Customer engagement is the oil that powers the marketing machine. And as any wildcatter will tell you, you don’t get a gusher if you can’t tap the well properly. So let's talk about how to tap into customer engagement data.
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement marketing is an emotional connection or relationship between a brand and its customer. Brands achieve this through experiences and interactions that build trust, loyalty, and advocacy. These interactions can be a short conversation, a direct transaction, content download, and more across multiple channels.
Typical engagement channels include:
- Omnichannel interactions
- In-person communication
- Mobile channels
- Broadcast media
- Written communication
- Digital or electronic communication
- Reach and activation campaign activity
- Rewards programs
- Loyalty programs
To measure customer engagement effectively, you need a way to collect data from each channel. Then you need to aggregate it to see the effect of integrated, omnichannel campaigns. See also these 4 examples of customer engagement campaigns.
What Do You Measure Customer Engagement Against?
You must measure customer engagement against specific goals and/or benchmarks to extract meaningful insights. These will vary by your industry, type of campaign, and the metric you’re measuring.
You can set your customer engagement goals against:
- Your competitors and market leaders
- Previous marketing campaigns
- Campaign forecasting and projections
The key is to use data to set your goals and make them S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound). Don’t trust your gut.
Snipp Tip: Segment your customer engagement goals by channel to understand the effectiveness of your customer journeys. You can always aggregate those numbers at the end if you need a big picture view.
How to Measure Customer Engagement
Measuring customer engagement involves tracking the number of people who interact with your brand over a certain period across all touchpoints. Timing is key. You need to ensure you distribute surveys at a time when your customers are most likely to engage with them. Measure digital metrics at consistent intervals (weekly or monthly) to build a solid dataset.
Measuring Customer Engagement with Surveys
The simple act of completing a survey is a positive customer engagement data point. But there are ways to structure questions so that you extract even more value.
“Your customers' opinions and feedback are two of the most important factors that validate important decisions within your business, catalyzing your business’s sustainability and growth.”
Unlike customer experience surveys that ask questions like “how happy are you with [product name]?” and “how would you rate the support you received?”, customer engagement surveys should focus on your channels, reach, and activation.
Examples of customer engagement survey questions
- How did you first hear about us?
- Do you prefer to shop online or in person?
- How likely are you to use [promotion/coupon reward]?
Customer Engagement Metrics
You can measure customer engagement metrics with a variety of tools. You'll find some in your website’s CMS or social media account management dashboard. While others, such as social listening tools and omnichannel marketing analytics, are available from third-party SaaS solutions. But, more commonly, they’re already built into your chosen martech applications.
The use of applications on mobile devices has become a popular method of putting brands in people’s hands. Analysis of the application’s activity can offer key engagement insights such as the number of downloads and statistics that indicate usage and behavior.
You can also speak with each app user directly with push notifications. These ongoing communications let you stay active in their minds and provide reasons to return with promotions and updates.
Social Media Engagement
Social media plays a significant role in customer engagement. It allows you to plug into customers at the journey level to get a sense of how they perceive your brand. Shares, likes, and comments to social media content indicate the impact of that activity on engagement.
Website Engagement Analysis
One of the many benefits of a website is that the behavior of visitors can be recorded, monitored, and tracked as first-party data. There a several website metrics that can reflect specific behaviors. These include:
- Bounce rate. You can use bounce rate to determine how capable your website is at keeping customers engaged. The higher the bounce rate, the worse the engagement.
- Website traffic. Through this metric, you can understand how many people access your website and determine whether this channel is providing the value it should.
- Pages per session. This metric is based on the average number of web pages a visitor will view per session. It shows you how engaged a visitor is with your site.
- Returning user frequency. This metric determines how many visitors have been on your website before, which allows you to identify how loyal your customers are.
The Customer Engagement Score (CES)
Some organizations find it useful to translate customer engagement data into a scoring system. Customer engagement scores (CES) coalesce all your metrics into a single number for each customer. If you utilize segmentation in your marketing, you can use customer engagement scores as a benchmark.
Here’s how to create your own CES system:
1. Identify Customer Engagement Touchpoints
The first step should be simple. Review your upcoming campaign and note every customer touchpoint – every opportunity a customer has to engage with your brand.
2. Assign a Value to Each Engagement Touchpoint Event
You must assign a value to every customer action, from liking posts and opening emails to speaking with your team in-store. Most businesses use a 0-100 value range and weight lower to the funnel events (e.g., downloading content or visiting a supplier store) higher than higher funnel events (e.g., liking a post, viewing a billboard).
3. Compute Your Score
At the end of your campaign, or when a customer reaches the end of their journey, add up the values of each touchpoint event to calculate your score.
“One key benefit is that a customer engagement score allows you to look at just one number, instead of many different data points, and immediately measure a customer’s interactions with your company. It also makes it very easy to see the impact of customer marketing, engagement, and success programs, as well as onboarding and free trial strategies.”
Hazards to Avoid When Measuring Customer Engagement
Poorly Defined Goals
We’ve spoken to several organizations that struggle to nail down the tangibles of seemingly nebulous marketing activity. But be assured – while customer engagement may appear subjective, there are clear metrics that you can follow to improve engagement and demonstrate ROI.
Set clear benchmarks and long-term customer engagement objectives in your strategy. This will make it much easier to plan and adjust metrics to meet your goals.
Prioritizing Experience Over Engagement
Customer experience and customer engagement are intrinsically linked. But to assess the effectiveness of your engagement strategies, you need to split them up.
One of the biggest pitfalls to measuring customer engagement is spending too much time looking at the effect of your activity (the experience the customer has), rather than its delivery method (how you engaged the customer).
Not Enough Qualitative Data
When you only focus on numbers, you may not know how positively your touchpoints are received. Sure, they engaged, but why? If 79% of your customers feel like your hotel looks after them, but you don't know why, you don't necessarily know how to improve. So, make a point to include qualitative measurements in your customer engagement strategy. You can collect qualitative measurements through customer surveys or simply reading the comments.
Gallup cites an example where researchers conducted targeted interviews and real-time observations of hotel guests to understand how they recognize when they feel a sense of well-being. This study uncovered attributes the hotel couldn't glean from a dashboard report or email survey: The scent of the lobby -- and the confidence exhibited by the receptionist -- lowered customers' anxiety at check-in and instilled a sense of well-being.
Tracking customer engagement metrics isn’t a one-off project. You can’t do it infrequently because things change fast. If left unchecked, it can have a detrimental effect on your customer engagement goals down the road.
This is why you should engage with your customers regularly. It allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of how your customers feel about your business.
3 Big Snipp Tips for Measuring Customer Engagement
1. Measure at the Journey Level
No single metric confirms the success of an ad or campaign. So don’t just look at transactional touchpoints or overall engagement metrics. You need a mixture of metrics that you can only extract at the journey level.
2. Invest in Tech
High-quality data is essential to improving customer engagement. Therefore, every business needs a way to capture customer feedback daily from multiple channels and integrate all data points into comprehensive, role-specific dashboards.
3. Make it Scalable
Customer engagement analysis must have a consistent methodology and output across your organization. So once you’ve developed an effective measurement process, you need to make sure you can easily scale it across your business.
Put Some Hi-Octane Fuel into Your Customer Engagement Strategies
While surveys continue to play a valuable role in customer engagement measurements, a combination of methods, supported by tech allows us to extract richer insights to fuel our marketing engines.
So, now you know the secret to measuring customer engagement, you can start sinking holes into audience sentiment, social media interactions, and user frequency to strike it rich in data.