Better Know a Chartbeat – Engagement Module

In the first installment of our “Better Know a Chartbeat*” series, I’d like to take a look at one of the powerful modules that is unique to chartbeat, the “Engagement Module.” 

Historically, most people define “Engagement” at a site level using traditional analytics metrics like Session Duration, Page Views Per Session, Bounce Rates and others.  And they’re right to focus on these metrics.  Long-term improvements in these core measurements are and should be extremely important to site editors.

However, there are many important and timely page-specific engagement questions that traditional analytics tools and metrics prove largely incapable of answering (and due to the limitations of the ways they get their measurements, won’t be able to answer).

  • Are people sufficiently engaged with a page or is it just sitting idle on their browsers?
  • How much of the page do people actually look at?
  • Are people coming to the page and leaving quickly?
  • Are people spending as much time on the page as I think they should?

The chartbeat “Engagement” module, by design, provides site editors with the numbers needed to get greater page-specific insight.  After pivoting on a page (by clicking on one of the articles in the “Top Pages” module), the engagement module that pops up on the left is broken up into three sections: Reading/Writing/Idle, Minutes on Page, and Scroll Depth.

These dials enable site editors to see what visitors are actually doing on the page; specifically, has there been any kind of activity that would suggest engagement such as mouse movement or scrolling, typing, or just letting the page remain idle or in a different tab.  Knowing this can be very powerful:

  • High percentages of engaged (reading + writing) users, but fewer total viewers may mean that page is a great candidate for promotion or change of title
    • You’re hiding a great story under a bad headline or bad visibility
  • Lots of people writing could indicate that the page’s content resonates particularly strongly with visitors
  • Higher percentages of idle users might mean that the story isn’t as engaging as you originally thought

Minutes on Page
The next section provides a histogram of how long the visitors currently on the page have been there, broken out by their level of interaction.  With this breakdown, site editors should be thinking:

  • How long are visitors actually engaged on this page?
  • Are people spending as long as they should on this page?
  • Are people leaving the page too quickly (i.e. not sticking around after the 1st minute)?

Scroll Depth
This section provides a vertical histogram indicating how far down people are scrolling on the particular page with brighter colors indicating a higher concentration of users in that region (it’s also annotated with the number of visitors in that bucket).  Take a close look at the numbers:

  • Are visitors seeing the whole article?
  • Are visitors getting to important links and videos?
  • What’s the best place to put ads?

Getting a feel for these numbers, and recognizing when they are indicating unusual and actionable levels of engagement (positive or negative), should help editors figure out what they can do to take advantage of or fix “Engagement” abnormalities (and measure the results of those actions).  Of course, there are many other quesitons to think about in addition to the ones we posed above and many other key insights to be extracted from the engagement module.

But the most important point we wanted to drive home is that “Engagement” should not be thought of as purely a site-level concept, but that by using and understanding the power of chartbeat, it is possible and easy to understand “Engagement” at the page-level.

Are you using the engagement module in interesting and exciting ways?  We’d love to hear from you.  Shoot us an email at

P.S. For another interesting view of engagement, try clicking on the engagement module.

* Our homage to Mr. Colbert

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