September 25, 2008, 12:00 AM

Measuring online visitor engagement with multiple indices

Online retailers can take several steps to measure the engagement level of site visitors before, during and after their first visit to a site, says a new report from analytics consulting firm Web Analytics Demystified.

By analyzing phrases entered into Internet search engines that lead visitors to a web site, and comparing those phrases to branded keywords, e-retailers can calculate a brand index for determining how much visitors were engaged with a brand before arriving on a site, according to new report from analytics consulting firm Web Analytics Demystified Inc.

The brand index is one of seven indices used as a group for measuring online visitor engagement, according to the report, "Measuring the Immeasurable: Visitor Engagement," which was written by Web Analytics Demystifed founder Eric Peterson and Joseph Carrabis, founder of analytics consultants NextStage Group.

Producing a comprehensive look at web site visitor engagement also involves gathering information through indices that measure multiple ways in which consumers interact with a web site and its brand, the report notes.

The other indices are:

  • Click depth index, which measures the level to which visitors click through a site in a way that leaves out sessions by visitors who bounce off a site after viewing only a small number of pages;

  • Duration index, which captures the amount of time visitors spend on a site;

  • Recency index, which captures the rate at which visitors return to a site over time;

  • Feedback index, which captures qualitative information including the propensity of visitors to solicit additional information or supply direct feedback about a site;

  • Interaction index, which compiles visitor interaction with content or functionality designed to increase the level of attention a visitor is paying to a site, its brand and products;

  • Loyalty index, which captures the level of long-term interaction the visitor has with a site, its brand and products.
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