Engagement Levels of the Social Consumer

We often hear the word engagement being thrown around as one of the key metrics used to evaluate consumers’ interaction with a brand on social media. This metric should in fact not be taken lightly, and it is very important that companies develop the ability to identify the potential of each level.

There are 3 main levels of engagement; ranging from consumer-controlled, all the way to company-controlled.

The Consumer controlled level of engagement.

It is important, but is the least valuable of all three levels. At this level, engagement is merely an impression. Content is placed in front of consumers in the form of an ad, and companies are only able to  capture a small window of their attention. This level is usually achieved by unsolicited content showing up on their social feeds. It is hard for companies to gain quality engagement at this stage, as it is dominated by social influencers, friends and videos of cute puppies. Think of it like trying to advertise to someone who fast forwards through commercials. It is unlikely that high levels of engagement will be achieved. Marketers have found a way around this by blending their communications in entertainment and marketing through influencers can more efficiently take advantage of this level through directing messages to a well targeted audience.

The Consumer Rented Attention level of engagement

At this stage, consumers have already made an initial “buy-in” or “interest action”; usually in the form of subscribing to a YouTube channel, following and/or liking a social media page, and similar actions. Since the interest has already been expressed by the consumer, the engagement quality is higher. However, content filters and communication noise still represents challenges to fully engage your community.

Company controlled, or “owned content environments” level of engagement

This level is the most important one and what marketers should strive for.

It is achieved when consumers opt-in to your newsletter or subscribe to your email updates. Consumers have actively asked to receive your content or promotions. This is the level at which loyalty is better built. Companies control what and when the customer sees a communication.

A proper management of this channel and correct treatment towards consumers, will offer you an opportunity to best benefit from this level and potentially turn it into a great ROI for social spending.



Brands need to be creating content and building experiences On and Off-line that drive users to the third level of social engagement.

Key Takeaway: Give people a reason to engage with your brand and continue to build reasons in order to take consumers to the next level.


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