Special Measures: Five tips for measuring content success

Posted by: CMA

You can produce all this great content for your clients, but how do you know – and most importantly how do they know - it’s working for them. That was at the heart of the discussion at the latest digital breakfast at the IAB’s Covent Garden HQ on Wednesday, February 12.

Increasingly, clients are demanding proper measurement and the best Content Marketers are those with the skills to combine great creative content with all the latest scientific tools in their digital toolbox.

But how do you choose from the hundreds of measurement tools that are available to give the client the data they need to measure? Here are just some of the suggestions from our three guest breakfast speakers: Celina Burnett, Deloitte, Social Media Measurement and Analytics; Marcus Taylor, Founder, Venture Harbour; and Andrew Davies, Co-Founder, Content Marketing Analytics, Idio.

1. Ask the client the right questions
According to Venture Harbour’s Marcus Taylor the key to effective measurement is assessing what the client wants to measure. “As long as you know this, measurement should be simple,” he claims.

However, it’s not one size fits all. “Measurement should be unique to the client, it’s not something for which you can produce a boiler plate document.” You also need to ensure that all members of the organisation have the same objectives.

Celina Burnett cites two very different content marketing campaigns that her company Deloitte has been involved in – one for Sony Pictures and another for London 2012 Olympics provider, Locog. Whereas in the case of Sony Pictures the objective was to assess how the campaign impacted on sales of DVDs such as Spiderman, for Locog it was about measuring brand awareness of the games and sentiment towards it. As a result, the tools used to analyse the data were very different.

Explains Celina Burnett: “For Locog it was about integrating online and offline data. We used traditional measurement techniques such as a monthly survey across 2000 people and we also showed different images to assess whether they were looking online or offline.”

2. Avoid ‘analysis paralysis’
Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean that you should! For Venture Harbour’s Marcus Taylor, most clients should have just two or three things they want to measure which match their KPIs – any more than that and it can become a little confusing. For example, with his company website the key measurements are enquiries through the website, links/traffic and email subscribers. “I don’t track likes or tweets because they come from my three objectives.”

3. Pick the right measurement tools
Once you’ve identified the client’s needs, the next step is to choose which measurement tools are best. For Venture Harbour’s Marcus Taylor, Google Analytics will suffice in 95 per cent of cases

However, for bigger clients – especially those who want to measure how people engage with content – more sophisticated measurement tools are required. While some of these are free, some do require a monthly or annual fee.

For Deloitte’s Celina Burnett one of the most popular social media monitoring tools for big clients is Brandwatch which starts at around £500 a month. She also recommends Sprout Social for smaller clients. 

4. Measurement should be integrated part of service
It sounds simple enough, but according to the speakers all too often measurement is seen as a separate service to content production with a separate budget. Says Deloitte’s Celina Burnett: “Measurement should be integrated in what you do all the time, rather than looked at as separate cost. It should be part of what you do every day.”

5. Personalised content can help unlock CRM  budget
The production of branded content is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Not only is it possible to measure how many users are reading and engaging with your content, the latest tools will help you distinguish between individuals with different interests.

One company which offers a particularly advanced solution is Idio. For example, its software can distinguish between two people who seem similar superficially, but are actually very different, claims Idio’s Co-Founder Andrew Davies. An example he gives is Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne who may appear very similar on paper – same age, same number of children, same types of holidays – but are obviously very different types of people.

Idio is even starting to work with clients who are able to use cookies to serve readers with bespoke personalised content. So, for example they could learn from your Twitter account if you were into cycling and guitars and show you cycling and guitar articles on a branded content page.

Not only does this help to drive much higher levels of engagement, it also enables companies to find out much more about their customers – potentially much more than they could find out if, say, they were only selling them a car every three years.

Some conclusions
It was 19th century merchant John Wanamaker who famously said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.” Well the same is true of content marketing. Clients need to be able to measure the success of content marketing campaigns and match them with their business’ KPIs. While for some companies this may be around brand sentiment, others may be using content marketing to drive sales. Certainly there are no shortage of measurement tools out there and content marketers need to be able to identify those that their clients actually need and use them as part of their everyday activity.  

Posted in CMA blog
18thFeb 2014

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