor continue to dig in the topics with deeper engagement with the community.
  •   Make It Readable- Shorten the paragraph and add bold subtitles. Visual graph is always better than a bunch of words. People will leave the page if the first glance of the page is not appealing.

These tips should help you improve your site’s engagement time. Note that evaluation of time on page is not enough to evaluate the website’s performance. Instead, you should look at action-related metrics. If you have enough budgets, it’s worthy to invest an advanced analytic tool which can identify the real behaviors of the visitors when staying on the page. When your websites are in low engagement, try these three tips to increase the engagement time on your page. 

Jean Chang is M.S. Candidate of Integrated Marketing Communications at Medill, Northwestern University. She specializes in digital marketing and marketing analytics. Prior to IMC, she has worked for a candy & gift company as a marketing planner for 2 years. Her passion in digital industry began with the experience of being a B2B website planner, being in charge of providing content of the website and organizing the function and flows. Welcome to contact her by LinkedIn and Twitter@JeanIMC with any questions or comments.

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