I posted Online Engagement — Is it MPH or MPG or just a Measure of the Site Itself with no Relevance to Visitors at all? last week about all the goings-back-and-forth about online engagement and how (in my opinion) the talk is for naught. I was really tempted to entitle that post “John The Baptist on Online Engagement”.
Well, no sooner have the camps been pitched about online engagement than online engagement’s little friend, Satisfaction has become the metric term du jour. Like online engagement, there must be lots of money in satisfaction because everybody wants you to know that nobody else but them knows what it means.
I got involved in a provocative conversation at the eMetrics SF08 Industry Insights day on this subject. The original conversation was that satisfaction and online engagement are two unrelated metrics. I strongly disagree and as before, my disagreement comes from studies in “how people interact with information in their environment”. That’s a NextStageish way of saying “how visitors respond to websites” and encompasses a whole lot more than websites.
First, Fix The Scale
I wrote in Eric Peterson’s Engagement Project and the Engagement Equation, Part 1 and several other places that “trust” scales from negative to positive, not “none” to “all” which is what many people believe.
Psychodynamics and related sciences indicate that engagement and satisfaction share this “negative to positive” aspect. People can be strongly engaged negatively or positively. It’s very likely you’ll focus all your attention on a spider if you have arachniphobia. You’ll be completely engaged, simply not very happy.
Like all such sliders, right in the middle is the “0” point. That point is where there is literally no engagement, none, nada, zip, zero. This is where you simply don’t care either way. You’re at the 0 point on this scale when you’re flipping channels because nothing on TV is engaging you enough — peaking your interest enough — for you to want to watch it.
Satisfaction is also one of these sliders and like engagement and trust, it has a 0 point right in the middle. I’ve shown the satisfaction slider vertically on the right to make the next parts of this discussion easier to follow.
Where do Engagement and Satisfaction Balance?
The only place where engagement and satisfaction look like the old XY plots you learned in high school geometry are when both are zero. This is because the only time you can be neither satisfied nor dissatisfied is when you’re completely not engaged. The moment you become engaged in something — whether positive or negative — you’re going to be either satisfied or dissatisfied by the experience.
Similarly, the moment you become either satisfied or dissatisfied by something you’ll be engaged by it either positively or negatively.
The next post in this series will deal with what different parts of the resulting charts mean for business.
Please contact NextStage for information regarding presentations and trainings on this and other topics.
Links for this post:
- “Know How Someone Is Thinking in 10 Seconds or Less” Half-day training at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, 13 June 08