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Understanding Digital Customer Engagement on a Physical Level
Mark Ryan / ClickZ / June 26, 2013
When trying to understand customers’ interactions with the digital channel, many marketers and sales teams throw around the term “engagement.” They are typically measuring tactical data such as time on site, products viewed per session, and, at the very basic level, clicks per session. This poses an interesting challenge: visitors focused on finding a specific piece of information often rapidly click through multiple pages of a website without ever reading anything. They may have viewed many products, or spent a good amount of time on the site, clicking on many links during the process. These users appear engaged without actually being engaged. To overcome this obstacle, some sites have started to put more attention on data points such as time on page and scroll tracking to better understand engagement. But even these data points don’t paint a clear enough picture of whether or not your content or functionality is interesting enough to keep a customer’s attention.
Tracking Physical Interaction With a Site Provides Better Insight Into Customer Engagement
For laptop and desktop users, tracking mouse movement and scrolling with heat maps adds a critical perspective to understanding physical interaction with a page. Now, there is much healthy debate over how closely mouse movement correlates with other levels of engagement such as eye movement. But, it is safe to say that someone who is actively moving her mouse around your page, hovering over critical elements of the page, and scrolling down the page is actually looking at the page and interpreting the elements of the page. She is actually engaged.
Tracking physical engagement gets more exciting with smartphones and tablets, as the touchscreens offer a variety of ways to track visitors’ fingers on a web page. Tracking movements such as changes in device orientation, multi-finger pinches (zooming), and swiping fingers across the screen gives site owners an accurate understanding of how engaged visitors view, as well as interact with page information. Mobile sites that track location multiple times per session can report on how much the visitor is in physical motion (e.g., walking, riding, etc.) while surfing a site. While web browsers don’t currently offer any ability to gather tracking data from the accelerometer or gyroscope, native mobile applications do allow the tracking of tilt, angle, direction, rotation, or vibration of the device. This physical interaction can then be sent back to an analytics tracking application such as Google Analytics and can show even greater context of how engaged a visitor is.