Measuring content performance has always been a major weakness for marketing practitioners. The biggest driver of this weakness is the metric itself, or the lack thereof. Today, there is no consistent measure of content performance. Instead, the way we measure content success varies from channel to channel. Content is evaluated within the channel — and often with unique measures in each channel — rather than a consistent content measure overall. This leaves marketers with no insight into which content assets are really working, leaving them to create more and more content just for the sake of doing it. As a result, Harvard Business Review reports that 5% of content generates 90% of engagement. That’s the long tail of content wastage, and a major opportunity for marketers.
“Marketers need better intelligence on the performance of their content—what it’s about, how it speaks, how effective it is at accomplishing certain goals, what emotions it calls to mind, etc.” —ForresterI recently delivered a presentation on this topic to marketing leaders from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). During the session, I shared best practices and introduced a standardized approach for measuring content performance so marketers can define content quality in a truly objective way. Here’s a recap of the key takeaways from my talk.
Start with Content ConsumptionAfter conducting in-depth research for leading brands and a thorough analysis of thousands of pieces of content, we’ve discovered one metric that all marketers should measure as an indicator of engagement with a brand – how much content does each of your audience actually consume? OneSpot defines audiences that consume more content as “Active Content Users.” When people consume one piece of content, you assume your content is meeting users’ needs. But is one piece of content enough to move the needle? You can assume your content is meeting a person’s need at the right time and via the right channel. But does viewing a single piece of content really drive someone to take action? Active Content Users consume at least three different pieces of content in a single session. These are considered to be the most engaged users because they are consuming a significant amount of content. More importantly, the content is driving them to do something. In other words, they move from viewing content to using the content. OneSpot data shows that Active Content Users are valuable beyond just clicks and views. We’ve actually been able to identify some important differences in how people interact with a brand after reading one piece of content versus those who engage with three or more. First, Active Content Users are 5X more likely to take high-value calls to action. like “buy now,” “sign up for newsletter” and “open account.” Second, Active Content Users view brands more favorably. A brand’s Active Content Users see a 10% average lift in brand health metrics. Given this dramatic lift in action, based on content consumption, we’ve found an objective way to align content consumption to content quality — giving marketers a single metric they can use to measure content performance.
Moving Towards Content QualityWith a content consumption metric in place, you can start to look deeper into the types of content that drive consumers to take action. We call this content quality scoring. With our model, we created a weighted score for every piece of content and topic based on the four ingredients below, with the weighting heavier on recirculation and action rate. Brands can easily compare content performance against site goals, and see how topics are generating engagement across different audiences, traffic sources and platforms. Based on this model, marketers can:
- Identify high-performing content and topics to guide content development decisions
- Uncover new topic areas for content generation
- Understand which channels are more or least effective for driving engagement
- Learn which topics generate and retain audience engagement
- Understand the characteristics of effective content, such as topic, type or source