Engagement rate has a host of new metrics that have come with that. This is new for Google given how engaged our audience is. Google defined specifically engagement rate as someone who has spent at least 10 seconds on our website, has a conversion event, or at least has 2 pageviews or screen views. In some parts of this metric, you are defining yourself as what is counted for engagement rate such as with conversions. You determine with your Google Analytics setup what is and is not a conversion. We find this interesting but as usual we want to understand what lies in the gray area.
Google is choosing that 10 seconds and 2 page views or screen views is an engaged session. We view this as Google seeing as this is an important way for both them and us to gauge if we have quality traffic. We can only imagine that this can translate in some fashion or another to better results in Google search engines. No there has not been any direct mention of this but Google rarely gives us direct ranking factors.
Another item we notice with engagement rate is that if you find the hidden prominent metrics of bounce rate that this number is now mathematically the inverted number. So if your engagement rate is 40% then the bounce rate is 60%. The bounce rate with Universal analytics was described differently and was counted if someone got to a page and scrolled down the page and clicked on nothing. So the whole meaning of bounce rate has now changed.
Often our clients want to know what a healthy metric is because this metric is new and bounce rate has essentially changed what it means there are no longer baselines to assume. It’s always good though to evaluate your metrics based on your own data.
As marketers, we need to gauge engagement rates based on the traffic source. If for instance, you have direct traffic that has a low engagement rate perhaps that is okay because direct traffic is an unknown referral source. We can make deductions about it being bot traffic. So while this number needs to be broken down by types of marketing channels another metric that is new would give you what is going on with individual pages.