How To Solve the Real Content Marketing Measurement Problem

Anna Talerico

Aug 17, 20163 min read
Real Content Marketing Measurement Problem

Are your content measurements telling the whole story? As B2B brands allocate more and more of their budgets to content marketing, the pressure to perform is greater than ever, and measurements count, both in terms of gauging effectiveness and proving the value of content efforts to the C-suite.

But even as 88% of marketers integrate content into their strategies, concerns over measurement and ROI abound. Are we getting the right feedback? And if not, how should we adjust our strategies to address the issue?

When It Comes to Content, What Are You Measuring?

According to Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer for the Content Marketing Institute, measurements should be less about justifying strategy and more about gaining insight.

“Measurement for so long has been about a ‘proof’ that something works, rather than providing an insight into how to improve a process,” Rose stated in a Content Marketing Institute piece by Jodi Harris. “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. So, building an atmosphere of delivering the RIGHT analytics to the RIGHT manager at the RIGHT time becomes key. Reports of ‘likes,’ and ‘followers,’ and ‘page views,’ and other ‘engagement’ metrics are not only not critical to the C-suite, they are pointless.”


Unfortunately, the ‘classic’ measurements – clicks, downloads, and even shares – don’t really give a lot of information about how audiences are engaging with content, meaning that most content is measured on a pass/fail system that doesn’t give much audience insight.

What Content Marketing Metrics Should You Look At Instead?

At a time when nearly everything is measurable, it can be difficult to narrow down what should be measured versus want can be measured. According to Jay Baer, bestselling author of Youtility, consumption metrics still matter, though they shouldn’t become the be-all-end-all of measurement success or failure. 

“[Consumption] is the most fundamental type of content metric, and is unfortunately also the place where many programs both start and end,” Baer writes. “It’s a critical data point, and is generally easy to derive through Google Analytics, YouTube insights, or similar. The key is to not stop your metrics train at this depot.”

Sharing metrics are also not to be overlooked; they’re a real-time gauge of how audiences are using content, not to mention how much interest content is generating. But, as Baer points out, it can be easy to get swept up in the “sexiness factor” of online popularity without fully understanding what that popularity (or lack of) means in terms of leads and sales.

The real meat and potatoes of any good content strategy comes from measuring its ROI, something 52% of marketers continue to struggle with, according to the Content Marketing Institute. The basis for that struggle could come from a measurement blind spot, where consumption and shares count, but lead generation and sales metrics aren’t getting as much attention as they should be.

Lead generation metrics come from browser cookies, lead forms, or gated content. But the days of gathering leads and handing them over to the sales team are long gone, according to Andrew Nguyen at Bizible. Today, more than ever, the marketing and sales teams need to be on the same page when it comes to measurement, working hand-in-hand to trace leads to sales, following the customer journey through content and down the purchase funnel.

According to Jay Baer, sales metrics are, “Holy grail time...When your crack sales team turns that prospect into a sale, determine the projected revenue and profit (lifetime value if you can) of that customer, and assign it to the content pieces.” 

If your measurements are stopping at shares or you’re feeling a disconnect between lead generation data and and actionable sales insights, it could be time to boost your content to get more insightful measurement for your investment.


Interactive Content: Real Solutions For Measurement Blind Spots 

Interactive content is becoming the go-to way for marketers to solve measurement problems because, unlike static white papers or case studies, interactive content gets users clicking, answering, learning and communicating rather signing up or walking away at a content gate. Having audiences participate in the content experience with quizzes, assessments, and calculators turns content into an educational tool and can create a powerful feedback loop between the consumer, marketer, and the sales team.

In fact, according to a recent CMI study, 59% of marketers found interactive content useful at generating engagement, while 58% found it successful for lead generation. 66% of marketers agreed that audience engagement increased after implementing interactive content, and 75% reported that they plan on using still more interactive content in the coming year.

So why are so many marketers making the switch? The proof is in the measurements. The days of gating content and hoping for an email address could be at a close. Instead, it’s now within marketers’ power to ask users what they want – not to mention measuring and sharing that information with the sales team.

As interactive engagement becomes the norm, it’s no wonder more and more marketers are discovering new ways to ask for the measurements they want, rather than waiting and hoping.

Author Photo
Anna TalericoAnna Talerico is Co-Founder of ion interactive.
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