October 25, 2006
@ 06:39 PM

Robert Scoble has a blog post entitled New audience metric needed: engagement where he writes

I was just reading Jeneane Sessum’s post about the latest Ze Frank/Rocketboom dustup and she’s right, we need to measure stuff other than just whether a download got completed or not. She says we need a “likeability” stat. I think it goes further than that.

There’s another stat out there called “engagement.” No one is measuring it that I know of. What do I mean?

Well, I’ve compared notes with several bloggers and journalists and when the Register links to us we get almost no traffic. But they claim to have millions of readers. So, if millions of people are hanging out there but no one is willing to click a link, that means their audience has low engagement. The Register is among the lowest that I can see.

Compare that to Digg. How many people hang out there every day? Maybe a million, but probably less. Yet if you get linked to from Digg you’ll see 30,000 to 60,000 people show up. And these people don’t just read. They get involved. I can tell when Digg links to me cause the comments for that post go up too.

I've heard Frank Shaw state anecdotally that blogs are more 'influential' than traditional media websites. You get more click-throughs from being mentioned in a popular blog than from being mentioned in a more popular technology website. I'm interested in theories on why this is the case. Could it be that bloggers are more 'influential' over their audience than traditional media? Are blog readers more 'engaged' as Robert puts it?

PS: I read Jeneane's Sessum's post to be quite irritating. The smug assumption that if you like something then it must be more popular or at least 'better' on some made-up axis than what everyone else likes is a hallmark of the blogosphere echo-chamber. You see the same kind of egotistical thinking in Stowe Boyd's post criticizing Yahoo! bookmarks in comparison to del.icio.us.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006 7:35:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Wow. Isn't your smug assumption about other's smug assumptions itself another part of the blogosphere's echo chamber?

Check out longer comments: http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2006/10/dare_obasanjo_i.html.

[And, oh by the way, no trackbacks?]
Wednesday, October 25, 2006 8:03:52 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I don't do trackbacks because I got tired of dealing with trackback spam.

As for disagreeing with Scoble, I don't see where I do that. If anything I'm reinforcing his assertion that blogs are more influential than mainstream media. That's what I found interesting in his post.

As for whether new 'engagement metrics' are needed for online media, that is a dead horse that I didn't see any point in flogging.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006 9:42:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
IMO, it's because bloggers cover a topic less thoroughly than a typical tech publication does. Digg has even less information and demands that you click on the link.

Heck, use this post as an example. You point me to three other sources of information that you mention in your post. You don't quote the other posts, except for Scobles, or summarize them.

It has nothing to do with "engagement" or how influential the bloggers are, it has to do with coverage and the quest for information.
Thursday, October 26, 2006 2:23:20 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I'm more likely to click blog links than links in "commercial" media because I'm lazy. A blog link will almost always open a new window (which is what I want). Other links, I have to remember to right-click, select Open in new window.

Plus, regular media links tend to be self-serving, internal. They link to their own stuff, and it's often only tangentially related.
Thursday, October 26, 2006 4:45:02 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I agree with the comment made by Scott. When I look at Register I read everything there and that is 'engagement'. When I look at Digg I have no choice but to keep clicking on links. I think it is very dicey to try and define engagement by user actions such as clicking a link.
Friday, October 27, 2006 12:15:17 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Digg is probably not the best example in terms of click throughs, but Robert is right when he notes that Digg users do tend to leave comments -- this counts as engagment. Jason Calacanis spoke a while back and said that one of the big challenges he was seeing with the "vote" model on Netscape was that people were reading the articles/clicking through, but then not voting -- it was an education process. Does this mean the NEtscape vieweres weren't engaged? Probably not.

Influence is hard to measure. Years ago when I was doing PR for an industry vertical I lived in fear that somewhere out there was a really smart guy with a newsletter that reached 500 of the biggest decision makers in the industry -- and I didn't know who that was. :) Turns out there *was no* such person, but it's a great example of at least the potential of influence, free of links and traffic. :)
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