• http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    Hi Ciaran-

    Count me as #306, then. Interaction does NOT mean engagement. Additionally, there are negative interactions that people confuse with a positive user experience.

    For example, if a person can’t find something on your website, they might click on a number of links before he/she gives up. And then never comes back. But “statistics” or “data” indicates that the increased page views is a positive user experience.

    Also, in terms of eye-tracking, a person might look at something on a page because it’s annoying, not due to a “positive engagement.”

    Numbers reveal the whats and the hows. Not the whys. Kudos for writing about this topic.

    Shari

  • http://www.facebook.com/brianaugust Brian August

    Thank you for the article and also for backing the project. I agree that it is tough to maximize engagement. My project has a lot of elements coming together — its at once an art project, a tech project and a history project. And its use (at least initially) is truly location specific — within actual viewing distance of the towers. I’ve tried to make the app as engaging as possible. It makes you move around, forces you to pay attention as the towers are rendered and then strongly urges you you to add a comment. I’m not sure I would measure engagement based on how many people actually backed the project. I actually consider it more important that people share the story with others than actually back the project. One last thing. You described the app as one that commemorates the events of 911. That may be true for some people, but for me, the app was created to enable users to reflect on experiences that they had from 1971- September 10, 2001. The app is a celebration of the buildings’ lives and on the subtle effect they had on everyone who lived among them. To me its an uplifting feeling and its one that most people who come in contact with 110 Stories tend to share. Can’t do much better than that.

  • http://www.ContentEqualsMoney.com Emma

    To be honest, I really never thought about the fact that interaction and engagement could be two separate entities until encountering this post. In English, the words are synonyms, but social media sometimes proudly marches to its own drum beat. And thus, regular rules (grammatical, linguistic, societal) are incorporated but not always adhered to traditionally.

  • http://itsmyurls.com/BeckyCortino BeckyCortino

    …and this is why “impressions” should *also* be viewed as ‘different’ from “actions taken.” Running an ad on social media?! (Any where, actually!) Something to keep in mind…

    As one who has dealt with numbers throughout my career as a marketing-communications consultant, I understand numbers and their implications. Most of us have probably heard the accusation that “you can do (justify, etc) anything with numbers.” While it appears numbers abound, meaningful numbers, viewed with clear vision for accurate understanding, and precise application is required. Some sifting through them first is definitely advisable.

  • http://www.annholman.co.uk Ann Holman

    Great post and invaluable insight. You are right the numbers do not mean engagement to the point of product being downloaded or sold. As social media advisers we must extol the virtues of an engaged and participating community rather than one that is merely followed or liked!

  • http://www.mindshareworld.com Ciarán Norris

    Thanks for all the comments – glad that you found it engaging (sorry!)

    Brian – thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I totally understand that for you donations is not the main KPI, but I guess I just thought it was a perfect example for those people working with brands, where, at the end of the day, separating people from their money, in the form of purchases, is absolutely the most important thing to do.

    I think the app will be incredibly engaging (I loved the Museum of London app which shares some of its characteristics) and can’t wait to see the real thing.

  • AndyHoleman

    I totally agree with the premise of your post. However, I have to say your example is a poor one – a 25% conversion rate from interaction to sale is HUGE!!! Huge in a way that regular delivery of a 25% sell through rate would be marketer of the year territory (maybe the decade).

  • http://www.mindshareworld.com Ciarán Norris

    Andy – I take your point, it is a good percentage when put like that. But I stand by my point that it’s so much easier for people to ‘Like’ something that it is to actually get off their backsides and do something. I was also going to use the recent example from the Irish elections where one candidate secured more votes than he did Facebook likes: http://www.thejournal.ie/dylan-haskins-secures-fewer-votes-than-facebook-friends-2011-02/

    I was not trying to say that 110 Stories was, or is a failure (it’s anything but), rather that judging something by interactions alone is a poor way of measuring success (again, not that I was suggesting that Brian was doing this). I’m actually very glad that they did end up making their target, and the app will now be getting built.