The five senses of online measurement

Photo courtesy BL4d3RuNr via Flickr

Photo courtesy BL4d3RuNr via Flickr

For a while now we’ve been telling you that there are two basic types of ways to measure your impact on the Web: passive and active. You can look at how many unique visitors a particular blog attracts, an example of passive consumption, or you can look at how many people are sharing your content through inbound links and citations on social news sites, which are measures of active content sharing.

But recently I’ve been thinking things are really a bit more complex than that. Perhaps online measurement more closely resembles the five senses of the body.

1. Sight Metrics. Can you be seen amidst a busy landscape? Are mentions of a company, product, or person discoverable? Ways to measure: Monthly Site Views, Unique Monthly Sessions, Unique Visitors

2. Sound Metrics. Are sites, blogs and users of social sites talking about you?  Ways to measure: Sheer number of mentions as gauged by a social media monitoring solution such as the Cision Social Media Dashboard.

3. Scent Metrics. Okay, people can see and hear you. Do they care enough to stick around and smell what you’re cookin’? Are they clicking on your images, watching your videos, and spending significant amounts of time on your site? Ways to measure: Image/Video Views, Time Spent

4. Taste Metrics. Increasingly, social sites are challenging search engines for supremacy as the primary way we access content. But we still taste test the Web through search. Can people get a taste of what you have to offer through search engines? Ways to measure: Which keywords and other sites are referring the most visitors to your content?

5. Touch Metrics. Are people taking the next step, reaching out and sharing mentions of you that they find interesting? Ways to measure: Inbound links, comments, tweets, citations on social news sites