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Ask the Expert: Web Analytics

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What is the basic definition of “engagement”? Peterson defines engagement as an estimate of the degree and depth of visitor interaction on the site against a clearly defined set of goals. What constitutes an engaged visitor? According to Peterson, visitors who are consuming content slowly and methodically, and returning directly to the site, are well-engaged. Visitors who have also subscribed to some type of “push” feed are more engaged, and even more so if they've returned to the site recently. Key actions by engaged users include: * The visitor views “critical” content on the Web site. * The visitor has returned to the Web site recently. * Some high percentage of the visitor's sessions are “long” sessions. * The visitor is subscribed to at least one available site feed. What is measured in the engagement metric? Peterson's engagement metric includes session-based indices such as click-depth, recency, duration, brand, feedback and interaction activities, plus measures of loyalty and subscription. Peterson writes: “I agree with other analysts and bloggers who insightfully say that there is no single calculation of engagement useful for all sites, but I do believe my model is robust and useful with only slight modification across a wide variety of sites. The calculation needs to be made over the lifetime of visitor sessions to the site and also accommodate different time spans.” What's next with Engagement Project? Originally launched in 2006, the Engagement Project aims to develop a mathematical formula that takes into account all the elements of Web site engagement and can deliver a score that can compare one site's engagement level with another site's. The project has picked up speed in recent weeks. Peterson is now focused on the need to apply mathematical rigor to the framework and calculation so that the result is repeatable, reliable and trustworthy. The latest work can be seen at blog.webanalyticsdemystified.com. M
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