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Engagement Metrics: The Key to Success in a Cookie-less World

Insights / 01.19.2023
India Upton / Paid Media Strategist

With the onslaught of additional privacy measures like those seen in iOS 14.5, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, and CCPA, plus the deprecation of third-party cookies, marketers are turning to tools like Google Analytics and G4 to gather valuable information on their audience. These tools unlock engagement metrics that allow you to fill in user journey gaps, as visibility into users’ online behavior becomes less and less accessible. These metrics are your ticket to optimizing the user experience and, ultimately, outperforming the competition. Want to learn more about how these 9 engagement metrics can change the game? Keep reading. 

1. Page views

This is the most basic engagement metric. It measures an instance of a user visiting a single page on a website, including any load, re-load, or revisit of a single page. 

Use it to: Inform landing page quality. Review the pages viewed to see what content the user engaged with and where they ended their journey. For example, if you know that users who visit page X and Y are more likely to convert, then it’s worth evaluating what percentage of your traffic is visiting these pages. This will help when you have a high CPA and low CPC. If 1 in 200 people convert, you’ll want to get a better understanding of what happens to the other 199. These Engaged Users/Consideration Visits let you evaluate the quality of your traffic and compare it to those coming from Non-Branded Search, Google Display, Meta, TikTok, and more. 

2. Average time on site

This measures the average length of user sessions on your website. A low average session duration may indicate that your website content, design, or product offering is failing to engage your users — causing them to drop off completely. 

Use it to: Spot a snag in the user journey. Combine your average time on page and average session duration on individual pages to go deeper. You might notice that a person spent a long time on the site, but for individual pages, the duration of time is low, and the exit rate high. This will help pinpoint a spot in the user journey that needs to be optimized. 

3. Pages per session

This engagement metric, also called Page Views Per Session, is the count of a website's total page views divided by the total number of sessions that have taken place. 

Use it to: Inform landing page quality. If your pages per session number is low, it’s a strong indicator that your page content isn’t inspiring users to keep clicking through, meaning you’re not providing them with an engaged or intuitive experience. 

4. Bounce rate

This engagement metric measures the percentage of visitors who leave a website without performing a single action, such as clicking on a link, filling out a form, or making a purchase. 

Use it to: Inform landing page quality. Monitor bounce rate to understand how quickly users are exiting the site. Too often, platform metrics are used to identify quality of traffic — but not every click is created equal. Bounce rate (depending on your site) will give you a good indication of whether people are actually engaging with your website or not. For example, if your website has a funnel, and we have a $1 CPC with a 75% bounce rate, the cost for an unbounced user is $4. If you’re paying $2 with a 40% bounce rate, your cost per unbounced user will be $3.33, and so forth. 

5. New visitor sessions

This engagement metric, also called New User Sessions, measures the number of new visitors who click to your website.  

Use it to: Determine if your marketing strategy is successfully attracting potential net-new customers. 

6. Returning users

The returning users metric gives you the number of visitors who have already been to your website within a certain timeframe and have started another session using the same browser, on the same device.  

Use it to: Inform top-of-funnel marketing. If you have a high number of returning users, that suggests your top of the funnel marketing and your organic marketing are building loyal visitors and potential customers. This is important to measure as we evaluate customer loyalty and the power of marketing initiatives. Additionally, return visitors are important because they have a much higher probability of converting on a site.  

7. Exit rate

This metric, also known as Exit Page, tells you the total number of users who exit your website from a particular web page, calculated as a percentage. 

Use it to: Gauge conversions. For example, if the number is high for your thank you page, that’s a positive, because it means customers are buying your product or service. On the other hand, if the exit rate is high for your checkout page, that means leads aren’t converting and you should find out why they’re dropping off. 

8. Scroll depth

This is how far down a page a user scrolls after reaching the site. It’s measured in either percentage or pixels. If the value of the vertical scroll depth is 25%, that means the user scrolled 25% of the page, top to bottom. 

Use it to: Inform landing page quality: Monitor scroll depth to determine how much content a user is absorbing. For example, let's say that a user is served a display ad. Then, when they reach the site, they spend 45 seconds and then exit without viewing other pages. Scroll depth will tell you how much of the content they viewed, helping to determine if that click was quality or not. Additionally, this can tell you if you should move important information up on a page. 

9. Micro-conversion actions

These are small actions, secondary to your KPIs, that users take. Think of these as steps toward the main (macro) conversion. This will help you understand a user’s initial interest in the product or service. 

Use it to: Improve remarketing tacticsTrack CTA clicks on your landing page to see which users have a high level of intent. Then compare to the number of submitted conversions, to track fall-off and optimize the experience to encourage conversions. 

Whether you’re working in Google Analytics or GA4, the engagement metrics you choose to track will vary depending on an advertiser's business, and your goals. For example, a makeup brand running an awareness campaign may focus on page views and session duration, while a doctor’s office would be more concerned with lead form views and conversions. 

Questions? Red door has you covered. Our team of analytics experts are here to answer your questions on engagement metrics — no matter how complex. Contact us today. 

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