stuff I‘m reading…

Four Different Ways Of Looking At Engagement

by David Baker , Monday, February 4, 2008 


WHAT DOES ENGAGEMENT REALLY MEAN to an interactive marketer? This is the theme of our monthly newsletter (internal) from several of our thought leaders in search, business intelligence, advance optimization — and, of course, email eolutions (my group). 


SEO sees engagement as the balance of building a site that is SEO friendly yet with enough creativity and content that engages the consumer. The group talks about Web 2.0 and the use of blogs and forums as means of building keyword density or visibility to your site. They’ll talk about SEO-friendly blogs like Google Blogger, Social Bookmarking: Digg Delicious, Reddit and Stumpleupon. They’ll speak of microsites and the use of “unbranded” keywords and how important they can be in link building. Also, how content from RSS feeds can be picked up by search engines, allowing multiple URLs to be crawled at once. They’ll talk about how companies are posting newsletters online these days as a means of adding indexable pages to their site. They’ll talk about how Flash and Ajax are great content presenters, but how little value they bring to your sites ranking, since the rich pages aren’t indexable. 


The Advanced Optimization group sees engagement as the means of building an optimized “path” for the consumer to complete their task. Akin to user experience, but in a measurable way of testing landing pages, looking at path completion, form abandonment, and multivariate means of testing many elements along a single task. 


The Business Intelligence group sees engagement as a method to behaviorally target a site experience and serve ads based on where you’ve been and what you’ve done. Engagement is not just about your site, it’s about how people are exposed to your brand, business, and interactions on third-party sites as well. They’ll speak about how you can measure site recency, frequency of visitation, pathing, visitation to key sections, purchases, downloads, session time and registrations and downloads. They’ll talk about the art of understanding the customer state, test and control segmentation, creative optimization based on these interactions and how you should look at this past shear acquisition to the repeat site visitor in building onsite and on-network persistency to your brand and message through proper targeting. 


The Email Solutions group, (my group) sees engagement as a means of building a connection between the consumer and your business. If I hear “send the right message at the right time to the right person” one more time, I’ll take CRM out of my professional vocabulary. Engagement isn’t just about message timing or targeting, it’s about behaviorally understanding what connections your prospect, customer or business partner can possibly have with your brand through the email channel and the influence of each. 


Your challenge, from a business perspective, is how to monetize this and understand how much stimuli and enticement is needed to create the most value for the consumer and your business. It’s a value exchange. It includes all the elements listed by the other channels; building great sites, ensuring a consumer can find your site, enabling the social need to share content and experiences, fostering the conversion path so it’s a seamless experience, while building marketing programs that optimize every interaction on and off site. 


When collectively discussed, engagement seems so reasonable and attainable. If we all end with the same conclusion of what engagement means, then why do so many interactive strategies have so few connections between the channels? If you are confused as a marketer, imagine how confused your consumer will be, with disparate experiences that don’t build on each other. 


Post your response to the public Email Insider blog. 


See what others are saying on the Email Insider blog. 

David Baker is vice president of email solutions at Avenue A/Razorfish. Visit his blog at 

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