Although content marketing has become a reality in the global market and its popularity has increased significantly over the last few years, its effectiveness remains difficult to measure.
Despite the rapid growth in the value of the content marketing market, there are no official standards or metrics appropriate for content marketing. Quantitative data from campaigns from different publishers is often inconsistent or incomplete. In qualitative campaigns, qualitative measures are also important, eg:
- will the users to whom the content reaches match up with the target group,
- will social interactions be positive and affect the brand image,
- what will be the time type indicators on the page and the number of hits per user.
Content marketing – it works
Marketers have a subcutaneous feel that content marketing allows for a higher ROI in the world of excess marketing messages. They are increasingly boldly using the support of publishers or influencers, and also set up their own company blogs.
The world is getting information about attempts to measure the effectiveness of large content marketing campaigns. For example, Kraft estimated that as part of their content campaigns, they generated an equivalent of 1.1 billion ad views. Thanks to this, it has received a four times higher return on investment than in the case of traditional, targeted advertising.
Measurements of investment effectiveness in content, however, are not reserved only for global corporations. There are ways for smaller companies to implement simple methods for measuring the effectiveness of content marketing.
Do not give up measurements
Although the effectiveness of content marketing is difficult to measure, it is not worth giving up measurements altogether. The efficiency study is one of the key points of the content strategy. It is worth paying attention to the fact that different companies have different goals and expectations in relation to the measurement, and hence – it can not be reduced to a common denominator.
Generally, marketers try to determine what resources were invested in the campaign and what was the return on investment (ROI). An ROI may or may not have a monetary value. As an example, you can give a hypothetical social campaign to reduce emissions and thus reduce social costs.
According to experts from the Content Marketing Institute, measuring the effects of content marketing activities can be divided into four categories:
- Measurement of activity parameters
The basic activity parameters are the number of visits, visits, unique users, time spent on the website, bounce rate and the number of downloads in a given time interval. These are really important indicators by which you can estimate the value of the campaign for the brand. On the basis of activity parameters, users’ involvement can be assessed, also for the purchase funnel.
Which in practice mean selected activity parameters:
– a large share of new unique users – it signals that the text attracted people who were not previously in the ecosystem of a given brand. And the new user is a potential new client.
– much higher than the average number of PV / UU – it means a large cross-section within a single text. The text could be so engaging that users would go to his next subpages or just browse the photo gallery.
– time on the site – this is one of the most important quality measures. If the average time on a given text is greater than the average time on the site, it means that the target group has been heavily involved in the message and will probably be happy to read the subsequent texts published on the site. Involved readers are the most valuable assets of the brand because the likelihood of conversion increases.
– bounce rate – this indicator is useful when building your own media by the brand. It shows whether the user visiting the text came out of it after reading it or whether he started to wander around the site. If the bounce rate is low, it may mean that the reader has considered the content valuable and will come back to it.
Of course, the above parameters may have a slightly different meaning on their own channels than on external sites.
- Lead generation
Many companies evaluate their content activities through the prism of leads. The lead generation model is relatively simple to create. We estimate how much it costs to create and distribute a single text and how much a single lead is worth.
For example, if the creation and effective distribution of one text costs PLN 7,000, and the new lead is worth PLN 70, then we have to earn min. 100 leads so that the investment in content is returned.
However, if the company considers leady to be the only measure of content activities, then erroneous conclusions may arise. At present, in times of excess information, it is difficult to get the user to leave the lead after the first contact with the brand. It takes time to gain his trust. The first step should be to encourage you to return to the content (for example, it is favored by social media).
Buzzfeed’s research on the Virgin Mobile brand showed that, on average, 4.1% of consumers consider this brand in the process of purchasing telecommunications services. However, after 5-9 contacts with advertiser’s content on Buzzfeed.com, this readiness increased to 15.5%.
Acquiring leads belongs to the final stages of the sales funnel – it is worth remembering this by estimating the effectiveness of actions through content.
- Sharing in social media
An increasingly important measure of content marketing activities is activity in social media. On the one hand, social activities are a part of building the distribution of activity to texts, on the other hand, more often they have a value in themselves. Facebook strives to keep as many users as possible in its ecosystem – photos, videos or short posts are placed directly on the website. Therefore, the reach of the post becomes an increasingly important measurement tool that shows if he was readily watched. Additionally, the number and type of response to post is a measure of commitment. As research shows, however, likes are not strongly correlated with the post’s clickthrough rate. Certain types of content evoke reactions (eg people identify with the message), but do not necessarily click on the article link. The opposite situation is the case when people for some reason do not want to manifest their relationship with the topic, but they willingly go to the publication to find out more.
Finally, the final confirmation of the effectiveness of content marketing activities is the impact on sales. If it is conducted only online, then a well-configured analytics will allow to determine how marketing activities affect the purchasing decisions of users.
How to combine it all? What measures to use?
There are synthetic measures that allow a comprehensive estimation of the return on investment in content marketing. Although they are certainly not very precise tools, they nevertheless allow to approximate the effect of the campaign.
One of them is the ROI calculator by frac.tl. It allows you to enter spending on a content campaign and campaign parameters – the amount of activity generated, the amount of social media sharing, the number of publications and the number of links obtained. You can define a dollar value for each parameter. For example, we determine that one share is worth $ 1.5. After entering the data, the calculator shows us the ROI in percentage terms.
Another method is the study of an advertising equivalent adjusted to the reality of content marketing campaigns (which are quite different from the classic PR).
In the PR world, advertising equivalent (AVE) means “an indicator of the amount of money that should be spent on the publication or broadcast of a message if it were an advertisement.” The advertising equivalent, however, is quite a controversial topic. Why? Experts emphasize that over typical PR activities there is no control over advertising activities. In the latter case, it is possible to control both the message and the distribution channels quite precisely. PR is much more lively. There is no guarantee that the editor will cover the topic in the way the company wishes. The negative transmission control measures are also limited. This puts into question the possibilities of shaping a coherent distribution ecosystem and strengthening the flow of users between the channels.
It is different in the case of content marketing activities. Here, unlike PR’s, we have more control over what the message will be and how it will be distributed. Despite this, we still can not predict the value of the campaign, because this largely depends on whether content fits the recipients’ tastes and whether it will be passed on. The context of the discussion is also important – it is not always favorable to the brand.
Following the guidelines formulated in the Barcelona Principles by members of the AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication), Newspoint has developed a Complex Media Value (CMV) index that helps, more fully than the classic AVE, measure the value of network communication. For web sites (content created by editors), the CMV algorithm takes into account the following factors:
– number of unique users and page views of a given portal (Megapanel survey, programs estimating these values for small pages),
– prices of sponsored articles for a given portal,
– saturation of the article with keywords,
– place of publication on the article website (main page, section, subsection),
– frequency of appearing of new materials in a given website,
– readers’ activities (comments, likes, ratings),
In contrast, the CMV algorithm for social media includes advertising prices within a given social platform, as well as social coverage (metadata), i.e .:
– number of followers,
– number of reactions (and their type),
– number of shares,
– number of comments.
Best case – Deutsche Bank Polska
We will take a content campaign for the workshop carried out by the Bazgroł agency for Deutsche Bank Polska. In February-March 2017, five guide and contextual texts on investing financial surpluses were created. They were published in various media – including Forbes.pl, InnPoland, Bankier.pl, Next.gazeta.pl and on the blog Tasteaway.pl. Thanks to cooperation with Newspoint, we analyzed this campaign for Complex Media Value (CMV).
The assumption of the campaign was to create content that is interesting for a specific group of recipients, current and also those that, due to substantive value and expert knowledge, editorial offices willingly promote with their channels. For example, at Forbes.pl, a text appeared under the perverse title “Why do you earn more, the more you spend? How do you break a vicious circle? “And at InnPoland -” Totolotek, Forex – or how do Poles protect themselves for worse times? “. Both texts included a range of factual information useful to those interested in investments.
One of the determinants of involvement can be the number of likes, sharing on social networks or ratings. The article on Forbes.pl was recommended by the readers themselves using the Facebook social plugin up to 321 times. In addition, the post with a link to the material that appeared on the fanpage of the portal was shared over 40 times and received nearly 150 reactions and 21 comments.
Based on the estimated number of page views and the number of interactions in social media, Newspoint calculated the CMV in monetary terms. The campaign received CMV close to PLN 103,500 and ROI at the level of over 220%.
The obtained results depended only to a certain extent on the statistics guaranteed by the publisher. The real value determining the high return on investment in content is determined by users acquired above what the publisher guarantees (a signal that the text reads well, is interesting and contains valuable content for appropriately defined recipients) and social interactions.
At this point, it is worth noting the additional advantages of such a campaign. The texts contained links to specialist information on investments placed on the landing pages. Thus, by gaining the appropriate context, readers did not accidentally enter it, and from the conviction that the information contained in the material should be expanded with more detailed knowledge. One of the services generated time spent on the landing page of the platform enabling creation of personalized fund portfolios – db Navi – amounting to 6:46 minutes.
The above material shows that well-planned content marketing activities can provide a successful campaign. Therefore, it is worth implementing them and monitoring their effects. Although the analysis of such campaigns is not easy (as demonstrated above), using the right tools is the most possible way. Thanks to it, it is possible to identify activities that have brought the best effect and develop them, thereby increasing the effectiveness of our activities.