Bob Garfield

5 ways to measure return on engagement

Move over, ROI. There's a new metric in town that's much more powerful for today's brands. Here's how to track your success.

While return on investment (ROI) is measured mostly in financial and economic ways, today's brands want something grander. That's where return on engagement (ROE) comes in. ROE is the overall brand strength gained from a particular brand action, strategy, or product. Here are key indicators of success.

Time spent on page, video, or ad

The longer the time that consumers wants to interact with you, the more they'll gain positive feelings toward your brand. Brands that invest in good content marketing, native, and storytelling see higher levels of time spent with their content -- and hence, brand message. This is wildly more important and impactful than clicks and impressions, and it has the added benefit of increasing brand strength (or ROE).

Number of fans transformed into loyalists

Brand loyalists are the Holy Grail of customers for any company. Marketing efforts that aim to increase your ROE are much more likely to transform brand fans into brand loyalists. Display ads and other advertising efforts of similar ilk help create awareness, but usually don't sway consumers into becoming advocates for your cause.


Apps and games you create and put out increase ROE. There are a slew of metrics you can track in the product itself to determine if you're succeeding, but when it comes to ROE, the amount of downloads can be one powerful indicator that you have a range of fans who are willing to give your efforts a try.


Shares are some of the most important indicators that you're succeeding at growing ROE. When a consumer shares your content (especially on personal social media outlets) it's a big sign you're grooming a brand advocate. Work backwards from the goal of getting people to share, and you'll avoid wasting your time creating boring, lifeless content.

Positive interaction with your brand (comments and outreach)

Every brand sees regular amounts of negative feedback. People love to complain, and when a brand is a faceless, unrelatable entity, it becomes easy for a consumer to vent. If you're seeing a rise in positive feedback, it's an indicator that you're building a face and personality for your brand. This is very important, as it leads to ROE based on conversation, rather than your brand being a punching bag.

Western Union's SVP of marketing, Laston Charriez, speaks to iMedia about how his legendary brand measures return on engagement and why it's so important for today's marketers to value.

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Article written by senior media producer David Zaleski.

Video edited by associate media producer Brian Waters.

"Five bright different way infographics" image via Shutterstock.



David Zaleski
David Zaleski August 15, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Thanks Troy, agreed! And Laston is an amazing speaker. Great insights from that man on the topic.

Troy Burk
Troy Burk August 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Great article, David (with Laston Charriez). Without Engagement, there would be no ROI. Engagement is the leading indicator (regardless of where it takes place). ROI is the result.