In this hectic social-media age, becoming caught up in the number of shares, retweets or likes in your post is easy. While these are forms all measure digital accomplishments, the real measurement of success is conversions.

This week, we’re discussing the difference between engagement and conversion, and their relationship so you can better target efforts to meet your goals.

Engagement shows that your audience is listening. Thanks to social media, even non-marketers are familiar with actions indicating engagement:

  • views
  • likes
  • comments
  • sharing or retweeting posts
  • forwarding email.

[Note: A study by McKinsey & Co. showed that email marketing acquired 40 times more converted customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. To learn how video can impact your email campaign, see our episode on the Top Four Reasons to Use Video With Email Marketing.]

Engagement doesn’t always contribute to your bottom line. We discussed CrazyEgg in our episode titled 3 Analytics Tools to Boost Your Bottom Line. Blogging on The Daily Egg,  Ben Shwartz offers great insight on Why Engagement Doesn’t Always Lead to Conversions.

Conversions are actions that bring you leads or close sales. Put simply, they turn an audience member into a customer. For each piece of content, a conversion might be different:

  • downloading an e-book
  • signing up for a newsletter
  • ultimately making a purchase.

If you’re not retail, gaining a customer might mean that someone makes a donation, enrolls in a program or signs up to be a volunteer. For each piece of content, define the ultimate goal.

To acquire conversions, you need traffic. To attract traffic, you need engaging content. Engagement vs. conversion is not a matter of good vs. bad but of two goals that can work together.