There are lots of different metrics that can help us to understand how our content is performing. But, some metrics are far more insightful than others; they are the engagement metrics that share an insight into our audience's behavior beyond the download, subscribe or follow.
They help us to work out if people are actually consuming our content…in other words if they care and if they will go on to take the action that we desire.
This is incredibly important because it gives content creators the opportunity to grow and learn from these numbers. Nobody's perfect and there is always room for improvement. Engagement metrics just make it easier to pinpoint exactly what needs improving.
So, how do we find out whether our audience is listening, watching or reading all of our content? If clicks, views and downloads don’t tell us the whole story, what does?
I’m going to share the best engagement metrics for podcasts, video, social media and email. Once you have the important metrics, you can take steps to improve your content, focus on what your audience loves and even figure out what content to repurpose!
You can listen to the podcast episode below, or keep reading...
Why are engagement metrics important?
Follower, subscriber and download numbers are important but they tend to be vanity measures that don’t really tell us a lot about how our audience is behaving or how our content is performing.
Engagement metrics reveal detailed data about how and if our content is being consumed.
That's not to say that everything is determined by metrics, but they provide you with valuable information to point you in the right direction and tell you what’s working and what isn’t.
Your ultimate goal when it comes to content creation is most likely to gain a following, raise awareness, sell a service or product and help people. It can be difficult to know if you are hitting that goal just on vanity metrics like clicks, views and downloads. This is why engagement metrics are important, they help you to effectively set and achieve content goals.
In episode 87 I discussed metrics and other great ways to measure the effectiveness of your content repurposing. I mentioned how these metrics can tell you if people are truly consuming all of your content. Now it’s time to go more in-depth and discover what metrics apply to your content and how to check them.
Podcast engagement metrics
Did you know that podcast downloads aren’t the only metric you should be looking at? There are actually far more helpful statistics out there that will help you to determine how much of the podcast your audience are listening to, how loyal they are and so much more!
A subscriber to your podcast gets an auto-download onto their device as soon as a podcast episode is released. You don’t want to count every download as a listen as some people might only tune in for a few seconds whilst others might not listen at all!
So, you shouldn’t be so quick to count downloads as a metric of success because they don't tell you the full story.
Thankfully, using metrics can help you to work out if people listened to your podcast episode, and if so, how much of it.
Apple podcasts have an “Average Consumption” feature in their analytics. In order to access this, all you need to do is:
- Go to Apple Podcasts Connect
- Login with your Apple ID for your podcast
- Look at the metric that shows the % of the show people listened to (1%, 50%, 100% etc.)
Spotify has the same metric but calls it “Episode Performance” whilst Stitcher calls it “Average Completion Rate."
This metric is much more valuable than the number of people that downloaded your podcast. It goes beyond the download and tells you whether people think that your content is of high quality and whether they care enough to listen to an entire episode.
With the Content 10x Podcast I might not get thousands of downloads for every podcast episode I record, but these metrics show me that I have something to be proud of as my average consumption is very high.
Apple Podcasts Connect also offers users a listen duration tool. This allows you to see how long, per device, people are listening to your podcast.
Perhaps your audience all stopped listening at a similar point in the podcast. This suggests that maybe the episode suddenly went off topic or they felt like they weren't learning anything new. Either way, it’s easy to see just how valuable a metric like this is when it comes to analyzing the performance of your podcast.
Another great metric that tells you how loyal your subscribers are is looking at how many downloads you get within the first 7-30 days of your podcast going live. This tells you how quick people are to listen because they're invested in your show. If people are actively seeking out and listening to your podcast the day it goes live, you know that people are enjoying your content.
Video engagement metrics
If you are making video content, it’s awesome if you have loads of YouTube subscribers, but it’s more valuable to know the in-depth metrics concerning your subscribers' behaviour. You’ll want to look at both how many people are viewing your videos and how long they are watching for.
What are your audience retention statistics looking like? YouTube has a brilliant analytics section in Creator Studio which tells you everything you need to know. Whether it’s view duration or how many of your subscribers have their notification bell turned on!
If lots of your viewers are clicking off the video at exactly two minutes, maybe you suddenly veer off-topic? Or maybe you've edited in a transition that you think looks great but your audience finds really annoying? Perhaps your subscribers prefer shorter video content? This metric allows you to play around with your videos, change things up and see what your audience responds to.
The notification bell statistic can also tell you how engaged and loyal your subscribers are. If they have chosen to have the notification bell turned on, it means that they want to know as soon as you have uploaded a new video. This demonstrates that they are excited to view your content and don't want to miss anything. If this number is low, maybe take some time to think about why that could be.
This type of data gives you the opportunity to grow further and cater your videos to what your audience wants and enjoys.
Social media engagement metrics
With social media, it’s possible to grow a large following with little engagement. This tends to be thanks to lots of fake “spam” accounts following you which are essentially run by bots.
You need to focus on growing an audience who truly care about what you have to say.
Always keep in mind on both social media and other content based platforms, a small highly engaged audience is much better than a large disengaged audience.
So, which metrics are important to look out for on social media?
On Facebook, you can find your metrics on the insights tab whilst on Twitter they are located on Twitter Analytics. For Instagram, you will need to make sure your account is registered as a business profile in order to check up on your metrics.
Engagement is the most important metric to track to see if your audience is consuming your content. This includes anything from comments to likes, retweets, shares and clicks.
The engagement metric reveals exactly how your audience is responding to the content you are sharing on social media. If you are getting a lot of likes and comments, people are obviously very interested in the topic and like your posts. Even better, if you get a lot of link click-throughs, people are likely listening, watching or reading what you have to say and following your call to action.
You can reaffirm your social media metric findings by then taking a look at the podcast, video or blog in question. If those metrics reflect the same as social media, it is clear that the clicks are converting into views etc.
As you can see, knowing these metrics gives you a much clearer direction. When you know what your audience thinks, it makes it much easier to improve!
Email engagement metrics
I think you might have noticed a running theme with this post...it doesn’t matter how many people are subscribed to your emails, because your email open rates tell you far more.
Or in other words, it’s great to have a big email list, but if hardly anyone opens your emails…not so great!
The percentage of people who open your emails and respond to the call to action shows how many people care what you have to say.
It’s worth experimenting with your emails as it could be the subject line that's putting people off. Maybe the copy in the email isn't resonating with the reader or the topic isn’t relevant or interesting to them? Try mixing things up. You could add emojis to the subject line or a header image to the main body of the text. Consider split-testing with and without images to see if that increases your open rate or click-throughs.
When checking these metrics, it’s a good idea to remove anyone from your email list who never open your emails. Yes, this will make your list smaller but at least you will have a smaller list full of people who are engaged.
If you are trying to determine whether your content is working for your audience, you should be tracking your metrics so you can make informed decisions.
Just remember to look at the right metrics. Vanity metrics such as followers and downloads don’t tell you nearly as much as the more detailed engagement statistics on offer.
Now it’s your turn! How will you use metrics to measure whether your audience is actually consuming your content?
Don't be afraid to experiment. You have the opportunity to play around with your content and truly tap into what your audience wants to see from you.