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The great debate: Content marketing metrics that matter

We came across an interesting debate via The Content Marketing Institute, concerning key metrics that tracked content marketing success. Such metrics keep many a content marketer awake at night. On one hand, we want unifying metrics that enable us to benchmark performance against competitors. On the other, we want metrics that are relevant to businesses’ needs.

The author of the CMI article reached out to a number of senior content marketing execs to elicit their responses. As you can imagine, they were many and varied. So we thought we’d pose the same challenge to our Content team at Resolution.

WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE CONTENT MARKETING ROI EQUATION? WHAT METRICS MATTER MOST?

Dimitri Metaxas, Managing Director

“Quality of content engagement trumps quantity every time. I often ask marketers whether they would prefer to ensure their content reaches 250,000 people or deeply engages 2,500 people and I believe that content marketing’s true value comes in the latter scenario. For an advertising industry used to talking in audiences of millions it takes time for some to get their heads around this. Good content attracts people, while great content resonates and changes behavior. Any measurement put in place should focus on capturing this resonance and behavioral change as best as it can. Ultimately, we are not in the business of publishing for the sake of it. As such we need to measure our content’s impact on activities both online and offline. Sophisticated Analytics models and Tag Management Solutions can give us a lot of insight on this. These methods can help quantify content contribution, funnel attribution and even segment consumers based on content consumption behavior. In all cases, content marketing effectiveness is a long-term game.”

Meredith Tuqan, Group Director – Content

“When setting core metrics and KPIs, it’s imperative to ensure they exist in the process of content development and not only at the outcome of content production. This ensures performance against strategic goals. Our role as content marketers is to develop content which drives valuable customer action, so we must align our efforts with key business goals.

With this in mind, we need to ask questions at each milestone and set KPIs at each point, such as:

 1.     Have we done our due diligence in understanding our customers and their content consumption behaviors?  

2.     Is the content marketing strategy in tune with both our business’ goals and our customers’ needs?   

3.     Within the overarching content marketing strategy, will our content distribution strategy ensure we reach our intended audience?   

4.     Once accessed, is our content networked, tracked, shareable and visible?

5.     Does our content drive valuable customer action?

The value of customer action, or ROI measure, needs to be outlined in the strategy phase of content marketing efforts, not as an afterthought. Each business varies in its measure of what ROI is, hence KPIs will necessarily differ. For instance, a major FMCG may be looking for reach and awareness, so content virality will be an indicator.  On the other hand, an insurance firm may be looking for qualified leads, thus successful customer profiling and targeting at both the research and activation stage will be an ROI indicator.  

While KPIs traditionally measure outputs, they should also factor in key process inputs, in order to ensure content marketing efforts deliver business results.”

Samer Chehab, Associate Director – Content

“The question of metrics is one that is evolving. The methodology and weights that brands assign to different metrics can and should vary depending on individual priorities and objectives. For example, a brand that poses a question to its fan base might want to assign a higher weight to comments than shares if measuring qualitative feedback is the goal. These weights should be changed according to the content, campaign or channel. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all secret formula, it’s important for content marketing agencies and brands to customize the weights and values of different ROI metrics.

As digital media consumption changes, we’re seeing answers to this question evolve as well. For example, the way people engage on social has changed dramatically in the last six years. Now, engaging with brands is time-consuming and needs to offer value to the consumer. That sentiment will continually push us as content marketers to tweak our understanding and approach of content marketing ROI and metrics.”

Adrian Turcsan, Associate Director – SEO

“Today’s online content should not be static, but dynamic. Content works best when it is in motion; constantly and systematically evolving. By being tested and optimized, content needs to grow and adapt to users and their changing needs. Only then will it help achieve goals set for any website, as dynamic content is loved by both the audience and search engines. Based on this, content effectiveness and performance should be measured from multiple angles; freshness, visibility, reach, share, engagement and conversion rate. All these need to be embraced in a weighted single metric or score. This allows for a breakdown of these measurement factors for the sake of individual improvement. But at the same time it helps simplifying measurement across various pieces and types of content while embracing an ROI centered measurement approach.”