How to Measure Social Customer Engagement (Finally!)

In an article for Gartner, Martin Kahn explores a new way of measuring customer engagement: Time.

I really enjoyed this article and I think you will too.

Here’s why:

Kahn begins by explaining that customer engagement is a good indication of interest – if your customers are interested it means you’re doing something right to create a great customer experience.

Engaged Customers Account for a Significant Increase in Revenue

A study by Gallup found that fully engaged customers account for a 23% increase in revenue while disengaged customers resulted in a 13% decrease in revenue. Customer engagement is a crucial factor in determining the success of your organization.

Using the example of a Facebook page, Kahn explains that likes, comments and shares are all signs of engagement and thus signs of interest.

But then the question becomes how to quantify these different signs of engagement and turn them into hard data to measure your performance.

This is where time comes in.

The Amount of Time Spent Interacting with a Product Represents the Level of Interest 

We all only have a limited amount of time each day, so the amount of time we give to any one product or application represents how interested we are in it.

According to Kahn’s math, it takes about twelve times longer on average to write a comment than it does to hit the “Like” button, so one comment represents the same level of customer engagement as twelve likes.

Kahn claims that it doesn’t matter whether the comment is positive or negative, arguing that the time invested in writing the comment is a much more important measure of customer engagement than what the comment actually says.

Calculate the Amount of Time it Takes to Complete Each Action

Kahn also proposes a great method for determining the relative level of customer engagement associated with each activity in your application. Using a stopwatch, time how long it takes to complete each action on average and then compare the times for different actions to get an idea of the relative levels of customer engagement. This is a great engagement test because it’s quick, reliable and measurable.

The Principle of Time is Representative of What Customers Value

Kahn then goes on to take the principle of time as representative of what consumers value and applies it to a Flurry analysis of how U.S. consumers spend time on their smart phones. While the article ends on a pessimistic note with a lament that we’re spending all of our time playing games instead of on self-improvement, Kahn still offers a lot of hope for customer experience professionals.

The graph that Kahn includes may paint a bleak picture but the more important message for customer experience is that customers spend a very limited amount of time on applications that aren’t games.

How successful your business is at capturing customer interest during this limited window of time is an excellent measure of how successful you are at customer engagement and will have a direct impact on profitability.

A study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 87% of adults with an income of $75 000 or more in the key 30-49 age group own a smartphone. Your ability to engage this key customer base will have a large effect on the success of your business.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words and Actions Can be Measured

Perhaps the key message of Kahn’s article is the importance of finding a way to quantitatively measure customer engagement. His core argument is that “Actions speak louder than words – and actions can be measured.” Figuring out a way to quantitatively measure the actions of your customer is the key to creating a great customer experience. This information is incredibly useful. Check out the full study and additional relevant information here.  


Matthew is the Lead Author & Editor of CXperience Blog. Matthew established the CXperience blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Customer Experience.