Uh-oh. 90% of marketers are unsure of how to measure content marketing.


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Is your content working? Credit: Illustrated London News.
Is your content working?
Credit: Illustrated London News.

A recent report by Contently suggested that 90% of marketers are uncertain of how to measure the effect of their content marketing on wider business goals and success metrics.

This problem is further compounded by several other issues:

Firstly, there is confusion over the purpose of content marketing – is it to “engage” people or to “convert” them?

Secondly, there is a lack of consensus of how to measure content marketing – should content marketers use editorial or business metrics?

Thirdly, the fear pervades that if content marketing becomes truly measurable, then content marketers will be have to be held accountable for ROI.

So, how can content marketers approach measuring the efficacy of their labor?

Editorial vs. Business Metrics

One way to frame content measurement discussions is to split your content measurement metrics into “Editorial” vs. “Business”.

To help delineate between the two; editorial metrics measures the performance of a single piece of content, whilst business metrics measures how engagement with a single piece of content influences a conversion or retention decision.

Examples of editorial metrics might include: pageview counts, unique visitor counts, followers, shares, comments counts, time spent on page, linkbacks and so forth.

Examples of business metrics might include: direct responses (sign-ups, requests for demo/trial), purchases, lead generation, and so forth.

Awareness. Consideration. Conversion.

Another way to measure your content marketing would be against the various stages of the customer journey.

Since an individual’s intent and mindset at each stage is different, so too should be the way you measure the efficacy of your content.

    Awareness and content marketing

Content marketing for awareness is vitally important – particularly as 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine and 75% of searchers don’t move past the first page of results (source: ZMOT). Quality content increases the number of ranking keywords for which your site can rank and surveys report that a majority of online consumers research products via social media before making a purchase.

Measuring awareness might include: improved search engine ranking, increase in first-time web visitors, increase in social metrics (i.e. likes, follows, +1s, RTs, pins, comments, etc.) or an increase in email signups

    Consideration and content marketing

Consideration is important because search engines increasingly rank content based on relevance, time spent on-site per user, amount and age of pertinent original content and social ‘buzz’ about the site.

Furthermore, sites with the magic number of 311(+) indexed pages see an average traffic increase of 236% and a double-digit lead growth (source: Hubspot). Interestingly, 61% of consumers were also said to “feel better” about companies that delivered custom content (source: Customer Content Council).

Measuring consideration might include: increase in page-views, longer visit durations, decrease in bounce rates, increase in social activity or an increase in email click-through and open rates.

    Conversions and content marketing

Content marketing is a wonderful way to enhance the brand’s relationship with customers and prospects, a brand cannot stay in business through measuring engagement alone. If content marketing does not demonstrably ‘move the needle’, why do it at all?

Measuring conversions might include: increase in marketing qualified leads, increase in sales qualified leads, increase in deals closed, increase in deal cycle or an increase in average order value

Prove the value of content marketing

Whilst the above gives helpful metrics of success for measurement – we are still a step away from the end goal: being able to calculate content marketing ROI. Attributing the effect of a piece of content against every dollar invested in content marketing has seemed incredibly elusive and convoluted – until now.

Forrester is now teaming up with idio to bring further clarity to the arena of content measurement and ROI. On Monday 23rd June, 11:30 EST / 16:30 BST, Ryan Skinner (Senior Analyst, Forrester) and Edward Barrow (CEO, idio) will be co-hosting a webinar on measuring content entitled, “Prove the value of content marketing”. To sign up for the webinar, please go here.

Jonny Rose
Idio makes buyer-centric marketing possible for global B2B enterprises. Idio’s Demand Orchestration platform uses Content Intelligence to predict the interests of every individual, and automatically deliver relevant 1:1 experiences across digital channels. Global leaders including Intel, Fitch Ratings, and AllianceBernstein trust Idio’s AI to maximize buyer engagement and pipeline, whilst automating marketing complexity.


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