Robert Scoble – who still matters, even though he’s left Microsoft – makes an interesting point about ‘engagement’. All the talk these days is about it. Yet there’s no easy way to measure it. He offers a few interesting numbers as a starting point, though:
When the Register links to us we get almost no traffic. But they claim to have millions of readers. Compare that to Digg. How many people hang out there every day? Maybe a million, but probably less. Yet if you get linked to from Digg you’ll see 30,000 to 60,000 people show up. And these people don’t just read. They get involved. Yesterday Buzz Bruggeman CEO of Active Words, was driving me around and told the story of when he was in USA Today. He got 32 downloads. When he got linked to by my blog? Got about 400.
It’s another nail in the coffin of straightforward hit counting. The e-commerce world had to realise this long ago, but it’s much easier for them – since ‘engagement’ in their world equals sales. All today’s coverage of Amazon’s results is about profits and profit margins. I don’t see anyone talking about the number of hits – and why should they? Assuming every website has a purpose, we need to remember that we should be measuring performance against that purpose… and nothing else.