Over the course of my career as a marketing analytics practitioner and as a Forrester analyst, I’ve tried to tackle some of the most pressing questions around measuring marketing’s effectiveness. I’ve seen a recent surge in marketers using the metric “engagement” as a way to measure marketing success. When I start to question what they mean by the term “engagement” and how they measure it, I’m often met with a flurry of answers, including a running list of metrics, such as likes, shares, or time spent on the site, that marketers think are strong indicators of engagement. My colleague Samantha Merlivat and I decided to research the topic of measuring engagement, and we have just published Measure Marketing Engagement Right Or Not At All. In this report, we share Forrester’s point of view on measuring engagement, including these questions:


  • What does engagement mean?
  • Which metrics are strong indicators of engagement?
  • Should marketers even measure engagement?


It’s important to first distinguish between types of engagement. Customer engagement is marketing's Holy Grail — it determines the level of involvement and influence a customer has with a brand over time. Marketing engagement is slightly different; marketing engagement measures how successful a channel or campaign is in marketing to consumers in a particular phase of the life cycle and moving them onto the next phase. Conflating the two risks over-inflating inferences derived from marketing engagement. In the report, we focus on marketing engagement to help marketers understand the quantitative value of their marketing content.

So, you're asking, “What are the right metrics to use to measure marketing engagement?" We identify three categories of marketing engagement proxy metrics — behaviors, involvement, and emotions. For each of those, we highlight:


  • Why you should track it.
  • What you should track.
  • How you should track it.


Measuring marketing engagement is not for the faint of heart; marketers that are tasked with calculating this nebulous metric must be comfortable with using proxies as a way to infer marketing engagement. The marketing engagement metric is something that is fairly unique across each business, so marketers must take certain steps to ensure they establish a marketing engagement model that works for their specific business and incorporate the metrics that are strong indicators of behaviors, involvement, and emotions.

We’re excited to hear your thoughts on the report and on measuring marketing engagement. If you’re a Forrester client, please don’t hesitate to request an inquiry with Samantha Merlivat or me to discuss the topic further!