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Thanks for the thoughtful comments. This gives me the chance to articulate the argument around playing to a highly engaged audience. These are all good questions:
First, you're right: engagement is defined differently from company to company; that doesn't mean it doesn't exist or isn't valuable. Marketers have been looking to measure engagement for some time, because highly engaged audiences —and highly engaging content -- are prized. Consider the labs that track participants' eye movements as they watch TV shows — to track engagement. This is a completely different, but valid, metric for engagement.
The audience online is looking more and more like the audience anywhere in the country — or many parts of the world. We track 300 million users, 180 million of them in the US. We feel confident that our sample is representative. And traditional research has more biases: leading survey questions, biased focus group moderators, phone surveys that don't reach cell phones, and more.
Being more engaged with a show leads to more views because the highly engaged audience is more likely watching in real-time and less likely to skip ads. But the best way to encourage ads being viewed by this sort of audience is branded integration: get close to the content you know they are passionate about and some of that passion — and social lift as your brand is discussed online — will rub off on you.
Finally, thank you for the article on engagement levels and ads. We'll be giving this a good look. My main takeaway is that it's important to understand the content and context that an ad is placed within. Social media analytics will help advertisers do just that.
Thanks for the comment. You're right, quantifying interactions can be tricky, as many things are on the web. Companies can pretty easily determine how many people are interacting, how they are interacting and other pretty analytics, but as you say, figuring out which of these interactions are more valuable than others becomes more difficult. I like to say that the loudest person in the room isn't always more influential than the ten people talking quietly in the corner. In customer communities, companies need to sift through the loudest and quietest people to really determine who is most valuable and influential based on how and how many other people are interacting with them in the community. It's important to not let ‘loud' and ‘influential' get confused. The ability to rank specific actions is key to measuring interaction for example if someone continually posts (loudness) that has some value but if a person is sharing content, rating content, bringing others to the discussion that are influencer's in the discussion area or even taking content with them, all of these actions are more relevant and have higher interaction scores.
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