User Engagement


What is User Engagement? How to Measure It?

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Team Storyly
May 22, 2023
0 min read

What is user engagement?

User engagement is a measure of how much users are actively participating with a product or service. It encompasses a range of behaviors, such as commenting, sharing, liking, and returning to the product or service over time.

Essentially, it's about how invested users are in their experience, and how likely they are to return and continue engaging with a product or service over time.

An example of user engagement

There are lots of ways that individuals engage with brands. Some examples include signing up for an email list in response to a pop-up that offers a discount for new signups, opening an email campaign and clicking through to a new blog post, and commenting on a brand’s social media content. 

Why is user engagement important?

User engagement is important because it helps to build and maintain a strong relationship between a user and a product or service.When users are engaged, they are more likely to use a product or service frequently, provide feedback, and recommend it to others.

High user engagement can lead to increased customer loyalty, higher retention rates, and ultimately, greater business success. Additionally, engaged users tend to be more willing to pay for premium features or services, further increasing the revenue potential of a product or service.

What Is the Difference Between User engagement and Customer engagement

in short, User engagement focuses on interactions with a digital platform whereas customer engagement encompasses the broader relationship between a customer and a brand across all touchpoints.

The terms "user engagement" and "customer engagement" are often used interchangeably but can denote subtly different aspects of interaction with a business or product.

User Engagement primarily refers to how users interact with a digital platform, software, or service. It focuses on the depth and frequency of user interactions, such as time spent on a website, app usage, clicks, and content shares. The term is often used in contexts where the direct transaction may not be the primary focus, such as with free apps, websites, or platforms where engagement metrics like session duration, page views, and user retention rates are key indicators of success.

Customer Engagement, on the other hand, encompasses a broader relationship between a customer and a business across various touchpoints and channels, including but not limited to digital interactions. It involves not only transactions but also emotional and psychological connections that influence customer loyalty, satisfaction, and advocacy. Customer engagement strategies aim to build long-term relationships, focusing on communication, customer service, personalization, and overall customer experience.

In essence, while user engagement can be seen as a component of customer engagement, particularly in digital contexts, customer engagement represents a wider spectrum of interactions and the overall relationship between a customer and a brand.

What are the Factors that Affect User Engagement?

User engagement is influenced by a multitude of factors, each playing a critical role in determining how users interact with digital platforms. Understanding these factors can help businesses and content creators design more engaging experiences that captivate and retain their audience.

Factors affecting user engagement include content quality, user interface design, personalization, loading speed, interactive elements, relevance, and frequency of updates.

Content Quality and Relevance

The cornerstone of high user engagement is the delivery of content that is not only of high quality but also relevant to the audience. Content must be crafted to meet the needs, interests, and preferences of the users, providing value that encourages continued interaction. High-quality, relevant content fosters trust and credibility, making users more likely to engage regularly.

User Experience (UX) Design

The overall user experience encompasses the ease of navigation, the aesthetic appeal of the interface, and the intuitive functionality of the platform. A seamless, enjoyable UX design is crucial for encouraging users to explore more content, stay longer on the platform, and engage with the available features. Responsive design, fast loading times, and minimalistic layouts contribute to a positive user experience.


Personalization enhances user engagement by tailoring the content, recommendations, and interactions to the individual preferences of each user. By leveraging data analytics and user behavior insights, platforms can create a customized experience that resonates with users on a personal level, making them feel valued and understood.

Social Interaction

Features that facilitate social interaction, such as comments, shares, and likes, significantly affect user engagement. They not only allow users to express their opinions and connect with others but also create a sense of community around the content or platform. Social interaction encourages users to contribute to discussions, share content with their networks, and return to the platform for more interactions.


Ensuring that content is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, is essential for maximizing user engagement. Implementing accessibility standards, such as text alternatives for images, captions for videos, and keyboard navigation, broadens the reach of the platform and invites a wider audience to engage with the content.

Notifications and Updates

Timely notifications and updates can re-engage users by alerting them to new content, features, or activities of interest. However, it's important to balance the frequency and relevance of these notifications to avoid overwhelming users, which could otherwise lead to disengagement.

Incentives and Rewards

Incentives, such as rewards, badges, or recognition, can motivate users to engage more deeply with the platform. These rewards could be tied to participation levels, achievements, or contributions to the community, encouraging a continued and active engagement.

What are the best metrics for measuring user engagement?

Below are some common metrics for user engagement, but the most valuable measurements are always going to be the ones that correspond to your individual goals. If one of your goals for your app is to increase app stickiness, for example, you’d likely want to increase your number of daily active users, but focusing on reducing session intervals (bringing users back to the app more often) might be the first relevant KPI to follow on your way towards that goal. 

Active users (daily, weekly, monthly)

Active users can refer to website or app visitors and can be measured by various time frames, such as daily active users (DAU), weekly active users (WAU), or monthly active users (MAU). Active users can be a valuable metric on its own, for example, 50k DAU, or as a percentage of a total audience as in 3% of an app’s users, open the app daily. 

Session length

Session length refers to the amount of time that a user spends visiting a website, or inside an app. 

Session intervals

Session intervals refer to the amount of time that passes between visits to a website or app. 

App stickiness

When an app is referred to as “sticky,” it means that its users find it valuable and return to it regularly. The measurable components of app stickiness include a low churn rate, high DAU and MAU, an engaged user base, and high retention. 

Retention rate

Retention rate is the percentage of customers who continue to use a product or service over time. 

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is defined as the percentage of prospective or active users who complete a desired action. Within the sphere of eCommerce, conversion most often refers to purchases, but it can also mean email signups, social shares, or loyalty program participation, depending on the goals of the campaign. 

User engagement rate

In its broadest sense, the user engagement rate refers to the percentage of total users who are engaged with a brand, i.e. participating in the social conversation, making purchases and referrals, or interacting with content. 

Churn rate

Churn rate refers to the percentage of customers, users, or subscribers who disengage from an app or brand over a certain amount of time. 

How to measure user engagement

User engagement is best measured by looking at several KPIs rather than just one. While it’s simple to calculate engagement rates with the formula below, it can be helpful to decide which kinds of engagement are most valuable for your goals, and how those can be measured. 

How to calculate user engagement

Tracking user engagement is a great way to see if your strategies are working, and which are most effective.

To calculate your user engagement, first decide on a time frame, and then on a KPI. (See below for some suggested engagement specific KPIs) Then, divide the number of engaged users (those who comment, click, share, or consume your content) by the total number of users over the same period of time. Multiply the result by 100 to express the value as a percentage. 

Formula for calculating user engagement: Number of engaged users divided by the total number of users. The result is multiplied with a hundred to express as percentage.
Formula for user engagement

For example, say a product page devoted to a new collection features a promotional video, a place for comments, a link to share, and a “notify me when available” field. To calculate the weekly engagement rate, take the number of visitors who engaged with the page either by watching the video, signing up for the notification list, sharing with their social circles, leaving a comment, or a combination of these actions and divide by the number of visitors total. When expressed as a percentage, this will give you an engagement rate for the week, which you can then compare to other time frames, or product launches. 

User Engagement KPIs

Click-through rate (CTR)

A click-through rate is the percentage of visitors who click through an ad or message to access more information or make a purchase. 

Time on page

The time on page metric measures the amount of time sent on a specific web page. This can be an especially important engagement metric for content sites since it can often indicate how many visitors are consuming a content piece in its entirety. Longer page times don’t always indicate higher engagement though- sometimes users stall on a page due to confusion, indecision, or abandonment. 

Returning visitor rate

The returning visitor rate is the percentage of website visitors who have been to the site before and can often indicate brand investment or valued content. 


The page-per-visit metric measures the average of how many pages of a website are visited per session. 

Session duration

The session duration refers to the entire length of time that a visitor stays on a website or in an app. Session duration can be evaluated on an individual basis, or as an average taken from all visitors over a certain period of time. 

Retention rate

Retention rate is the percentage of customers who continue to subscribe to a product or service over time. 

What is a good user engagement percentage?

Just as with many metrics of success, there is no single standard of what is a “good” user engagement rate. In order to evaluate your strategies, it’s best to compare against your own previous metrics (can you track an improvement) or seek out rates from comparable companies in comparable industries. By identifying realistic and relevant targets for your engagement, you will be able to craft and track a much more valuable map of progress than by comparing to an irrelevant “standard.”

A person engaged on his mobile phone as expressed through various interactive elements such as number of likes, comments, emails, contacts and favorites on mobile..
An engaged mobile user

Best Tools To Track User Engagement

Tracking user engagement effectively is crucial for understanding how users interact with your digital content and platforms. Various tools are available to help in this regard, each offering unique features and insights.

Below, we'll discuss some of the best tools currently available for tracking user engagement, focusing on their functionalities and how they cater to different aspects of engagement analysis.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is widely used for tracking website engagement, offering data on user behavior, conversions, and marketing effectiveness. It's integrated with other Google services for a versatile analytics experience.

Adobe Analytics

Adobe Analytics provides advanced analytics, ideal for large enterprises needing detailed insights into customer journeys and user segmentation, along with integration with other Adobe products.


Mixpanel specializes in event tracking and user engagement, allowing for detailed analysis of specific user actions and segmentation based on behavior.


Hotjar offers qualitative data through tools like heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys, helping to understand user interaction and identify usability issues.

Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg focuses on visual tools such as heatmaps and click reports to understand user attention and engagement, useful for website design improvements.

Social Media Analytics Tools

Platforms like Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and LinkedIn Analytics provide built-in tools for tracking engagement on social media, offering insights into post performance and follower demographics.

Email Marketing Analytics Tools

Email marketing tools like Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Constant Contact offer analytics for email campaigns, with data on open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.

Customer Feedback Tools

Tools for gathering user feedback like Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, and Typeform are valuable for understanding user satisfaction and areas for improvement.

These links provide direct access to the tools, making it easier for readers to explore their features and determine which tools best suit their needs for tracking and analyzing user engagement.

Challenges in Achieving High User Engagement

Achieving high user engagement is a complex and ongoing challenge for businesses and content creators in the digital space. This challenge arises from various factors, each demanding a unique approach and solution.

Balancing Quality and Quantity of Content

One of the primary challenges is striking the right balance between the quality and quantity of content. While it's important to keep the platform updated with fresh content, maintaining a high level of quality is crucial. Overwhelming users with too much content, or content of low quality, can lead to reduced engagement. Crafting content that is both valuable and consistent in its delivery requires a well-thought-out content strategy and adequate resources.

Navigating Changing User Preferences

User preferences are constantly evolving, influenced by trends, technological advancements, and cultural shifts. What engages users today may become obsolete tomorrow. Staying attuned to these changes and adapting content and strategies accordingly is vital. This requires continuous market research, user feedback analysis, and agility in implementing changes.

Technological Constraints and Optimization

Technological limitations, such as website speed, mobile optimization, and overall user interface design, can hinder user engagement. Ensuring that a website or app operates smoothly on all devices and platforms is a significant technical challenge. Regular updates, optimization, and embracing new technologies like AI for personalization are necessary to overcome these constraints.

Privacy Concerns and Data Usage

In an era where data privacy is paramount, using user data to enhance engagement, such as through personalization, must be balanced with respecting user privacy. Ensuring compliance with data protection regulations like GDPR and maintaining transparency about data usage are crucial. Violating user trust can lead to a significant drop in engagement.

Creating a Strong Brand Connection

Developing a brand identity that resonates with the target audience is challenging. A strong brand connection is essential for long-term engagement, but achieving this requires more than just a good product or service. It involves storytelling, consistent brand messaging, and building emotional connections with users.

Competition and Market Saturation

The digital space is highly competitive, with numerous businesses vying for user attention. Standing out in a crowded market and capturing user interest is increasingly challenging. Innovative strategies, unique content, and understanding what makes the brand unique are essential to overcome this challenge.

Measuring Engagement Effectively

Finally, accurately measuring user engagement and interpreting the data can be challenging. The metrics of engagement (like time on site, page views, social interactions) can vary in their significance depending on the context. Understanding which metrics truly reflect user engagement for a particular platform and using that data to inform strategy is a complex, yet crucial, task.


Team Storyly

Group of experts from Storyly's team who writes about their proficiency.