Contributed By Dan Neely, founder and CEO of Networked Insights
There has been a lot of recent talk about “Engagement”. Engagement is the new metric for social media, the measure of success for social media marketing. Although clearly defining engagement has been a challenge and people have disagreed on setting standards, it is certainly a concept worth exploring.
As soon as social media started to change the way people communicate and share interests, values or concerns, it became a gold mine of customer intelligence and insight. The key to unlocking this intelligence is to understand engagement.
What is engagement? Engagement is a combination of how people interact with each other and content (viewing, posting, inviting, rating, etc.) and what causes people to change or define their behavior (how influential people or content are).
Engagement not only shows where people are spending their time, and what topics they are discussing and with whom, but also shows the degree and depth of customer-to-customer interactions. If ad placement is based on engagement, advertisers know that the advertising is more relevant to the people that see it because it is based on the topics and people that they engage with.
For advertisers and marketers, knowing facts about their audience before spending money on social media is a huge benefit. For example, if Nike notices that a large number of users on MySpace are engaging around a particular shoe model and that very few people are doing so on Facebook, it would make a lot more sense to spend more heavily on MySpace and know exactly where to place and direct that spend. This tactic uses engagement to ensure results, not just to measure them.
Marketers all acknowledge the importance of engagement. While the subjective aspects of the metric have yet to be defined, the factual elements taken from customer engagement provide the real value. Using engagement as a way to guide and predict your ad buy or marketing spend is a clear and simple method that leverages the customer intelligence that can be gained from engagement metrics. This intelligence can also help accurately inform the content and message of the resulting marketing collateral to ensure it resonates with the target audience.
Engagement is here to stay. Just like any new metric, it will take some time to take-hold and become fully standardized, but it is undeniably a multifaceted and powerful metric that can provide value to marketers throughout the marketing process – especially before it even starts.
About the Author:
Dan is the founder and CEO of Networked Insights, the leader in customer intelligence across social media. His 10 plus years of entrepreneurial, management and operational experience with technology companies, has given him the expertise in customer intelligence and experience with the challenges companies face in gathering relevant, real-time insights about their customers.
Before starting Networked Insights, Dan co-founded Market Performance Partners, which guided companies in market ownership through customer intelligence. Prior to that, he was the director of strategy at Scient, one of the fastest growing services company in history. Before Scient, Dan was part of the team that launched eSurance, the leading online insurance company.