Measuring Engagement Online: The Next Stage
Published by Eric T. Peterson on March 10, 2008.
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In the last few months there has been a tremendous surge in interest in my framework for measuring engagement online. Lately, some of the largest and well-known companies in the world have approached me about working with them to bridge the gap between the metrics they have today and something similar to the composite metric I first described back in December 2006.
While I am tremendously flattered that I have somehow become the focal point for this conversation, I have been thinking lately about how the framework has been developed and how it might end up being used by the measurement industry in general. And while early tests using the framework I’ve described are very encouraging, the calculation in it’s current state was meant to move the discussion along and get more people to “think different” about how engagement could be calculated online.
Given that interest in the framework has clearly increased, one primary concern comes up again and again: the need to apply mathematical rigor to the framework and calculation so that A) the result is repeatable, reliable, and trustworthy and B) when naysayers inevitably emerge to criticize this small side project of mine, that I have a suitable response to their criticism, regardless of where and why it comes.
I believe that the need for “A” is obvious. The need to address “B” is perhaps less obvious, but I believe that I owe it to those of you who are investing your time, energy, and money into this framework. Especially as the stakes seem to increase exponentially with every presentation, every conversation, and every high-visibility blog post on the subject, I believe now is the time to approach the engagement framework not just as a hobby but as a serious project with committed resources.
To this end, I am extraordinarily happy to say that the single smartest person I know, Joseph Carrabis the Founder and Chief Research Officer of NextStage Evolution and NextStage Global, has offered to bring mathematical rigor and analytical precision to what I am officially dubbing “The Engagement Project.” Those of you not familiar with Joseph and his work are advised to A) meet him in person at the upcoming Emetrics Summit in San Francisco or B) read some of his recent work at iMedia Connection.
Joseph will be working to make the formula universally applicable and universally defensible. Suffice to say I can think of nobody better to bring mathematical and scientific rigor to the framework I have been evolving over the past year. Watch this blog and Joseph’s blog at BizMediaScience over the next week or so for a more complete analysis of the framework in it’s current state, something we’ve agreed is the first step towards creating a true function capable practically describing the degree and depth of engagement a visitor is displaying towards a web site over time.
At the end of the day, without regard to my framework, Joseph’s analysis, or any person or group’s particular position on the use of the word “engagement”, my goal is to solve one problem and one problem only:
If you’re interested in working with Joseph and me on The Engagement Project please feel free to contact me directly.
About Eric T. Peterson
Eric T. Peterson is the founder of Web Analytics Demystified, Inc. and the author of Web Analytics Demystified, Web Site Measurement Hacks, and The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators. Mr. Peterson frequently presents on web analytics, is often cited in articles about digital measurement, and has been blogging on the subject since 2004.
Want to speak with Eric? Contact Web Analytics Demystified