Content Marketing 4: Metrics and Measuring Digital Marketing

Over the last three blog posts we've looked at the various aspects of Content Marketing, from Newsletters, White Papers and Other Essentials and Social Media and Search Engine Optimisation to Search Engine Advertising, Video Marketing, and Communities.

One final thought for our series on content marketing; your efforts should generate numbers, by which to measure your success.

Measurement is a huge topic in itself, but it's worth bearing in mind one important question, which often gets lost when marketing teams sit down to design the metrics they'll report to their board.

What are you trying to achieve?

An email open, whilst gratifying, will rarely be the object of a marketing campaign. A website visit often won't be either – except in the case of open access. And even then you will want plenty of your readership to submit to the journals they're reading.

Your content marketing activity is the top of a funnel, and you're trying to get people all the way to the very last action at the bottom of that funnel. Whether they speak to a sales rep, purchase through an aggregator, buy a book, subscribe to a journal, cite an article, or use new research in the classroom, the end result of marketing activity must be a meaningful one to your business – following you on twitter is a first step, not an end result.

Its also worth trying to work out what a decent sample size is. There's little pointing in wringing your hands in anxiety becuase 30 people on an email list didn't respond to your message, the ones not at a conference are probably on holiday. But if an audience of 30,000 aren't listening, then it's worth rethinking your approach.

At the top end of the funnel you'll be looking for metrics such as:

•    Email campaigns: opens and clicks
•    Social media admin tools to measure success of posts
•    Downloads of whitepapers
•    Clicks on your paid advertising

But once people get to your website you need to be looking out for high bounce rates and single page visits as flags that your visitors don't want what you're offering. If, on the other hand, your analytics shows you lengthy visits and complex customer journeys that encompass book or journal level pages, then you're attracting an audience who are interested in what you do.

You may start your content marketing blind, all campaigns are different, so there’s no way around this. But the good news is that as soon as you begin collecting data, you can use it to assess the value of your marketing spend. Mapping the popularity of different topics, offers you the chance to produce proactive and reactive responses to the information the target audiences are interested in.

And then, you can begin again.

 

Authors: Duncan Enright and Sara Killingworth