Content marketing has evolved into a complex and diverse marketing strategy, but the need for accurate attribution has driven that evolution even further.
As agencies switched their focus to digital, content campaigns quickly superseded traditional display advertising. Brands and marketers subsequently began to invest in content in major ways, with the majority of B2B marketers engaging in the practice.
Content publishers tout advantages, such as increased brand affinity, higher site conversion ratios and a desirable ROI. However, not every advertiser has the attribution data to measure how effective the campaign is.
Fortunately for them, successful marketers in the industry have taken a hard look at their content marketing efforts in order to support performance estimates with hard data. Here are just some of the strategies these marketers use to chart metrics and get the most out of their content campaigns.
Look for Engagement, Not Just Impressions
In both the dating as well as marketing world, getting engaged trumps making a good impression. In fact, a low ratio of engagement to impressions can indicate poor creative or non-optimal positioning.
To combat the content equivalent of window shopping, marketers must focus on actions. For example, many marketers now map the customer journey to learn which actions they should prioritize, such as email subscriptions indicating awareness, white paper downloads showing continued interest and shares by customers pointing to retention. As brands prioritize conversions in the customer journey, they can measure and optimize for the corresponding key performance indicators.
“In a sea of content that is competing for a person’s attention, I care more about who is taking an action or interacting with the content and the quality of this interaction. Actions help us get to the greatest truth about what really matters to the consumers we want to reach,” Sadira Furlow, senior brand marketing director of the PepsiCo water portfolio, said concerning these action-driven metrics.
Drive 1:1 Engagement
Going beyond models that seek to calculate ROI, brands such as McDonald’s have embarked on a content publishing bonanza, with the goal of driving a personal level of engagement with their audiences. CMO Deborah Wahl said that McDonald’s goal is to create around 5,000 pieces of marketing this year.
McDonald’s got off to a solid start earlier in the year with a Snapchat geofilter that added a box of its french fries to user snaps. The filter was used 12 million times and generated 308 million views since it launched in 2015. The company also made great strides with its mobile app, which helps drive purchases using push notifications and customized offers based on personal data and variables, such as the day of the week.
The gold standard for Wahl, though, is direct 1:1 conversations with its audience. She notes that even though McDonald’s gets a social mention every two seconds, it only responded to one mention every 10 seconds.
“That means we have a lot of room to go and do a lot more communication,” Wahl said. By increasing direct responses, content campaigns can increase personalized interactions, which form a deeper connection than a mass publishing impression ever could. This allows marketers to move beyond seeing content marketing as numbers game but rather a way to forge coveted emotional connections.