Creating content without a purpose and without follow-up analytics is the equivalent to golfing without keeping the score.
In today’s digital work, marketers must be able to answer questions such as:
- What is my cost per lead?
- What is ROI on my marketing campaign?
- How many leads do we need in a month to hit our goals?
Marketing Agencies have gotten really good at justifying their roles as partners to their clients. They have added value by producing content, creating memorable and sharable ads, generating leads, enabling sales and much, much more. What they tend to forget to do, however, is to measure how that content is performing. Sure, they may report views and shares, but are they calculating ROI on their content? Most are not.
So where does one start?
First, we must distinguish between content which is posted on a company’s own website and content posted on third party sites, as the content is not only in a different location, it may have also been posted there for different reasons. Attribution on third party content can be calculated using source/medium, which quantifies traffic that is generated and tracks conversions. It’s as simple as that! Adding all source/medium data for posted content would allow you to see the bigger picture and enable the calculation of ROI by estimating resources that were needed to produce the content.
For content that is published under your company’s own blog or website, there are multiple attribution models that are effective, from single touch attribution, conversion on first touch or last touch, or time-based attribution, etc. If you are running a complex multiple touch attribution model, you should consider the content as a channel and assign cost to it based on effort, time and any other expenses that you may incur in producing that content. You can then calculate ROI as you would for any other marketing channel.
Once the ROI has been established, you can justify the effort and possible cost that has gone into the creation of that content. Marketers should go a step further and analyze the result of each and every content piece created, regardless of where it is posted (third party or on their own site).
How to analyze your content:
Most people do a simple analysis of views and/or number of shares to compare content, however, the real power of analytics comes to life when you create a predictive model that is based on variables from your content. For example, you would need to establish a few fields to analyze for each blog post/article written that could look something like this:
- Written By: David, Susan, Rachel, etc…
- Published on: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc…
- Type of content: Info-graphic, Blog Post, Guest Blog Post, Video, etc…
- Topic: Analytics, Marketing, Sales, etc…
- Posted on: Third Party, YouTube, Blog Site, etc…
You can have as many fields as you want, but you need to have enough data to justify the field. If you only have one variable in each field for all of your content, there is really no way to segment.
Once data has been collected collected, you should establish how to measure the success of your content. It could be based on conversions from those landing pages/third party sources, the number of views, number of shares, length of time on site and so fourth. Once these metrics are established, you can run profitability models to establish your best and worst performing pieces of content.
For example, you might find that infographics posted on third party sites on the weekend generate ten times more sales than posting a blog post to your own site on Fridays. The more variables you have, the more specific your results will be.
What to do next?
Once you know the metrics of the most successful content for your business, you can produce more content that will yield the desired results. Analysis should be done on an on-going basis, but depending on the volume of your content, you may want to keep it to a quarterly or monthly activity.
If you have an agency with an analytical team, you are a step ahead already. Marketing analytics agencies will be happy to assist with the analysis of pre-made reports while you focus on creating content.