Most online discussions now happen off-site

For the past few weeks at Cow Digital, we’ve put together a weekly email digest for our clients and anyone in marketing who wants to receive it – this week’s copy is here, and if you want to have it land in your inbox every Weds, sign up here.

One of the items we covered today was the recent Postrank report on blog and website engagement.

Postrank – which we use internally at Cow for measurement – doesn’t look at raw numbers of people visiting a blog, it looks at engagement.   Did they tweet about it, did they tag it, did they comment?

The crux of Postrank’s research is that ‘off-site engagement’ is becoming more popular than on-site engagement.

In other words, no longer do people leave comments at the bottom of an article or post, they are far more likely to click on one of the many ’share this’ buttons that appear on sites to spread content virally via Twitter, Facebook, Digg et al.

According to Postrank, between 2007-2009 onsite engagement dropped by 50% while ‘offsite engagement skyrocketed.’   The presentation below is worth a look.   “Where did all the conversations go” asks Postrank, with the answer being the social web as opposed to your own website.

Slide ten is of particular interest.   Recently I talked about the four hour news cycle thanks to Twitter.

Actually on one hand, Postrank shows that the gap between things being on the social web and being on SEO land has narrowed.   Posts now have a slightly longer life span than they did two years ago, “content travels further and over a longer period of time.”

Having said that, the half life piece of a new piece of content is still one hour –  over 60% of an audience will engage with your piece in the 1st hour of it going up before moving on.

As Postrank asks, “if over 50% of the engagement happens in the first hour, which is also definitely not driven by Google, then how do you optimize and better engage with your audience?”

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