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Tuesday, April 5 • 3:30pm - 4:15pm
S65 - True Impact: How to Measure and Drive Deeper User Engagement?

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User Engagement is a matter of common parlance in today’s business world. Few managers or investors will assess the performance of a business on how many users or hits it has alone; equally, if not more, important is how “engaged” those users are. Metrics such as “active users” have replaced “unique visitors”, in order to provide a perspective not only of the volume of people benefiting from a resource, but also the scale of impact it is having on them.  Steve Jobs once said, “I would rather a business with 100 impassioned users than 100,000 indifferent ones”.
Libraries are catching onto this thinking too. Historically, libraries have had limited tools to monitor or interpret user engagement and this has underpinned the way in which resource development has developed. The traditional approach was the “volume strategy” where, in the absence of insight into our users and with a consequentially hindered pulse on demand, our objective was to provide as many resources as possible at the lowest cost. This has often been dubbed the “just in case” method, where key metrics were volume and cost (e.g. cost per item).
Today, we find ourselves firmly in a time of “ROI Assessment” where, with improvements analytics tools, we can now introduce a perspective of “value” into resource assessment. This heighted focus not just on use, not just volume, has spurred new roles in resource assessment and new models such as “patron driven acquisition” where the idea is to provide a greater breadth of resource whilst more closely aligning our budgets to users’ requirements. This has often been dubbed the “just in time” method, where key metrics are cost per use/user, etc.
But what of the future? The reality is that we currently have no perspective on the true impact of our resources. The “R” in our current “ROI” metrics will only tell us if someone accessed or used a resource – it does not tell us how they used it, why they used it, and what impact it had on them. We foresee a new era of “Impact Value Assessment” emerging that will, as in business, provide libraries with a more accurate way to gauge the true impact or “value” to our end users.
Our libraries collaborated this last year with Kanopy, the video streaming platform, on a project that dove into and explored patron usage behavior (via behavioral tracking tools, events-based-analysis, user surveys, etc) with three objectives in mind:
(1) to better understand not just what our users were using, but why and how they were using it;
(2) to design and build metrics that captured a perspective of end user impact and would complement our ROI analyses; and
(3) to develop tangible approaches for how we could incorporate this information into our acquisition, assessment and promotional activities.
We believe that developing reliable engagement ROI metrics will further transform our approach to resources in the digital age, and bring libraries up to speed with industry best practices.

avatar for Tom Humphrey

Tom Humphrey

Director of Sales & Strategy, Kanopy
avatar for John Jax

John Jax

Associate Professor & Murphy Library Collection Librarian, jjax@uwlax.edu
John has worked for the University of Wisconsin System for more than 23 years, with the last 15 years at the La Crosse campus. Having work and supervisory experiences in and over a variety of library units, including department chair and interim director positions, John is currently... Read More →
avatar for Anne Cerstvik Nolan

Anne Cerstvik Nolan

Collection Strategist, Brown University
Anne has been at the Brown University Library for 26 years, first as Assistant Head of Reference and Head of Interlibrary Loan. Along the way, someone realized that all of the eresources work she had been doing (in addition to the other two jobs) was really a full-time job, and so... Read More →
avatar for Mark Pompelia

Mark Pompelia

Visual + Material Resource Librarian, Rhode Island School of Design, ARLIS/NA Vice-President / President Elect

Tuesday April 5, 2016 3:30pm - 4:15pm CDT
Room 203