How to Succeed in the Crowded Content Marketing Competition – and Prove It with Media Measurement
Research shows that content marketing holds advantages over online advertising. Consumers prefer to discover digital content on their own and are skeptical of brands pushing disruptive online advertising. Millennials are especially mistrusting of interruptive online ads.
A survey of over 1,000 consumers by Rapt Media reveals that:
- 95% take action to avoid seeing or receiving online ads
- 5% say ads influence their purchase decisions
- 57% of millennials block ad content because it is too pushy
- 43% say online ads are not personalized to their interests but 62% say the content they discover on their own is personalized
- 61% say they prefer to find content on their own even if it is customized
- 46% say content they find on their own influences their purchase decisions.
Winning in a Crowded Market
“The only way to compete in an increasingly crowded market is by providing valuable content for consumers to discover on their own and building relationships through interaction and engagement,” says Erika Trautman, Rapt Media, founder and CEO.
The keyword is valuable. Content must be targeted and compelling to gain the audience’s attention. Producing personalized content requires substantial resources and investment, and that investment requires data to prove its value. Measurement can show if content marketing strategies are successful, but many content marketers lack adequate measurement.
The first key steps are to identify content marketing goals and align those goals with key performance metrics. Marketers sometimes list a slew of metrics in an attempt to provide detailed information. “However, if the metrics don’t align with the objectives, they cause more confusion than clarity. This confusion leads to ineffective content marketing,” warns David Pembroke, founder and CEO of the Content Group.
Metrics that Match Objectives
Pembroke explains how to match metrics to particular goals. If your goal is audience engagement measure time spent on content and engagement, including social media shares, likes and comments and engagement on your website.
If your goal is a desired action, proper metrics include click-through rates and conversion rates, which can be measured by submissions to a sign-up page on your website or click-through rates to gated information
Conducting polls, surveys or analysis of statistics (such as ABS data) can help measure offline behavior. You can also measure the cycle length from awareness to action. Successful content will reduce the length of the cycle, converting people from interest to action more quickly.
“To measure the uptake of a desired action, you need to focus on the tip of the activity funnel – where interest turns into action,” Pembroke advises.
The Social Media Listening Solution
More organizations are improving their marketing strategies and finding how to produce superior content through social media monitoring and measurement.
Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide recommends that marketers monitor social media to determine their target audience’s hot buttons. Listen to your audience and that of your competitors. Social media now refers more traffic to websites than search engines, notes Cohen, president of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
“Social media is where we seek people and information. This reflects a change in our habits. We spend our time on social media,” Cohn states. “More importantly for marketers, we trust our family and friends most.”
A white paper from IBM Marketing Cloud, 10 Tips for a Stronger Digital Marketing Program, cites social media listening as a key strategy for maximizing marketing resources. Perhaps counter-intuitively, listening to consumers is more important than publishing.
Social media networks among the best places to conduct market research and gauge customer satisfaction. For example, a search of highly specific keywords can immediately produce research on what a couple hundred million people think about a specific topic. Organizations can learn what consumers like and dislike about their products and how people feel about competitors’ products.
Bottom Line: Research shows that consumers prefer to learn about products through their own searches rather than through disruptive advertising. As more companies realize the potential benefits of content marketing, marketers churn out more content. Winning consumers’ attention becomes more competitive. However, careful measurement and social media listening can identify consumers’ hot-button issues and produce content that earns their attention and trust.
To read more on how to measure all of your content efforts, including your content, download the ebook, The Keys to the Kingdom: Making Your Marketing Team More Data-Centric.