The True Power of Your Engaged Users

Between an engaged website visitor and an unengaged visitor, which one do you think is more valuable to your community? 

You’ll probably find the answer to be obvious: An engaged community member offers more value in terms of long-term loyalty, behavioral data and revenue. 

But what you may not know is the exact extent to which engaged visitors can impact your business compared to unengaged visitors. 

To help you find the answer, a new study conducted by a Viafoura data scientist has uncovered the significance of an engaged user — which, for the purpose of the study, is defined as someone who has used a social engagement tool at least once in a month. 

“Based on customer data, it’s clear that an audience engaged by moderated social tools helps its host company to thrive,” says Viafoura Data Scientist Harry Liang. “By assessing hundreds of millions of unique visitors on hundreds of websites, we’ve discovered that engaged registered users have at least ten times more retention over a six months period for most sites”

Get a thorough understanding of how an engaged community behaves more favorably than an unengaged one by digging into highlights from the study below.

Page Views

The difference in page views alone generated by engaged users versus unengaged users is significant. 

According to Liang, “In average, an engaged user has ten times more page views per month than an unengaged user, and almost 20 times more page views than an anonymous visitor.” 

While Liang’s takeaway is enlightening, it isn’t surprising. 

It’s long been public knowledge that on-site engagement opportunities can build loyal habits for visitors. In other words, social spaces trigger more engagement and views around a company’s content.

On-Site Engagement Actions

Not all registered users offer the same amount of value to media organizations. 

“Some users register to a website in order to use social tools, and others may register just to access content,” Liang explains. “Those who register to participate in a conversation — whether that be through comments, likes, replies or dislikes — contribute to a media company’s community with meaningful interactions.”

Time Spent on Page

Engaged users also invest more time on a media company’s digital properties. 

More specifically, Liang’s analysis shows that, in average, an Viafoura engaged user spends two to ten times the number of minutes on publishers’ web pages compared to an unengaged registered user, and 20 times the amount of minutes compared to an anonymous visitor.  

“Media companies that deploy effective social tools as part of their community engagement strategies will be able to keep their active audiences on their sites for longer,” Liang states. “Keep in mind that your active audiences create the majority of reader revenue and can help deepen interest in content through their conversations.”

Retention Rates

Did you know that visitor engagement levels have the ability to impact retention? 

In Liang’s analysis, he explains that, after six months of visiting a site, users who interacted with engagement tools have a 20-40% higher retention rate than those who did not interact with engagement tools. 

Media companies are also able to draw on more behavioral data from the actions of their engaged users, which can be used to improve experiences around their brands. By extracting actionable information from active users’ first-party data, organizations can further improve their retention rates. 

Stephanie Lievano, an expert on subscriptions, tells the International News Media Association that “when we look at data as tools to predict [behavior] we have the opportunity to intercept an undesired action, or multiply the effect and impulse actions aligned with our goals.”

Every visitor that registers to a website is a critical member of a media company’s audience. However, engaged users contribute significantly more in terms of the amount of time and energy they funnel into helping a community grow. 

Organizations that nurture a connected and engaged community will become unstoppable as they position themselves for richer user data, stronger relationships with visitors and increased reader revenue.

Meet The Newest Way to Re-Engage Your Audience

Wouldn’t it be great if you could drive more user engagement on your digital properties without adding to your already endless workload? Viafoura’s new recirculation feature — a tool that highlights trending conversations around content — can do exactly that.  

The feature analyzes engagement velocity and content recency in order to recommend buzzing, active conversations to your digital community. As a result, audience members who actively engage with your community will easily find more content that interests them. 

For those of you who have yet to implement conversation tools on your digital properties, our data shows that that they can boost total time spent on site by 10%. 

Active comment readers spend the most time engaging with your digital properties. In fact, according to the Financial Times’ community manager, these users offer six times the engagement compared to non-comment readers. This means that they are extremely valuable members of your community. The recirculation widget exists to keep these users interacting with your content for even longer, and has proven to generate up to seven times more pageviews from comment readers. 

Surprised? We’re not. Humans naturally want to socialize with others, whether that be offline or online. Conversation tools that are backed by effective moderation offer your audience members the opportunity to be social and build meaningful connections to your brand. Our new tool lets consumers who value discussions related to your content know where active conversations are taking place. Especially around topics that resonate the most with them.

And that translates into more on-site engagement for you.

A major North American newspaper recently implemented the recirculation widget on its digital properties. After just two weeks after activating the tool, the company saw significant growth. Not only did it experience a 44% increase in comments, it also saw a 34% increase in average session length and a 38% increase in total on-site engagement

“This feature is a new way for publishers to start increasing the participation of their active community members, which in turn boosts the time spent on their sites,” Dan Seaman, product director of engagement tools at Viafoura. 

The recirculation feature can also live anywhere on your site. Consider adding it below our Conversations tool, within a notifications bar or on the side rail of your homepage. Curious about what the tool looks like? Take a peek at it in action below:

Want to learn more about the tool? Ask us your questions or book a live demo of our recirculation here

RELATED: Viafoura Launches a Rapid Moderation Console for Media Organizations

How Audience Engagement Tools Impact Revenue

Engaged users increase your pageviews, time on site, and ultimately, revenue. But what is an engaged user exactly? Simply put, it’s a website visitor who…

Last updated June 14th, 2018

Engaged users increase your pageviews, time on site, and ultimately, revenue.

But what is an engaged user exactly?

Simply put, it’s a website visitor who is actively involved with or interested in your brand. In a study led by researchers from Google and Yahoo, they categorized user engagement in four ways:

  • Bounce: user did not engage with the article and left within 10 seconds after arriving
  • Shallow engagement: user stays and reads 50% of the article
  • Deep engagement: user reads more that 50% of the article (means he had to scroll down which indicates commitment)
  • Complete engagement: user posts a comments or a reply on the article

We would define an “engaged user” as anyone who likes, dislikes, shares content or comments, posts a comment, replies to a comment, or follows content/authors/other users. The more actions they complete, the higher their engagement.

It’s also important to note that some actions are “worth” more, or signify higher engagement. For example, a user who posts a comment is more engaged than someone who simply likes content, because they are taking more time to provide a personal opinion. A user who follows an author, story, comment or other user is more engaged than someone who shares an article because they are proactively choosing to be informed and updated in real time, showing significant interest.

So how do you engage your users or encourage them to perform these actions?

Audience engagement tools increase social interactions

Audience engagement tools give users more opportunities to engage with your brand and other community members, much like social media.

Media brands and publishers using these types of tools can expect to see significant increases in comments, replies and likes. One such brand, Graham Media Group, saw the following results after implementing engagement tools across seven of their news sites:

Increase in total comments & replies
increase in total interactions
Increase in commentper user
Increase in repliesper user

We also found that users who visited pages with engagement tools produced a 248% lift in weekly pageviews per user and a 364% lift in time-spent on site per week.

Total Weekly Pageviews
Per User
Total Weekly Attention Time
Per User
Did not view engagement tools 2.07 4.07 minutes
Viewed engagement tools 7.20 18.80 minutes

*From analyzing the data across 600+ media organizations

Additionally, across our network of 600 media brands, 80% of all user registrations occurred on pages with engagement tools. And users who register generate 5x more return visits per week compared to non-registered users.

Now we come to the final question: how do these KPIs impact revenue?

Increased ad revenue

Research from data scientists confirms that not only do pageviews per visit increase ad revenue, but so does session time per user, as depicted in the graphs below. It’s also evident that getting users beyond the first few pageviews or seconds offers exponential revenue potential.

You’ll notice that session time has a surprisingly similar positive correlation with revenue as pageviews. Increased attention time means that there is more time for the ads to load on the page, and there is also a greater chance that a user will see an ad and potentially click on it.

Increased subscription revenue

Researchers Zalmanson and Oestreicher-Singer found that a user’s willingness to pay for premium services is more strongly associated with their online social activity than their content consumption.

In other words, users who engage more with other community members and with content are likelier to subscribe. In order to raise engagement levels, Zalmanson and Oestreicher-Singer suggest content producers should invest in a platform that provides the social engagement tools necessary to encourage active participation.

Doing so can increase subscriptions significantly, as witnessed by a New England media company that saw digital subscriptions jumped by 410% over three years after implementing automated audience engagement and targeting tools. Additionally, by displaying relevant content to anonymous visitors, they were able to increase the number of registered users by 9%.

Interestingly, Zalmanson and Oestreicher-Singer also found that users are more likely to subscribe if they have connections with other subscribers. The more subscriber friends that users have, the likelier they are to pay for premium services. This is likely due to the psychological phenomenon of social proof or social influence, where people mimic the actions of others because they assume it’s the “correct” behavior. Knowing this, publishers may want to consider how they can highlight their subscribed users so that their followers or friends are aware of their purchase decision.


If you have the right audience engagement tools in place, your audience will return to your website organically and regularly. It’s also less expensive to encourage your current website visitors to engage than it is to purchase new eyeballs on an ongoing basis. Not only will you save on marketing and advertising costs, but you’ll also increase your pageviews, attention time, online interactions and – most importantly – your advertising and subscription revenues.

Interested in learning more?

Connect with us today to learn how Viafoura can help you build, manage and monetize your audience.

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