Data-Backed Customer Engagement Strategies

improve customer engagement

Being a successful online business used to just be about having a good website. Then it became about ranking well on search engines. Then it was about getting lots of traffic to that website. Not anymore.

Today, you can’t just get by with a pretty site that nobody finds any more than you can with a well-ranked site that gets many visitors. Mastering eCommerce relies on engagement.

But what are customer engagement strategies, really? How do you benchmark them? And then how do you continually increase engagement from each traffic channel?

We’re about to show you how to use data to hack eCommerce engagement by investing in the traffic channels that will get you the most results.

eCommerce Engagement and Traffic Channels

When aiming to improve, drill down on available data to focus your efforts and get the greatest impact. We looked at over 100,000 eCommerce stores to see which eCommerce traffic spend the most time on site and how page view data differed across traffic channel.

page views per traffic channel

time on site

Our results revealed the following:

  • Twitter visitors have short attention spans (#shocker). To increase engagement from Twitter visitors is not necessarily to find ways for Twitter visitors to stay longer. It’s to accept their nature and promote bite-sized content on this channel.
  • Facebook is a solid source of engagement, falling in the middle for both page views and time on site. So, don’t underestimate this social media giant. Their algorithms may get you down, but Facebook still has a lot of value, especially when you use smart and effective Facebook ads.
  • Social channels hold a solid place as far as driving traffic. It’s also the most engaged traffic: the social media engagement rate beats out other channels.  Learn how to properly use social to grow traffic to get results that are engaged.

What builds eCommerce engagement?

Engagement on eCommerce relies on three pillars:

  • Time on site
  • Frequent visits
  • Social sharing

Let’s take a look at eCommerce powerhouse, Amazon. There are 209 million Amazon users, 20 million of them are Amazon Prime customers. The company spends over $150 million on Google search ads. Their net sales in 2014 totaled nearly $90 billion.

Two of the best shopping days for Amazon (as well as eCommerce in general) are Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to AdWeek’s Social Times, last Black Friday, Amazon was mentioned 126,115 times on Facebook and Twitter (next in line was Walmart with 69,050 mentions); and 182,401 times on Cyber Monday (number two was Target with 36,738).

According to Alexa, time on site for Amazon visitors is over 10 minutes (compared to 5:24 for Walmart.com) and page views per visitor are currently over 11 (compared to 5.30 for Target.com)

Clearly, Amazon’s visitors are very engaged.

How engaged are your visitors?

Let’s explore engagement benchmarks.

eCommerce Customer Engagement Benchmarks and Metrics

To understand how your eCommerce site stands with regard to engagement, there are five important metrics to consider:

  1. Bounce rate
  2. Time on Site
  3. Page Views per Visit
  4. Number of Visits in a Specified Time Period
  5. Social Referrals

Knowing how well your eCommerce site is doing in these five areas comes down to benchmarking. You can benchmark yourself against companies like Amazon, or, better yet, benchmark against past performance. If you have access to historical records, find these numbers for your most successful month and set those as your goal.

While we all want our bounce rate to be 0, we can take comfort in the fact that even Amazon has a 23% bounce rate. Aim to decrease your bounce rate by 10% from where it was on your best month.

And while we would like to shoot for the stars, the same could be said about time on site and page views per visit. The aim here, naturally, is to increase by at least 15%.

The number of visits in a specified time period should be tied to the length of your sales cycle. If yours has been measured to be a 10-day cycle, for example, measure number of repeat visits within the 10 days.

Many companies use tools to monitor social mentions or shares, but a more accurate figure is not just the number of times you were mentioned, but also the rate at which those mentions resulted in a new visit (or conversion!).

Five Hacks for Boosting eCommerce Engagement:

  1. Add short videos to landing pages to encourage visitors to stay longer
  2. Add related article links to the bottom of blog posts to encourage visitors to visit other pages
  3. Offer social interaction opportunities to encourage those who came from a social share to share on
  4. Optimize loading times to decrease bounce rate
  5. Tie nurturing campaigns to the buyer journey stages to encourage visitors to return to the site as they research

Research, Experiment, Test, Track, Monitor, Investigate…

The bottom line is this: first, figure out what drives the behavior of visitors from each of your traffic channels. Do longtail keyword searchers visit more pages and stay on site longer? Do Facebookers look at images and graphics more than at textual content? Then, optimize funnels for each of these channels. If Facebookers want images, give them more images! Let them consume graphic content, keep coming back for graphic content, and share graphic content with their networks. If search engine users stay longer and read more, offer white papers, case studies, blog posts, and more text.

Don’t try to change your visitors and their driving forces; instead, work to understand and incorporate them for better results.

Test new theories, try different content, and always track your results. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has this advice to share:

“If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”

Lital Barkan Rosenberg
Lital Barkan Rosenberg,
Lital has spent two decades doing all things marketing. In the past several years, she has been refining her focus to online content strategy, specifically technology-related content strategy. When she is not contenting, you can find Lital with her toddler daughter and newborn son at one of many San Francisco area parks and playgrounds.
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