He was a brand manager’s dream. He’d turned up at a Guinness-sponsored rugby match wearing a Guinness hat and a Guinness t-shirt. He couldn’t be more engaged with the brand. The only problem … he was drinking a pint of Foster’s.
That’s the problem with engagement. It doesn’t actually mean a great deal from a hard-nosed commercial perspective. I might love your ad campaign, play the game you have created on Facebook, share that wonderfully funny video clip with my Twitter followers but still not spend a single pound on your product or service. Unless you can deliver meaningful engagement – behaviour that unequivocally delivers a commercial or tangible benefit – it is a pretty irrelevant metric.
So by all means stick with your engagement tracking and your Facebook engagement scores, but if you want senior management to take you seriously and give you the budgets you think you deserve, then you had better be able to demonstrate what all of this wonderful engagement actually contributes to your business. Does it drive traffic, build loyalty, increase sales or any other metric that dominates boardroom discussions? If you think it improves people’s propensity to purchase you had better be able to substantiate your hypothesis. Above all remember that engagement is not an outcome, it is simply a means to an outcome.