Website engagement, or user engagement, at the most basic level, is how website visitors interact with your website or social media platforms, as opposed to immediately clicking back to the search engine results page (SERP) or otherwise exiting in search of a better source.
It’s important to your online marketing efforts because first and foremost, Google and other search engines aim to serve their customers – the people who are searching for information, things to buy, directions, and so on. That means if searchers are repeatedly visiting your site but quickly coming back because they’re not finding what they’re looking for, the search engines will eventually lower your rank in search in favor of something that better suits the user’s intent and need.
A lot of user engagement can take place off your site. Valuable engagement comes from:
- Linking to your content
- Sharing your content to social media channels
- Driving traffic to your website
- Encouraging users to interact in other ways
Inbound links to your content from another website remain a top ranking factor. When someone links to your content, they find it useful and authoritative enough to share it with their audience, which Google and other search engines consider kind of like a vote of confidence.
Though social media shares don’t directly affect SEO, it makes it easier to drive more traffic to your site, which encourages more visitors, links, and conversion.
Sharing, liking, commenting, and subscribing to your content are types of user engagement that occur off-site, but still benefits your digital presence.
8 Types of User Engagement
The metrics for user engagement don’t have any direct influence on your search engine ranking, but they are important to monitor so you have an idea of how users are behaving on your site.
These numbers provide an idea of how well users are engaging with your content and site. When it comes to these metrics, however, there’s no “good” or “bad.” It’s the trends and anomalies that you need to watch.
1. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
CTR is the base level of engagement that has to happen before any other engagement occurs. For a good CTR, you must have good SEO in place so that you rank on the first page of SERPs and give searchers what they’re looking for.
Beyond quality content, you’ll need to focus on crafting descriptive and enticing titles and meta descriptions so users are more likely to click through to your site.
Want to know where you should start making improvements? Look in Google Search Console for pages and keywords with high impressions, but low clicks.
2. Time on Site
Time on site, or your average session duration, let you see how long users spend on your website. There is no good or bad number here, but you should be tracking the trend over time. Look at how your sessions duration changes as you implement some of the user engagement tactics we’ll discuss below. If you start personalizing your website:
Does your time on site increase because users have a reason to stay longer?
Or does it decrease because the personalization isn’t as targeted as your users want it to be?
In Google Analytics, navigate to Audience > Overview to get a picture of how many total page views your site has received in the given timeframe.
With this metric, you’ll see multiple views of a single page. Watch for fluctuations – up or down – to determine if engagement is drastically changing.
4. New vs. Returning Users
You’ll find this report under Audience > Overview. You’ll see a pie chart with new vs. returning visitors. New visitors are great, because it’s crucial to have new people on your site discovering what you have to offer.
You want those people to potentially convert and you want them to come back as returning visitors. That’s why it’s so important to watch the balance of new vs. returning visitors. After you have established a baseline, you’ll be able to see how and when the balance changes. Returning users are engaged users.
5. Top Content
You will find the Top Content report under Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.this will tell you which pages are pieces of content on your site that users are engaging with the most for your selected. Of time. Check weekly for changes in these pages.
Pay attention to how many pages climb in the ranks to perform well. Make sure that you’re mean pages that have always drawn most of your visitor’s attention and kept users on the site for a long time are not dropping for any reason.
6. Bounce Rate
You’ll find this report in Audience > Overview. As with time on site, there is no good or bad answer when it comes to bounce rate. Your bounce rate is influenced by your business model, your content types, your website gold, and more.
If your goal is to truly serve the users’ needs, then someone clicking to your site, reading an article that gives them the answer they need, and clicking away is exactly what is supposed to happen. If they are looking for something quick or you’re confident doesn’t take long to read, then you may notice a higher bounce rate as your baseline.
That’s why it’s important to track trends. Any major drops in bounce rate or jumps can tell you that something is off with your analytics installation but it can also indicate if users are taking the time to engage with your content.
7. Goal Tracking
You can set up goals in Google Analytics, depending on what action you want users to take and count as a conversion. It’s easy to get caught up in tracking your end goals such as phone calls or email sign-ups but it’s crucial for your user engagement to track micro conversions that help move users through the funnel.
8. Social Interaction
Social media interaction is another crucial form of user engagement that you’ll want to keep an eye on. Pay attention to how many people are following you, liking your content, sharing your content and you taking the time to comment on it. Be sure to reciprocate that engagement as it helps to build relationships with your followers and potential customers.
7 Ways to Increase User Engagement with Examples
1. Use Website Personalization
Digital marketing agencies have to be at the forefront of new strategies if they want to attract and retain customers.
One of our clients, KlientBoost, used our Experiences + Clearbit products to personalize their sites to the visitors company. This included showing the customers logo, merge tags, and targeted offers. In the end, compliant boost saw an 11% increase in proposals and created fans of their brand.
Another example of a personalized mock-up comes for our client Textedly. They are an SMS marketing automation software. As you can see here, we personalized their landing pages with merge tags and industry.
2. Use Social Proof on Your Website
The human brain takes in so much information on a daily basis, it uses a series of shortcuts, better known as heuristics, to help make decisions. Social proof, or proof that others have done something, encourages people to do the same.
Social proof comes in various forms – celebrity endorsements, user reviews, customer testimonials, and so on. Adding it to your website tells potential customers that everyone else is doing it, so they should, too.
And not to brag, but our data shows that across 20,000 websites, adding Pulse increases conversions by an average of 10 to 15%.
3. Keep Your Design Clean
Your website design needs to be as user-friendly as possible. If you make it too hard for people to navigate, or build a homepage that hurts the eyes, you’ll have a hard time getting any potential customers.
Webflow makes it easy to build a website with a clear navigation menu and plenty of white space to draw the eyes to what you want people to see. If you want to see how a change in your design affects your engagement rate, you can use a/b testing to serve two (or more) versions of your website to your audience randomly using Experiences. Then, take note of what happens with the analytics. If you notice high bounce rates compared to what you had before, then you know the change wasn’t a positive one for your audience.
While you focus on your design, remember that it should be built with mobile devices in mind, and the load time should be as fast as possible. If a page is slow to load, many people won’t stick around to engage with it – no matter how awesome it is once it’s loaded.
Recently, Proof’s website was featured as number one on Webflow’s list of 33 examples of highly effective SaaS website designs. Check it out all 33 for some inspiration!
4. Write More Engaging Content
Boring content will send your prospects running to the closest competitor they can find. Learn as much as you can about your audience as this will help you know how to write content that speaks to them.
Whether you write it yourself or pay someone to do it for you, the resulting content needs to:
- Create a sense of urgency
- Be clear and concise
- Build an emotional connection
- Feature a clear call to action (CTA) – literally tell your prospects the action you want them to take next (you may be surprised at how much of a difference it makes.)
- Use internal linking to connect related content to keep your audience on your site longer
Higher quality content also makes your content marketing efforts easier, since people are more inclined to share content they find to be of value to their audience – whether it originates from their site or not.
5. Harness the Power of Dynamic CTAs
If you want someone to do something, you have to be clear about what you want them to do, but sometimes, a one-size-fits-all approach to your CTA isn’t the best way to go. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
ProfitWell used our Experiences product to craft a series of personalized, dynamic CTAs on their blog posts. As a result, they say a 162% increase in blog leads.
6. Use a Chat Box
Make it easier for your users to connect with you and find the information they’re looking for. Offering a live chat with a chatbot can go a long way toward improving your user experience. People can ask questions and get information automatically, but the longer they engage with the chat, the longer they’re on your site.
7. Offer Recommended Content
To keep your users on your site longer and help them learn more about your product or service, take a cue from Amazon and offer content recommendations to other relevant content based on what page the user is on. This could be product recommendations for e-commerce pages, or related posts on blog post pages. One of the best ways to do this is to use popups with a scroll trigger.
Engaging users on your site is the first step toward turning visitors to paying customers. Keeping them engaged after they convert moves them to brand ambassadors who promote you to their friends and family.