Three Digital Metrics Every Marketer Needs To Use To Understand Brand Engagement Engagement rate is a vanity metric that simply doesn't cut it anymore, here's three alternative approaches to dig deeper into your audience's actual engagement with your brand.

By Lama Abdelbarr

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Should your marketing team care about engagement rates? The short answer is no, marketers need to stop putting so much focus on engagement rates when they measure success. The long answer involves me talking to some industry experts to find out what why looking at engagement rates can be misleading and how the metric can be repurposed for deeper insights.

The consensus amongst the industry experts was that engagement rate is a vanity metric that simply doesn't cut it anymore. That's why they proposed three alternative approaches to the metric, which will allow you to dig deeper into your audience's actual engagement with your brand:


Looking at an engagement rate in isolation does not indicate a whole lot. Measuring a passive act by consumers (double tapping as they scroll down a seemingly endless feed) does not actually indicate anything about the level of engagement and the connection a consumer makes with the brand message. "In my view, a healthy engagement rate that is improving over time is the key social media metric that each brand should closely monitor," says Heba Sayed, Marketing Manager at IBM Watson Customer Engagement, Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. Marketers should shift their focus away from how high the engagement rate is to focus instead on the health of that rate.

Heba Sayed, Marketing Manager at IBM Watson Customer Engagement, Middle East, Africa, and Turkey

Is it improving over time? Is that improvement reflected in an improvement on other metrics? Does it amplify the brand image and message? "This takes a lot of work from the brand, though, to be able to generate a consistent drumbeat of messaging and content that pleases its audience and inspires action," Sayed explains. "But it's an effort that will be highly rewarded!"


Delving even deeper into the quality of engagement, Klime Mickovski, Acting Head of Product/Head of Data & Insights - Digital at Sky News Arabia, advises marketers to use daily active users as their key metric. "Daily active users are users who visit or interact with a product or service on a daily basis- whether that be a company's website, social channels, or app," he explains. "This means that your daily active users are actually true loyal fans who have your brand top of mind."

Klime Mickovski, Acting Head of Product/Head of Data & Insights - Digital at Sky News Arabia

"They are a gold mine in terms of embodying and spreading your message. The number of daily active users is a far more superior metric to the number of followers, as it measures the actual brand loyalists who spread your brand awareness and reach, and at the same time, also directly impact the digital revenue you generate, as they consume most of your monetizable inventory. If brands prioritize the number of daily active users as their growth metric, they will be able to expand both their audience and revenue."

Related: How To Choose The Right Digital Marketing Agency For You In The Middle East


Benchmarking results is an important habit that can drive marketers to achieve more and perform better. This is certainly an outlook that Jamal Al Mawed, founder and Managing Director at Gambit Communications, also subscribes to. "All the current metrics such as reach, impressions, hits, interactions, engagement, etc. are just numbers, unless we are looking at the fluctuations in them versus our competition, or our own previous history," Mawed says.

Jamal Al Mawed, founder and Managing Director at Gambit Communications

"That's when we can use them to get more insights into what we are doing right or wrong." Indeed, consistently monitoring both your brand, as well as its competitors can present a great array of data to be used for actionable insights. The best practice for marketers would be to keep tabs on results over time, and deep dive into steep fluctuations to understand what's working and what's not.

Related: Five Key Aspects SMEs Should Consider For Their Digital Strategy In The Middle East

Wavy Line
Lama Abdelbarr

Digital Communications Lead - Middle East & Africa, Talkwalker

Lama Abdelbarr leads on digital communications for Middle East & Africa at Talkwalker.

Talkwalker is a media monitoring and analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication efforts. Currently, they are the only media monitoring platform that analyzes videos- using Talkwalker, brands can get a 360° dynamic brand view with image, video, and text analysis in one easy-to-use, powerful platform. The platform provides users with access to data across traditional, social, and digital channels globally and covers regional languages, including English, Arabic, French, Hindi, Urdu, and Tagalog. Talkwalker’s proprietary image and video recognition technology gathers 250% more brand mentions than traditional print and online monitoring.

Talkwalker has offices in New York, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Singapore. It is also the home of Talkwalker Alerts, a free alerting service used by over 500,000 communications and marketing professionals worldwide.

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