Get 7 Proven Tactics To Grow Now

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Audience engagement is vital to succeeding in today’s online world. Your website competes against dozens of streaming services, social media platforms, email, etc. The art and science of keeping your audience engaged is crucial to reach your growth goals.

What Is Audience Engagement?

Successful audience engagement happens when people interact with your website and live experiences for prolonged periods. Instead of bouncing away in a few seconds, a highly engaged audience member looks forward to visiting your website and online experiences.

Audience engagement matters for brands and publishers for a few reasons. First, a highly engaged audience is more likely to give you first-party data, fueling high ROI personalized marketing campaigns. Second, audience engagement stretches your marketing budget further because your audience will likely share your content.

Knowing what audience engagement means is just the starting point. You also need practical steps and tools to bring audience engagement to life. Use the growth tactics in the rest of this guide to grow your audience and keep them coming back.

1. Make A Positive First Impression Quickly

First impressions count a great deal in online experiences. Research shows that the average attention span is down to 47 seconds as of 2023. That’s a sharp decline from 2004, when it was 150 seconds, according to research reported by CNN.

To keep things simple, look for negative factors and positive factors. Negative factors are barriers or distractions that make engagement less likely to stick. Positive factors encourage audience engagement.

Negative factors

  • Slow website speed. The overall speed of your website matters. Slower websites are likely penalized in search engines, making your audience less likely to find you.
  • Unclear call to action. Overwhelming your audience with too many options will deter some people from engaging with you. Aside from the homepage and navigation elements, ask yourself if each significant page is focused.
  • Disruptive notifications. Some websites partly or entirely obscure the user’s experience to display notifications (e.g., privacy notifications). While important, excessive notifications make it difficult for your audience to focus on what matters most: your content!

Positive factors

  • Engaging content. Regularly publishing relevant content to your audience is one of the best ways to draw your audience to your website in the first place.
  • User-generated content opportunities. Give your audience a way to share their thoughts and react to your website (e.g., reviews, votes, and polls).
  • Social proof elements. Engagement is more likely to happen when people see others have already engaged with your website. Highlight the best comments, user contributions, and more to send social proof signals to website visitors.
  • Visual content. Look for ways to include visual content like photos, infographics, and videos.

Your user experience (UX), technology, and marketing teams all have a role in making a positive first impression on your audience.

2. Provide Relevant Content For Your Audience’s Changing Needs 

Relevant content is so vital to driving engagement that it needs to be explored further. There are several ways you can drive engagement by increasing relevance. Use the following prompts to look for ways to connect your content with your audience.

Relevance to external events and factors 

Sharing content relevant to current events is a top concern for publishers. Yet, it also matters for brands. Here are a few tactics to ensure your website is relevant to what’s happening in the world.

  • Calendar relevance. The calendar influences what we’re talking about and thinking about. Start by looking at the calendar to align your website with major holidays and seasons of the year (e.g., back to school, the December holidays, etc.). 
  • Competitor relevance. Your competitors should not dictate your strategy. However, if a close competitor makes a significant mistake or launches a new product, your content may want to consider that fact.
  • Economic relevance. The broader economic landscape shapes what people think and worry about. For example, emphasizing value and savings opportunities may appeal more to your audience in an economic downturn.

First-party data

The secret to unlocking relevance lies in first-party data – insights you gather directly from your website audience. This data is far more valuable externally gathering information because it shows what your audience values from you. 

Optimize your audience engagement with first-party data in the following ways.

  • Do more of what’s working. Are you seeing a significant spike in engagement for a specific type of content? Take that signal seriously and explore that theme further in future content and experiences.
  • Create micro content for your audience. Your content doesn’t need to be relevant to everybody in your audience every time. Sometimes, it is better to create content designed to address the specific needs of certain audience segments (e.g., your “VIP” audience members who are most likely to make a purchase).

3. Add User-Friendly Engagement Tools To Your Website

Increasing audience engagement with the right technology is one of the best ways to lift engagement fast. The following tools can help you to lift engagement quickly.

Arena Live Chat

Live chat makes it easy for your audience to send messages to each other, ask questions, vote in polls and more. You can install Arena live chat in minutes, which makes it one of the fastest ways to increase audience engagement.

Arena Live Blog

Covering a breaking news story like a sports championship or election is a powerful way to attract your audience. Arena live blog makes it to draft, edit and publish rapid-fire updates for your audience. When your audience knows they can get quick updates on rapidly changing news stories, they will keep coming back for more.

Video streaming

Live video experiences are an important way to draw in your audience and keep them engaged. For example, live shopping experiences where influencers and others show off products have been proven to drive significant revenue. Selling products isn’t the only way to use live video, either.

Adding video streaming to your website is easy when you use the right tools. For additional tips, see our post: How to stream video with Vimeo OTT In 7 Steps.

You can also use live video to share insights with your audience and gather feedback. Ensure you also have a live chat so your audience can quickly share their thoughts and reactions.

4. Give Your Audience Multiple Ways To Engage 

Your audience has people with different energy levels, interests, and focus regarding your content and brand. Some super fans will create content about your products, like influencers who create unboxing videos. Much of your audience is different: they’re interested in you but may also have other pressing concerns.

Giving multiple engagement opportunities is one way to unlock more engagement from your audience. It’s best to start with simple and easy engagement options since those will apply to many people in your audience.

Live Chat

Coming together to interact with other people in online chat was one of the first social experiences on the Internet. It’s still one of the best ways to interact online today. With Arena Live Chat, you can host a live chat session directly on your website. Setting up a live chat experience takes just a few minutes.

To kickstart the live chat experience, it’s best to have one or two moderators to encourage discussions and take action as needed on inappropriate content.

Social reactions

Make it easy for your audience to like or react to your content. Beyond the usual suspects of social reactions (e.g., like, heart, etc.), go a step further. Look at the different options available on Emojipedia

Emojis in 3D rendering

Arena live chat supports emojis and lets users create an avatar (i.e., upload an image linked to their profile).


When your audience is attending an online event, a poll is one of the simplest ways to spark engagement. In essence, you ask a simple question and allow your audience to vote by choosing an option.

Posting a poll within the first 5-10 minutes of starting an online event is a best practice to keep your audience engaged immediately. Posting more than 2-3 polls over the course of an hour might feel overwhelming, so don’t overuse this engagement tactic.

Question & answer

Giving your audience the ability to ask questions is a powerful way to boost engagement. To see just how powerful question-focused events are, look at Reddit. The social platform often hosts wildly popular “AMA” (ask me anything) with celebrities, authors, politicians, and others.

Be aware that there is a risk of inappropriate content with Q&A (and audience engagement efforts generally). Our final tactic – moderation – will equip you to manage this risk.

Product reviews

Make it easy for your audience to write reviews of your products on your website. Your review activity will only improve if your website forces users to take fewer steps before adding a review. When you see a particularly significant review, go the extra mile and reach out to the reviewer to thank them. If the person has a complaint, reaching out is still worthwhile.

5. Use Exclusivity To Draw Audience Engagement

Offering exclusive experiences to your audience is an age-old tactic to attract attention. It’s one of the reasons that conferences and tradeshows remain so popular. Only so many people will invest the time and money to attend such an event.

With online engagement, there are several ways to leverage exclusivity to lift engagement. If you invite an influencer or celebrity to your niche, you don’t need to go to Hollywood to find someone. Simply look for someone who recently won awards or has a large social media following.

  • Time-limited event. The first way to signal exclusivity is to make your experience time limited. For example, schedule a one-time 60-minute online chat experience. 
  • Limited registration. While technology tools can support many attendees, it is sometimes helpful to go small. Limiting attendance to 25-50 people is an intelligent way to add a more intimate quality to the event.
  • Early access for registered users. Finally, give registered users on your website the first opportunity to register for the event. Giving users advance access is a great way to reinforce the value of registration.

6. Find Breaking News Opportunities To Spark Audience Engagement

Breaking News room

This tactic is suited to publishers and news organizations. You can boost audience engagement. For example, think about sports events like March Madness. Elections, court trials, and essential company news (e.g., an Apple or Facebook conference) all represent other breaking news opportunities.

To leverage these opportunities, get ready with the following tips.

  • People. Put together a list of people who will contribute to your live blog coverage. A combination of in-house staff and freelancers is often helpful.
  • Tools. Use Arena Live Blog so that your contributors and editors can easily submit updates and get them posted directly to your website. 
  • Process. Give guidance to your staff on how you will approach breaking news. For example, you may want to streamline your fact-checking and editorial process to a degree.

7. Use Moderation To Keep Engagement Brand Safe

Opening your virtual doors to your audience is a wonderful way to lift audience engagement. That said, it does carry some risks. Remember when people “Zoom bombed” online events with offensive content? Offensive language, off-topic comments, and more are all possible when you bring people together online.

Moderation is a crucial way to solve the inappropriate content challenge. Arena gives you several tools to moderate audience engagement experiences effectively.

Automated moderation

Arena live chat has automated moderation features like a profanity filter. This capability means that you can prevent most offensive language from making it into your chat session. 

Manual moderation

For an added level of assurance, manual moderation is a great choice. Manually screening questions during Q&A sessions with important guests is often wise. Without moderation, the discussion may wander from the primary topic.

Discover How Arena Can Grow Your Engagement

Adding Arena to your website is one of the fastest ways to increase engagement. You can break free from social media platforms like Facebook, Slack and Instagram and build a community right on your website. Learn more about how Arena can help you grow audience engagement.

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