How do we measure engagement?

Joel Weinberger
Implicit Strategies

To gain a true assessment of engagement, we need to measure unconscious as well as conscious processes. But the big question is, how do we measure them?

Engagement is ubiquitous in the jargon of advertising. Its pursuit has become a kind of Holy Grail. It is said with great certainty that for an ad to be effective, it must engage the consumer. It seems self-evident, but is it true? It turns out that engagement is a concept that is a lot fuzzier than is generally conceded and its effects are by no means proven, let alone self-evident.

What is engagement? How do we know whether someone is engaged with an ad? How do we measure degree of engagement? Strangely, engagement is not anchored in any metric and has no agreed-upon meaning. So the first task is to define the concept. If we look at discussions of engagement, three attributes seem necessary. First, any definition of engagement must include capturing attention.