Successful Content: 5 Ways to Measure Results

 

We don’t just create content, we create a strategy that delivers results. Measurable marketing is the only way to market. Recently Search Engine Watch outlined 25 tips for measuring success in content marketing. Here’s how we use them at Red212:

The Obvious Metrics
This is the easiest set of data to measure. Google Analytics can determine if there is an improvement in metrics like traffic, page views, unique users, average time on site or pages and average number of pages per visit. Even if you get thousands of visits to your site, are they the right people? While it’s great to show an uptick in traffic as a result of increased content creation, the real goal is delivering the right content to the right people. More isn’t always better.

Engagement and Social Metrics
Thanks to social media, we have much more insight than we used to on how interested your audience is. If no one is liking, sharing, or commenting, your content probably is not reaching the right people or it is just bad. Keep your business objectives in mind when analyzing engagement metrics as well. You may have posted something really controversial about our current presidential candidates and stirred up a lively conversation. But if you are trying to sell baby blankets, and sales haven’t gone up, you might be “conversating” for the wrong reasons. It’s also important to know that not all engagement leads directly to sales. If the sales-cycle is long, and the purpose of your blog is to gain subscribers, keep producing content that earns their trust. Eventually they will convert.

Search Metrics
With our long history in SEO, this is our favorite area of data analysis. With the majority of users starting an online search for something on Google, it’s critical that you appear at the top of search results and drive quality traffic that converts. Did your Google traffic increase after a series of blog posts? Are you driving more traffic for more relevant keywords? Are other relevant sites linking to you and sending traffic to your site? Then your content is starting to hit the mark.

Brand Metrics
Are online users searching for your brand more often than they did before? If your brand messaging is clear in your content, and your goal is to raise awareness, you better have the numbers to show that the content is working in your favor. Reputation is also a very important factor. Some say even bad press is better than no press at all. But online, in Google’s world, their ability to detect sentiment can have an adverse effect on your traffic. Google knows if users are not happy with your brand, and they will rank or not rank you accordingly. Don’t just throw content out into the interwebs – make sure you know what people are saying both on your site and off. Ensure that comments and engagement are positive or that you’re addressing any negativity that arises.

Content Performance
The most important piece of measuring your marketing campaigns is the ROI. Ultimately, you are in business for a reason, and it’s just smart to make sure that your marketing efforts are getting a return on your investment. Is your content driving users to purchase or inquire for more information? Are you improving the user experience in some way? Whatever stage of the funnel you are trying to reach, or whatever the objective, measuring your success is critical.

When you know the data inside and out, you will know the effectiveness of your content. More importantly, you will be able to deliver content that is useful and drive conversions. Remember, we’re here to help people, not just to play the numbers game.

 

Marketing Trends Here to Stay

While we may not have any fortune tellers or psychics at Red212, we have a good idea on where marketing is going this year.

    1. Measurement dominates:
      Data analytics tools are ever-growing and provide deeper insight into target markets. Brands are expected to spend 73% more on analytics in the next 3 years. It improves effectiveness by measuring results and allowing marketers to understand what works best, and thus maximizing Return on Investment.
    2. Relationship marketing drives content:
      Great content won’t go far without a community that wants to read it. By focusing on the relationship first, marketers can better understand consumer needs and wants, and then provide content that fulfills them.
    3. Increase in transparency:
      Trust is key in relationship building. Consumers are becoming more and more demanding of authenticity. The Internet has empowered consumers to be choosier than ever, no longer limited to what is physically in front of them in the store. They want to know a brand’s values match up with their own, and now more than ever, they have access to that information through a quick Internet search.
    4. Brand ambassadors become more wide-spread:
      95% of Millennials say their friends are their most trusted source of product information. Brand ambassadors add this human element to a company or product, making it seemingly more accessible and therefore, more trustworthy.
    5. Ad blockers:
      As more people adopt ad blockers onto their computers and phones, we will see a decrease in interruptive marketing (traditional display ads). Marketing will have to become more relevant and personalized to reach the consumer on their terms.
    6. Mobile becomes the center of everything:
      According to Think with Google, 87% of people have their phones by their side day and night. 30% of all US eCommerce comes from mobile shopping. Everything is become more and more interactive, turning something as simple as ordering pizza into a digital experience.
    7. Micro-moments:
      Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to their device to act on a need – to learn, to watch, or to buy. Wall Street Journal reported that 91% of smartphone users look up information on their device in the middle of a task, and 82% consult their phones while standing in a store trying to decide what to buy. Marketers need to connect with these consumers at that moment – delivering exactly what they’re looking for the moment they’re looking.
    8. Location-based marketing:
      From text alerts when the consumer is in proximity of a store, to RFID chips at events, this is a new technology that’s only going to grow in popularity. We can’t wait to see how it evolves in 2016.
    9. Wearable technology:
      Marketing will adapt to the increasing adoption rate of wearable technology such as the Apple Watch, Google Glass, and Fitbit. It’s time marketers take advantage. For example, here in Cincinnati, the company Strap is using “Human Data Intelligence” to power email marketing campaigns. As the consumer hits certain goals such as number of steps or active minutes, they are sent reward coupons that correspond.
    10. Account-Based marketing:
      The new “it girl” of Business to Business Marketing. Gone are the days of a single decision-maker in a company. While account-based marketing has been around for a while, it has been picking up speed lately. ABM makes it easier to reach the collective decision makers without multiplying the effort.

The Rise of Ad Blockers and How to Adapt

Red 212 ad blockerThe use of ad blockers has become a growing concern in advertising with an estimated 121 million people who use ad-blocking software. And now with Apple entering the mix, allowing users to install ad-blocking software on mobile devices—it’s something that’s definitely changing the digital landscape whether you want to admit it or not. There’s no question that in order to survive, advertisers need to adapt to meet the overwhelming needs of consumers who are all craving a better digital experience.

While this trend may send some in a panic, it actually can be very beneficial for not only consumers, but for advertisers as well. Ad blocking will challenge brands to be relevant and hone in on more specific, receptive audiences, which in turn will achieve higher returns.

The first step is with simpler ad designs. Think about it: Distracting ads, take-overs and complex animations that eat up load times are just the type of ads consumers want to block, especially with mobile. Banner ads should have smaller file sizes, be less distracting, and more tailored to match the look and feel of the websites they’re placed on. And instead of crazy animations and gimmicks, ads need to catch the eyes of consumers with more emphasis on messaging that is specific to them.

Many advertisers are going toward native advertising or sponsoring content on sites such as BuzzFeed or Refinery29. However, this avenue is beginning to get more scrutiny than before, and may not be completely safe from ad blocking. While ad-blocking software primarily works by blocking ad-serving domains on a page, in some cases even if the publisher themselves serve up the content, it can get caught in the ad-blocking net.

For now, the best solution seems to be more in social and in-app advertising, where ads are more integrated and immune to ad blocking. This makes sense, as consumers are spending more time on mobile apps rather than on the web, which is attracting not only advertisers, but publishers as well. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are all seeing increases in ad spending. And with geo-locating abilities and data to help brands zero in on the specific audiences they want to reach, it’s a no-brainer why advertisers are drooling.

But no matter where the trend goes, we all still have a responsibility to the consumer. The bottom line should be about not distracting a consumer’s digital experience—but enhancing it.