Why Engaged Time Matters More Than Pageviews

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Let’s face it: not all website traffic is not created equal. Is the content you’re creating on behalf of your clients “sticky” with the right audience? The only way to know the answer is to measure engaged time. Unfortunately, most ad agencies still rely on page views as the primary metric for determining whether or not their content is successful. Engaged time is the best metric for accurately evaluating traffic quality and the impact of your content. Page views only provide a superficial measurement of content buzz. While both can be beneficial metrics for assessing content performance, at the end of the day, engaged time trumps page views every time– and this metric should be incorporated into your next marketing project creative brief accordingly. Here’s why.

Engaged Time Versus Page View: What’s the Difference?

Let’s say you’re throwing a blowout surprise birthday party your best friend. How would you measure the success of the party? Getting folks to the door is just the first step. You’ll care a lot more about how long guests stayed (a quick 15 min hello or closing down the party at 2am?), what guests did (dance the night away or hide behind a potted plant?), and how much fun the guests had (sulk silently on the sofa or laugh until everyone started crying?). The same goes for measuring the success of your content marketing. Readers who don’t engage represent missed opportunities. You spend a lot of time, energy and resources to bring these readers to a site. Engaged time is the metric that tells you whether all this effort was ultimately worth it.

How is “Engaged Time” Different From “Time on Page”?

“Time on Page” refers to how long a visitor spends on a particular URL on your site. While that information alone is useful, it’s also pretty superficial. “Time on Page” does not tell you whether visitors are actively engaged with the content or even how far they read. Generally, if a visitor spends a lot of time on a page, this behavior suggests that the content is engaging and informative. But we don’t know why. Engaged time provides deeper insight. Traditional analytics have always been pretty good at measuring website traffic, but quantifying actual user engagement has been a lot trickier. If engaged time is low, that’s an important metric to know: low engaged time could mean the headline is out of step with the content, the tone of the article is off, the format is off (e.g., bulleted/numbered text versus wordier posts), or that the article simply isn’t reaching the right audience.

Next Steps: How to Measure Engaged Time

Services like ChartBeat make it easy for agencies to track and measure the second-by-second attention span of visitors and drive the right readers to engaging content time and time again. Even if you don’t use one of these platforms, at the very least, start thinking about how engaged time

erin mErin M ghostwrites extensively on behalf of B2B companies to support their content marketing and thought leadership campaigns, and her clients range from major Fortune 500 companies to small business startups. When not crafting custom content solutions for her clients, you can find her adding stamps to her passport, scuba diving, or perfecting her secret cheesecake recipe.

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