Engagement, Metrics and How Blogs Change

I’ve been focusing the last several months on engagement. In particular, social media engagement. For the purposes of this discussion, “engagement” is just making a countable, one click action to share or show approval with a piece of content. In particular, in this post I’ll be talking about engagement with posts on my travel blog.

I’ve been tinkering with variables such as post timing, formatting and other factors. I’ve only focusing on boosting engagement on my content, not for content that isn’t my own. In particular, images with quotes on them which always seem to do well on Facebook. (I played around with that over a year ago, but gave up on it as I thought it wasn’t really authentic and it was sort of cheap. If they aren’t liking my images or words, I am not really interested.)

One of the metrics I’ve been informally following is daily gross engagement (DGE). That is a fancy term I made that means I’m just looking at the total of all countable social media engagements on my blog. Because I post an image every day, it is actually pretty easy to see how each day is doing.

What I do is count up the total number of Google +1’s, Facebook Likes, Twitter Retweets, and Pinterest Pins. I don’t count StumbleUpon or Reddit as they tend to be very feast or famine and I don’t count LinkedIn because I have a consumer focused site and I’ve never gotten any traction on that platform. I also don’t track Instagram as that isn’t really linked to the website.

To give you an idea, here are some of the DGE numbers from my daily photos from the last week. These numbers are never final, as people can always continue to engage with those pages, but well over 95% of the engagement on most posts will take place in the first 24 hours.

Photo Date Google+ Facebook Twitter Pinterest DGE
February 1 93 217 38 88 436
January 31 125 136 23 8 292
January 30 87 79 10 1 177
January 29 112 76 6 20 214
January 28 72 90 13 1 176
January 27 86 90 26 2 204
January 26 108 241 29 12 390
Average 269

This isn’t intended to be the final word in metrics. In fact, it really isn’t much more than a back of the envelope calculation to see how posts are performing over time. Nonetheless, it is helpful and does provide some insight.

Just doing a cursory look at how the same days performed in 2013, I know that I’m getting, on average, well over 200 points of engagement more per post in 2014! I haven’t done a hard look, but it appears to be about a 4-6x increase. That’s not too shabby.

Google+, Facebook and Pinterest are both up dramatically for me. Twitter is actually slightly down. I have two theories as to why Twitter engagement is down:

  1. Twitter is just getting more noisy and people don’t catch as much as they used to.
  2. I’m finding more and more people are now clicking “favorite” instead of “retweet” on Twitter. Easily half of the engagement on Twitter I’m getting is from favorites, but that doesn’t show up in the button on the page. This is a shift I’ve noticed over time where people used to never use the favorite feature, where as now it has become quite common.

The main reason for the increase it that engagement is something that is on my radar now. 7 years ago when I started blogging, these things didn’t even exist. 12 months ago I didn’t pay attention. Now I do pay attention and you see the results.

Things change. The advice you get a year ago might not be valid today. You have to keep your ear to the ground and constantly experiment and get feedback. I’m sure in 2015 things will be totally different again.