In a nod to the quickly evolving world of audience measurement – as well as an acknowledgement that metrics need to develop even more quickly to keep up with behaviour – Facebook used its considerable clout to redefine engagement. It did this the old-fashioned way – tracking how long people spend looking at individual items (in their newsfeed).
Why? Because a like (or don’t like), a comment, or a share doesn’t necessarily = it wasn’t for them.
That’s right – sometimes people just want to see information without putting their stamp of approval on it. That’s a good thing, particularly for global content providers who serve audiences across a wide variety of cultures, some of which would frown upon the acts of liking or commenting.
It’s also a smart move because more and more people, especially in younger demos, are using Facebook much more passively than when Facebook first burst onto the scene. Engagement can mean many things across different media and Facebook has taken a big step in acknowledging audiences can interact with content in many different ways and how we measure needs to account for that.