What data tell us about audience engagement on station sites

Mar 6, 2017

We spend a lot of time talking about user engagement, how to measure it and how to encourage it. We want to be sure that our content reaches the right audience, but when much of our audience only interacts with a single page how do we know that we are encouraging the right behaviors to build audience and membership? For each page a user sees we have a chance to encourage them to interact with our content but a single page of viewing only gives us one chance to capture their attention.

If we know that the chances are strong that they will only take a single action, we should focus on making sure that action is the one which is most likely to bring users back to the site and keep them on the path to loyalty and membership. Right now, we produce quality content that reaches lots of people, but few of them return and even fewer use our sites on a regular basis. Let’s focus on understanding which things bring users back and start them down the path.

Looking at the retention rate for different sources of traffic and different user actions allowed us to better understand how likely a user was to come back based on how they were interacting with the site. If we can encourage the right behaviors we may have a better chance of fostering engagement over time. In the graph below we see that users who share on social media are much more likely to return to the site a weekly later when compared to the average user.

Retention rates for common user action cohorts

We have limited chances to engage our users instead of throwing everything we can think of at them, why not focus on the things that will help us to turn new audience into loyal users and eventually, members of the public radio community? We talked about this topic in detail on our February Analytics Insights webinar and shared recommendations to improve retention and engagement. If you missed it, or would like more detail you can watch the video and download the slides at nprstations.org.