When you create content you want your audience to engage with it. So what metrics do you need to measure to see if your audience is engaging and interacting with your content? Measure engagement correctly to comprehend how your audience is responding to your content.
Reach refers to the number of individuals that see your content which can be easily orchestrated. Clickbait, however, is a way of boosting clicks by placing a misleading title onto content. This tactic may drive more visitors to your website, however, they are likely to exit quickly due to false misleading to your website. This brief interaction with your content does not make it a success!
Reach can also be achieved with the use of paid promotion which gets your content out there in front of your targeted audience but does not necessarily mean success as it is paid traffic and not organic.
Track conversions! No matter how engaged your audience is you want them to take action when they visit your website. Create call to actions for individuals to complete i.e. signing up to your email newsletter. Track the performance of that instead of content reach.
Time spent on a page seems like a good measure of engagement, however, although an individual spends time on a page we can not assume they are necessarily reading and engaging with your content. In web analytics, time on a page is determined by visitors who did not bounce/leave within the bounce time and interacted with your website longer than bounce time.
Time on a page is also determined by the first page visit and the next page in a single session, however, individuals often have multiple tabs open jumping from one to another and leave devices for a period of time and come back to them. This artificially increases time spent on page. Track Scroll Depth instead which measure how far a visitors scrolls down on a page which indicates that visitors are making it down to the end of your post.
You want individuals to share your content as it aids with your content reaching more people, however, you should not rely on this metric solely to measure content success. Track comments instead which are indicators that your visitors are truly engaging with your content.