3 Measurement Gaps in Content Marketing – and How to Fill Them

June 18th, 2014
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Three Gaps in Content Marketing Measurement and how to fill them Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Public Relations PR Media Monitoring Media Measurement News Clipping Press Clipping

flickr user Pawel Loj under CC BY license

When 90 percent of surveyed marketers say they’re uncertain that their key metrics are effective in measuring business results, you know you’ve got a measurement gap.

That startling statistic came earlier this week when Contently released its State of Content Marketing survey, which sampled 302 marketers split evenly across B2B and B2C businesses. Though social media metrics and measurement are hot topics in marketing and public relations communities, it seems the boots on the measurement ground aren’t sure what to do.

While that headlining stat does suggest a large swath of uncertain marketers (albeit in a pretty small sample), there were other statistics toward the bottom of the report that were far more telling:

Marketers are choosing the wrong metrics for their goals

The report showed that only 11 percent of marketers stated ad monetization as a goal for their content. Yet 69 percent of them measure the success of their content by pageviews, a metric which – the study points out – is primarily used for buying or selling ads.

That means that many of the more than 72 percent of marketers who identified brand awareness as the goal of their content are measuring that goal with the wrong metric. There is a world outside of the pageview. But multiple metrics does not cohesive measurement make – it doesn’t matter how many metrics you’ve got if you don’t have the right metrics.

Shares are overvalued

Luckily, many (65 percent of respondents) of the marketers who measure pageviews also measure for shares and likes. Unfortunately, a quick look at the next page in the report shows that shares and likes may not mean that much after all, since research from Chartbeat shows that there is zero correlation between reading an article and sharing it.

Lack of awareness

Nearly 50 percent of marketers said they wished they could measure how much real attention people are paying to their content, even though simple analytics like bounce rate or time spent on a page (which only 45 percent of respondents measure) are great basic indicators. Not to mention that how much attention people pay to content is exactly the type of thing Chartbeat measures.

How to fix it

Measurement is not easy, and the reason many of these simplistic, sometimes irrelevant metrics persist in measurement programs is because they are free and easy to obtain. Unfortunately, they’re just not effective measures of everything.

We need to start thinking of measurement as a spectrum of interactions instead of a slice of numbers. That’s why the debut of AMEC’s new Social Media Measurement Framework User Guide is so important; it looks at the stages of the marketing funnel over different channels and encourages users to think critically about their objectives, channels, and resources as it relates to their content and marketing process.

The difficulty of tracking measurement and conversations is why marketers and PR pros also need social listening programs to ensure they don’t just count the shares, but listen to what’s being said about their content so they can start tracking tone and sentiment in responses as well as in their media mentions.

Here are some BurrellesLuce resources to get you started on developing your measurement processes:

PR and the P&L

Finding Meaning in Measurement

Navigating the Terrain of Paid, Earned, and Owned Media

The Infographic Guide to Measuring Your Public Relations Efforts

Measuring the Success of Your PR Campaign

Up Your Measurement Game with AMEC’s New Social Media Measurement Guide

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