Good question! While I agree that traditional metrics (bounce rate, time on site, etc.) may not be directly useful, the same metrics may be more meaningful when seen at a more micro level.
A 56% bounce-rate or average time of 142 seconds per visit at website level may not tell you much about the content/user-engagement, but add some additional layers like traffic-source and landing page, and this will become very useful.
    
This should be clearer with three distinct cases below:

  1. Restaurant-hotel specific page: If the user lands on a hotel/restaurant specific page through a Google search (Very often, you’ll find Yelp pages of restaurant listed higher than that of the restaurant itself) and leaves without clicking on any other page, you may not have much to worry about. You may actually congratulate yourself for good SEO: User was perhaps looking for just the hotel address or phone number for a specific hotel and yours was the first page in search results.
  2. Internal search results page: If the user lands on your search results page through a Google search (Example: A Google search for “indian restaurants in Berkeley” may lead to a Yelp search page for “indian restaurants in Berkeley”), you may be more worried than in previous case, but still things are not that bad. Perhaps, your search algorithm is not producing relevant results, or may be the layout of the search page needs restructuring.
  3. Paid search/external campaign landing page: Finally, if the user lands on your page through a paid search and leaves without converting (no matter how you define conversion), you are losing money on each such user. For this case, a high bounce rate may be a very bad news!

    Some additional ones that websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc may use to measure user-engagement:

    • Conversion: For any website, this is one of the biggest engagement metric. The definition of conversion would vary from website to website and industry to industry. In the case of the mentioned websites, some possible conversion metrics would include: Booking hotels, reserving a table at a restaurant and claiming daily-deals (like Yelp offers).
    • Number of Reviews/Number of unique reviewers: Since these websites are almost wholly about user-generated content, these are two very important metrics. While the former metric is a measure of content-generation, the latter is a good measure of website’s most highly engaged users, i,e, the writers.
    • Frequency of visits: If the frequency of visits for a user (Tracked via login or cookies) is fairly high, there may be no cause of concern, even if the average time per visit is low. This is especially true for websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Taking a personal example: Even as a Yelp addict, my visits to the website/iPhone app are fairly short: very often less than a minute! But the number of these visits more than make up for the short duration.
    • Internal search usage: More often than not, visitors on these websites are not looking for a specific hotel/restaurant. They are looking for a type of restaurant/hotel in a specific location. (4* hotel in New Orleans or Ethiopian food in San Francisco, CA). If I am Yelp, I would be more concerned about the frequency of usage of the search functionality and the rate of click-through of the search results, and relatively less about the time that they spent on individual pages. Of course, I would like to see some conversion, but at least, I know the users are sufficiently engaged.
    • “Upvotes”, “Follows” and other interactions between users: Most of these websites  have a built-in up-voting mechanism (“Mark as helpful”, “Like”, Vote as “Cool”/”Funny”) that allow users to Vote up quality content. Similarly, many of these websites allow users to follow each other or add them as a “friend” or leave other users a compliment. While at the individual level, this is useful to identify quality content and power-users, at the website level number of such interactions can also be considered a great metric for user-engagement!
    • Check-ins: Most of these websites (at least I know about urban spoon and Yelp) allow users to “check-in” at hotels/restaurants. If your users remember to check-in on your website at a restaurant in the middle of a party/date, it’s good news for you: they are highly engaged!
    • Social media sharing: Finally, a good measure of quality content and user-engagement these days for any website is the content shared on popular social networks. This indicates that the content is not only good enough to be read, but also interesting enough to be shared with friends.

    See question on Quora

    Continue reading about User Engagement : What are the best metrics for measuring user engagement on service review/content sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor?

    Archery (Women) team event is on July 29, and that may be India’s first realistic Gold prospect. Deepika Kumari is ranked #1 in the world. So chances of individual Gold are stronger than a team Gold, but for that you will have to wait till August 2.

    I agree with the Anon user that registering a double digit Gold medal is an unrealistic expectation, but expect this to be India’s best ever Olympics both in terms of Gold and total medal tally.

    Some events where I am hopeful:

    • Archery
    • Tennis (At least mixed Doubles)
    • Badminton
    • Boxing
    • Wrestling
    • Shooting

    I hope Hockey team manages to surprise by getting a Bronze, but that may be being a bit over-optimisitic.

    See question on Quora

    Continue reading about What event provides India with the chance to win their first gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games and break into double digits for gold?

    I am a tech-geek, who would happily pay 99 cents (Sometimes even more) for an app that I like, or sometimes even to try a cool idea. But most of the times, even I think twice whether I really need an app if I have to pay for it. And i know many of my friends, who would not buy any app, unless they are totally convinced that they need it.

    Here are some things that may be affecting consumers’ behavior:

    • Anchoring: People are used to have free apps, but not free desserts. An on-the-house dessert at a restaurant always feels like a generous offer. But keep this offer on for about 25 days, and on 26th day, you will hardly find any customers ordering desserts. You have anchored them into believing that desserts should be complimentary with the dinner.
      Similarly, a good number of apps are free, and this has anchored consumers to believe that apps should be free. I find it funny when I see adjectives like “greedy”, “not cool” and “unfair” being used in reviews and forum-discussions for app-makers, who try to monetize the efforts that they have put into their app. 🙂
    • Problem of plenty: Gone are the days of “There’s an app for that!”. Today, it is “There are (many) apps for that!” For free apps, most users won’t mind if they have multiple apps serving similar purposes on their smartphone (Example: I have both Shazam and SoundHound). But between multiple paid apps serving the same purpose, the users sometimes need to put some thought to decide which one would you buy. And a good number of times, the comparison never completes, and the purchase never happens!
    • Possibility of substitution:A dessert is a dessert, and perhaps can be substituted only by another dessert. Not so with apps. There are lots of substitution options available. Other apps on the same phone or sometimes their PC equivalents too! For example: Do I really need to pay $1.99 for “Craigslist mobile” for my iPhone when I know that I hunt for rental apartments only in the night, when I can search for it on my PC? And if it is really needed, I can simply go to my iPhone browser and search the listings.
    • Consumption pattern: If you pay $8 for a dessert, you consume it right then: all of it! Now, take out your iPhone and start going through the apps (Both free and paid) that you have used more than 5 times. I bet less than one-third of your apps would fall under this category. This guilt trap of having purchased some apps in past, but never using it, may deter users from spending another dollar for another app, which they know would perhaps never be used beyond the first 2-3 days.
    • Lack of knowledge about legal sharing: This will perhaps affect very few of the users, but the perceived value of an app may increase, and hence, the number of purchases may increase, if people are aware (And I know that many are not)that they can legally share the apps that they have purchased across different devices. Apple allows you to authorize up to five computers to share your iTunes purchases. I guess Android has similar conditions, as long as you are signing in with the same account.

    Yes, many of the above would not look sensible (especially considering that we are talking about less than a dollar here) to a totally rational mind. But when it comes to consumers’ reaction to pricing, you will always find irrational behavior. (On a totally different note, see this: http://m.theatlantic.com/busines…)

    See question on Quora

    Continue reading about Why do people pay $8 for a dessert with no second thought but won’t buy a 99-cent iPhone/Android app without thinking hard if it’s worth it?

    I am a tech-geek, who would happily pay 99 cents (Sometimes even more) for an app that I like, or sometimes even to try a cool idea. But most of the times, even I think twice whether I really need an app if I have to pay for it. And i know many of my friends, who would not buy any app, unless they are totally convinced that they need it.

    Here are some things that may be affecting consumers’ behavior:

    • Anchoring: People are used to have free apps, but not free desserts. An on-the-house dessert at a restaurant always feels like a generous offer. But keep this offer on for about 25 days, and on 26th day, you will hardly find any customers ordering desserts. You have anchored them into believing that desserts should be complimentary with the dinner.
      Similarly, a good number of apps are free, and this has anchored consumers to believe that apps should be free. I find it funny when I see adjectives like “greedy”, “not cool” and “unfair” being used in reviews and forum-discussions for app-makers, who try to monetize the efforts that they have put into their app. 🙂
    • Problem of plenty: Gone are the days of “There’s an app for that!”. Today, it is “There are (many) apps for that!” For free apps, most users won’t mind if they have multiple apps serving similar purposes on their smartphone (Example: I have both Shazam and SoundHound). But between multiple paid apps serving the same purpose, the users sometimes need to put some thought to decide which one would you buy. And a good number of times, the comparison never completes, and the purchase never happens!
    • Possibility of substitution:A dessert is a dessert, and perhaps can be substituted only by another dessert. Not so with apps. There are lots of substitution options available. Other apps on the same phone or sometimes their PC equivalents too! For example: Do I really need to pay $1.99 for “Craigslist mobile” for my iPhone when I know that I hunt for rental apartments only in the night, when I can search for it on my PC? And if it is really needed, I can simply go to my iPhone browser and search the listings.
    • Consumption pattern: If you pay $8 for a dessert, you consume it right then: all of it! Now, take out your iPhone and start going through the apps (Both free and paid) that you have used more than 5 times. I bet less than one-third of your apps would fall under this category. This guilt trap of having purchased some apps in past, but never using it, may deter users from spending another dollar for another app, which they know would perhaps never be used beyond the first 2-3 days.
    • Lack of knowledge about legal sharing: This will perhaps affect very few of the users, but the perceived value of an app may increase, and hence, the number of purchases may increase, if people are aware (And I know that many are not)that they can legally share the apps that they have purchased across different devices. Apple allows you to authorize up to five computers to share your iTunes purchases. I guess Android has similar conditions, as long as you are signing in with the same account.

    Yes, many of the above would not look sensible (especially considering that we are talking about less than a dollar here) to a totally rational mind. But when it comes to consumers’ reaction to pricing, you will always find irrational behavior. (On a totally different note, see this: http://m.theatlantic.com/busines…)

    See question on Quora

    Continue reading about Why do people pay $8 for a dessert with no second thought but won’t buy a 99-cent iPhone/Android app without thinking hard if its worth it?

    Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on July 11, 2012

    Amit BhatnagarThis is infinite recursion!!Try it out yourself: https://www.google.com/search?q=…See question on Quora

    Continue reading about What is infinite recursion?

    amitbhatnagar on July 9, 2012

    New York City. December, 2009: My NYC based friend had to pick me up from one of the metro stations, but I got down at the wrong side of the station. After about 3-4 calls of “Where exactly are you?” and 10 minutes of searching, we were able to find each other. At that time, […]

    Continue reading about Glympse: Amazing app to “Share your where”