As marketers get more serious about mobile and social, content marketing has become a given. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 88 percent of B2B marketers used content marketing this year. But the content marketing feeding frenzy has also left many marketers scratching their heads when it comes to figuring out which measurements matter.
Here are a few ways your measurements might be misleading.
Your Measurements Are Only Sales-Centric
Of course, a bump in sales is the end goal of content marketing, but if that’s all you’re measuring, you could be missing out, according to strategic adviser Rebecca Lieb.
“Clearly, sales matter,” Lieb wrote for MarketingLand. “But as participation in content initiatives increases and permeates outward-facing and non-marketing divisions such as human resources, customer service and support, product groups, research and development, etc., which we call the Culture of Content, the metrics and KPIs that are applied to content correspondingly shift.”
You Ignore the Customer Journey
And even as we begin to shift those metrics and KPIs accordingly, marketers must remember that content has become increasingly relevant to the entire buyer journey, blurring the divisions between the marketing and sales teams.
Forrester estimates that up to 90 percent of a buyer’s journey has become digital. So it’s up to the marketing team to make sure that consumers are engaging with content, but the sales team must also take their leads from those interactive touch points to guide the buyer through the purchase funnel.
Interactive content can be a boon for brands looking to strengthen the link between the marketing and sales teams. Not only do quizzes, calculators, and assessments increase consumer engagement with content, they boost the quality of data to offer a better understanding of where the buyer is in their journey, resulting in quality leads.
Marketing Goals Get Lost in Measurement
When it comes to content, the sheer volume of data can be overwhelming. According to Robert Rose, chief strategy officer for the Content Marketing Institute, simply watching graphs for an uptick in numbers isn’t a great strategy for understanding whether or not content marketing is effective.
“I often tell clients, ‘Have the capability to measure everything — and then don’t,” Rose says in an interview with the Content Marketing Institute. “Measurement for so long has been about a ‘proof’ that something works, rather than providing an insight into how to improve a process. This is why I sometimes refer to analytics as WMDs — or Weapons of Mass Delusion. We can become so myopic about making sure that the graph is always going up and to the right that we become fearful about trying anything new.”
You Think More is More. Ack!
Instead of searching measurements for proof of success, which leads to blindly churning out still more content, improve upon existing content to get maximum mileage for your marketing budget.
The CMI reports that 76 percent of B2B marketers are going to produce more content in 2016 than they did in 2015. The onslaught of new contents means that not only will consumers be drowning in information, marketers will be overwhelmed with still more data that even they admit they’re not using, since 57 percent of marketers still struggle to measure content effectiveness.
So why not repurpose your most engaging content? For example, if you’ve measured success with an e-book, why not repurpose that information into an interactive infographic? Then create a short, sharable quiz based on the information you’ve just repurposed. This creates a valuable feedback loop of which parts of your content customers are responding to, and it can also inform future content.
As content continues to connect buyers, marketers, and salespeople, we have a banner opportunity to create cohesive strategies for engaging, multi-faceted content. But first, we have to think of measurements as more than points on a graph. Instead, they must be part of a circuitous loop that joins brand with buyer.
How do you accomplish this and how can you improve? Let us know in the comments.
Anna Talerico is Co-Founder of ion interactive.