User engagement is the key. We have heard this phrase millions of times so far. But this is not always true. User engagement is important only when it is profitable. Yes you heard it right. I am talking about Profitable User Engagement. A profitable engagement is an engagement which leads to goal conversions or e-commerce transactions or both.
Let’s say you have been running a Facebook campaign for the last three months. As a result you have been getting a lot of engaged visitors on your website. User engagement is increasing month after month in terms of large volume of social shares, high average visit duration and high pages/visit on your website. But still your conversions are going down month after month. What could be the reason? Well one reason could be that your user engagement is turning into distraction. This is the distraction which is causing people not to convert on your website.
“When a user engagement negatively correlates with conversion then the engagement becomes distraction.“
Following is an example of distraction:
The avg. visit duration is increasing over time but the goal conversion rate is going down. Following is another example of distraction:
Pages/visit is increasing over time but the Goal conversion rate is going down. Now what can be the cause of such distraction? This distraction can be due to several reasons:
1. We are engaging more with random people than our target audience. This can happen in case of poorly targeted campaigns.
2. Our content strategy does not align well with our business goals. We are developing and marketing contents which have nothing to do with the products/services we sell. For example you sell shoes but you created and promoted an infographic on ‘beer consumption in New York city. This infographic went viral and as a result you got lot of engaged visits on your website. But since this infographic has nothing to do with what you sell, it didn’t result in any sales.
3. The user engagement overshadows our ‘call to action’. This happens more often than we think. For example you put a very entertaining video on your landing page. Now this video is so engaging that people watch the video, share it with others and then bounce from the page. In other words the video is causing a distraction from your call to action and that is why people don’t convert. Videos generally improve conversions but sometimes they can also break conversions. So we need to determine whether the visitors’ engagement is truly an engagement or it is a distraction.
4.Website is not optimized for conversions. If there is no prominent call to action on your landing page then people may not convert even after engaging with your website. There could also be credibility issues and other conversion issues with your landing pages.
5. Bounce rate does not correlate well with conversions – This can happen when our bounce rate calculations are faulty. We should not count visits with conversion as bounce even if the visits are single page visits. I have talked about faulty bounce rate calculations in great detail in this post: The Geek guide to Determining and Reporting the Real Bounce Rate
Now it is your turn. How do you separate user engagement from distraction? Please share your views and insights.