Measuring dis-Engagement

Engagement Matters – Until it Ends.  Right?

Here’s something that continues to puzzle me about all the efforts around measuring Engagement and using these results as a business metric or model of online behavior.

If Engagement is so important to evaluate – and it can be, depending on how you define it – then doesn’t the termination of Engagement also have to be important?  If you desire to create Engagement, shouldn’t you also care about why / how it fails or ends? And if the end is important, what about how long Engagement lasts as a “quality” metric?

Seems logical the end of Engagement might matter.  Let’s call it dis-Engagement.  Simple concept really: of the visitors / customers that are Engaged today (however you define Engagement), what percent of them are still Engaged a week later?  3 months or 1 year later?

Whatever dis-Engagement metric you decide to use, a standard measurement would create an even playing field for evaluating the quality of Engagement you create.  From there, a business could invest in approaches producing the most durable outcome.

Since Engagement is almost always defined as an interaction of some kind, tracking dis-Engagement could be standardized using metrics rooted in human behavior.  Recency is one of the best metrics for an idea like this because it’s universal, easy to understand, and can be mapped across sources like products and campaigns.  Recency is also predictive; it provides comparative likelihoods, e.g. this segment is likely more engaged than that one.

Plus, using Recency would align online customer measurement with offline tools and practices.  This could have implications for ideas like defining “current channel”, e.g. customer is now engaged with this channel, has dis-engaged from that channel.

Taking this path brings up a couple of other related ideas, in line with the discussion around customer journey and entwined with the whole customer experience movement.

Peak Engagement

Let’s say there is Engagement, and because we’re now measuring dis-Engagement, we see Engagement end.  So, is Engagement a one-shot state of being, meaning the value should be measured as such?  Or, does longer lasting Engagement have value, and if so, what about when it ends? Shouldn’t we want to find the cause of dis-Engagement?

After all, if Engagement is valuable, then dis-Engagement should be a negative outcome. Plus, there’s probably some kind of measurement in between the start of Engagement and dis-Engagement.  Like Peak Engagement, if in fact Engagement is measured over time.

Peak Engagement would be the point where your Engagement metric (whatever it is) hits some kind of maximum, and then begins to decay.  This sounds a lot like a customer journey concept, doesn’t it?  State of Engagement over time?

Peak Engagement also implies a triggering event of some kind, a cause of the Engaged state change.  Some of these causes will be uncontrollable, such as a lifestyle change.  Other causes will be controllable, linked to product or service issues, for example.

You could use this idea to index customer experience, right?  Engagement and dis-Engagement along the customer journey.  Do you see there this could go?

Now that you have a triggering event measure, your dis-Engagement metric, you can link source of dis-Engagement to cause.  Cohort analysis is perfect for this, if you’re  aligned with that concept.  Map start date by campaign or product over time, what’s your Engagement Index looking like?  Do you see the patterns?

Once you’re there, you can address the dis-Engagement issue before the triggering event by taking corrective action on source, eliminate the friction.  Or, if this is not possible, dis-Engagement can be predicted and intercepted with customized communication / action.


Wouldn’t measuring dis-Engagement neatly tie all of these customer concepts together?

Or is Engagement a 1x, media-centric, throw-away kind of metric?

Let me know what you think.

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