It has been said that “Technology will never replace a great story, but can enhance it by allowing marketers to plan, curate and distribute more effectively” (Yogel, 2015).
So that being the case, to deliver a truly effective content piece a balance between creative and science needs to be struck.
Perhaps you’ve been in this situation before. Much creative effort is poured into a new content piece which aligns perfectly to your content strategy. The title is catchy and carefully curated imagery works beautifully with crafted copy.
But launch day comes and goes. The piece generates some leads with a good level of traffic, but in the end, it’s no better than the one that was posted a month ago.
It’s easy to just accept that outcome and stick with what you know because it feels that there is no benefit in going the extra mile. But look at the bigger picture.
“Without art, your brand’s marketing has no meaning and without science, it has no direction” (Hess, 2015).
It has been scientifically proven (by “real” scientists, not just marketers) that people are more likely to retain information when they have an emotional response to it (Hess, 2015). While creative content may not always impact short term results, over the long term it is necessary to truly connect with users on a human level. Considering a set of meaningful behavioural, marketing and memory metrics as part of the creative effort will provide a more tangible insight into how users are responding to it.
The word ‘meaningful’ is a critical factor in this context. Collecting appropriate data is one of the core elements of measuring marketing effectiveness, but data is nothing but numbers unless it is analysed meaningfully (Banasiewicz, 2013).
Behaviour metrics can help describe what people do. Marketing metrics help determine the effectiveness of the marketing promotion and memory metrics help understand user’s affinity towards the brand such as awareness, attitude and sentiment. And a mix of these can be used to paint a meaningful picture of how users consume a brand’s content.
Page view counts
This is a good measure of popularity and indicates whether your content succeeded, especially in comparison with other pages. If the aim is to build an audience and measure popularity, it’s relevant. But if a specific audience being targeted, the number of people viewing the content is less important than whether the right people are (Charlton, 2016).
Time on page
Like page view counts, time on page is another behaviour metric that can demonstrate how the content is being consumed in the manner it was planned. If people take the time to read it, that suggests it worked well and that the topic was interesting. Understanding why users aren’t sticking around can help craft better content to increase engagement metrics.
The volume and velocity of content shares such as email forwards, tweets, likes, Linkedin shares, and the like, provides insight into how valuable the content is to the audience.
Brand reputation and awareness
How the content is shaping the user’s opinion of the brand can be determined through social monitoring tools and surveys. Outcomes can show whether the content is promoting the brand in a way that the user is recalling it and being left with a favourable impression.
Return on Investment
Did the content help build awareness of the brand or increased sales – whatever the end state behaviour was expected to be? Comparing the fiscal outcome to the cost of actually producing the content is one way to determine whether the effort is making financial sense and may deliver a long-term return.
Rather than focusing on metrics that can measure business outcomes, sometimes vanity, or “feel good”, metrics, such as Facebook ‘likes’, are used to justify marketing spend (Marketo, 2011). Does knowing why so many people hit the like button explain what users are looking for? Perhaps not.
But as meaningless as vanity metric can be, catching an extra few Facebook likes along the way can’t hurt.
Yoegel, R (2015) ‘Brand Storytelling and Technology’ eBook, Cero.com, viewed 8 June 2016 <http://view.ceros.com/ceros-marketing/brand-storytelling-technology/p/>
Banasiewicz, A (2013) ‘Marketing database analytics: Transforming data for competitive advantage.’ Taylor and Francis, 6 August, page 80-84.
Marketo (2011) ‘The definitive Guide to Marketing Mertrics and Analysis’ eBook, Marketo, viewed 9 June <http://www.surrey.ac.uk/Training/documents/definitive-guide-to-marketing-metrics-marketing-analytics.pdf>
Charlton G (2016) ‘25 useful metrics for content marketing success’ Search Engine Watch, 4 February, viewed 8 June <https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/02/04/25-metrics-to-measure-your-content-marketing-efforts/>
Hess B (2015) ‘The ROI of creative: Art & Science in Marketing’ Ceros, 19 November, viewed 12 June <https://www.ceros.com/blog/the-roi-of-creative-art-science-in-marketing/>