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The Why, How and What of Measuring Content


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This was presented at the Content Strategy PDX Meetup on July 18, 2013.

Published in: Business, Technology

The Why, How and What of Measuring Content

  1. …is a big idea @LarsvonS
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  4. TONX! …is awsm
  5. AGENDA! × How to discuss the subject with stakeholders × Aligning measurement with brand KPIs × Multi-channel/cross-channel content measurement vs. channel-specific measurement × The nuts and bolts of actually reporting on content success @LarsvonS
  7. Who are your stakeholders? ⌐ The sales force? @LarsvonS
  8. Who are your stakeholders? ⌐ Old-school marketers? @LarsvonS
  9. Who are your stakeholders? ⌐ Perfectly sensible, but busy brand manager @LarsvonS
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  11. What are there concerns? How can you help? ⌐ Sales guy: ⌐ He wants leads (duh). ⌐ He is scared of what competition is up to. ⌐ He may not really get why content is important (though he really does). ⌐ How can you help and relate? @LarsvonS
  12. What are there concerns? How can you help? ⌐ Old school guy: ⌐ He wants impressions, damnit. ⌐ He is scared of buying into what might be trend or a fad (remember QR codes?) ⌐ He may not really get why “content” is important, even though he has been using it all his career. ⌐ How can you help and relate? @LarsvonS
  13. What are there concerns? How can you help? ⌐ Sensible Brand Manager: ⌐ She is completely inundated by different methods of communicating with customers. ⌐ She is overwhelmed by the stress of answering to multiple other stakeholders. ⌐ She needs it to be obvious and defensible. ⌐ How can you help and relate? @LarsvonS
  14. What do they know about content? ⌐ How do you explain it? ⌐ What language do you use when talking about content with stakeholders? ⌐ How do we explain its value? ⌐ How do we discuss the methods for measuring content value? @LarsvonS
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  19. KPI definition ⌐ A Key Performance Indicator is a measure of how well a goal is being met. ⌐ They are rarely as simple as number of impressions and pageviews… ⌐ “Modern” KPIs are often multi-layered and involve a combination of metrics that equal a “key” campaign or brand success. @LarsvonS
  20. KPI frameworking ⌐ As we have discussed already, different people have different interests…and your KPIs will likely need to reflect all or nearly all of them. ⌐ One of the best ways to do this is creating a KPI “framework” that will get input and buyoff from all stakeholders. @LarsvonS
  21. Great, so what do we do? ⌐ To decide what KPIs should be tracked and used to define success, one only needs to look at how the organization defines success. ⌐ Easy, right?! ⌐ Truthfully, this is a tricky and iterative process that should involve input from multiple parts of an organization, where each will express how they define success. @LarsvonS
  22. INTERNAL POLITICS ALERT! ⌐ The subject of KPIs is something that likely will cause a good deal of contention among different stakeholders and departments. ⌐ As such, you should tread lightly and make sure all parties are involved in the decisions of what the final KPI framework should look like. @LarsvonS
  23. KPI framework examples – Cloud services xxx,xxx Engagers x,xxx Users 30% Churn X revenue (?) 50% completing X workflows xx,xxx Complete Demos, X Trialers GoalsKPIs Measures Adoption Renewal Engagement Preference # Engagers New Subscribers Churn Rate Average revenue per subscriber Product Usage Subscribers Interaction, Trial xx,xxx ContactsLeads # Contacts @LarsvonS
  24. KPI framework examples – Traditional funnel Via Jonny Longden: @LarsvonS
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  26. Content Influences on KPIs ⌐ Traffic patterns and site usage ⌐ Lead generation, conversion and retention ⌐ Brand engagement ⌐ Thought leadership ⌐ Sharing/Social ⌐ Anything else? @LarsvonS
  27. Traffic patterns and site usage ⌐ One of the values content can provide is driving visitors to sites. ⌐ Once there, it can influence what visitors do and how long they stay. ⌐ We will discuss how to measure the value of content on sites using Google Analytics later.. @LarsvonS
  28. Lead generation and conversion ⌐ Content‟s influence on lead generation is the first thing many think about when they think about content‟s value… ⌐ Tactics like content gating, syndication and signups are typical examples of how content can directly lead to..well, more leads. ⌐ Any other thoughts? @LarsvonS
  29. Brand engagement ⌐ While getting people to engage on your site is great, it doesn‟t always translate to giving a crap about your brand. ⌐ What do we want to see people do with content to show they are engaged with our brand? ⌐ Indexing! @LarsvonS
  30. Thought leadership ⌐ It‟s a hot topic..and often overused. ⌐ Do you really want your brand to be seen as a thought leader in the whatever business? What does that even mean? ⌐ The best way to gauge how your content contributes to overall brand thought-leadership is to look at how it ranks in search engines. ⌐ Content quality, usefulness and thought-leader-ish-ness is the #1 way to rank in search engines, by the way.. @LarsvonS
  31. Sharing/Social ⌐ Good content grows legs.. ⌐ Good content can be the vessel through which your social campaigns meet their goals. ⌐ Measuring how people are , and how other people are consuming shared content is a powerful way to gauge how “viral” your content is. @LarsvonS
  32. Sharing/Social @LarsvonS ⌐ Use This:
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  35. Channel-specific measurement ⌐ Once success are seen in one‟s time, and your job is done…right? ⌐ It is easy to get distracted by how one program, possibly a pet program, is performing. ⌐ In the long run, specific program success is likely not as important as overall campaign success. @LarsvonS
  36. We all have our favorites… ⌐ A lot of love, money and attention can be given to pet projects.. ⌐ Myopic focus on a single program can lead to ignorance of overall efficiency. ⌐ How do we fight this? @LarsvonS
  37. What about the whole picture? ⌐ And what about the ..? ⌐ By focusing on short term tactics, we miss looking at trends in how content is helping to move people through their journey. ⌐ How do you talk about the Buyer‟s Journey in your organization? @LarsvonS
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  41. What can Google Analytics do? 1. Measure the engagement level with content on a site you manage. 2. Track what goals are being completed and what content is contributing to the completions rates. 3. Track traffic coming into your sites via shared or syndicated content. 4. Make coffee afterwards. @LarsvonS
  42. The Basics • Assumption #1: At the most basic level, you want people to “engage” with your content. What does this mean? • Look at it • Spend time with it • Not leave the site after seeing it • Push its buttons and otherwise poke it • Share it • Assumption #2: Content is typically contained on a web “page” and a lot about the content can be learned by stats pertaining to that page. @LarsvonS
  43. The Basics: Look at it • At the most basic level, you want to know how many times your content has been seen. • Content > All Pages > Pageviews • But, never will raw pageviews be enough… @LarsvonS
  44. • What about Average Time on Page? • Generally, this is a very good leading indicator on content quality. • The assumption is that the more time people are spending on the page, the better the content. @LarsvonS The Basics: Spend time
  45. • How about the ability of content to keep people on a site? • Bounce rate is often overlooked as a great way to see what content keeps your site “sticky.” @LarsvonS The Basics: Not leave
  46. WARNING: ADVANCED CONFIGURATION REQUIRED! • One of the purest forms of engagement is actually poking the content. • This is usually captured through custom events, like: downloads, video plays, widget pushes, etc. • The more this is happening, the cooler the content is. @LarsvonS The Basics: Poke things
  47. • On a similar note, we can see what pages (content) are being shared, again assuming custom events are installed on share buttons. • Events > Top events, filter down to your Sharing event, • Add a “Page” Secondary dimension. • Filter to only look at “share” events. @LarsvonS The Basics: Share it
  48. The Basics Something to keep in mind: • Looking at “content” pages is very different then looking at root and subdirectory pages (unless they contain content). • It may be helpful to filter out the root and subdirectory URLs before looking at content in this way. @LarsvonS
  50. Socratic Dialog about Goals… • Socrates: “Whenever anyone spends any amount of time or money creating something digital and putting it on a website, they should have some sort of goal or outcome associated with it.” • Plato: “Do you mean a „Goal‟ in Google Analytics?” • Socrates: “Yes, but first they should establish what the business „goal‟ of the content is. Do they just want people to visit their site, or do something once they get there? What is that? Spend a certain amount of time on the site? Fill out a form? Buy something? Share content?” • Plato: “Then, they want to make a goal in Google Analytics to reflect these business goals?” • Socrates: “Of course!” • Plato: “Genius!” @LarsvonS
  51. What does that have to do with content? • The theory is that good content leads to more overall engagement with the site, and thus more time on the site and higher chance for goal conversion. • This can often be seen by looking at what page visitors are converting on, and where they were before hitting that page. @LarsvonS
  52. Content and Goals • First, take a look at the Goals section of GA, under the Conversation menu. Click “Goal URLs.” • You can see what pages (URL) the goal selected are completed on, and for certain goals, this is a good (but not perfect) indicator of how successfully pages with certain content are at converting visitors. • However, this may not be very helpful, as some goals always conclude on the same page. @LarsvonS
  53. Content and Goals • For a better (and easier) look, looking at “Funnel Visualization,” you can start to get a picture of what URLs most often lead to a conversion. @LarsvonS
  54. Content and Goals • If you have a more complicated path to conversion, looking at “Reverse Goal Path,” will more completely show pathing. • However, this is a somewhat messy view… @LarsvonS
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  56. What is Marketing Automation? ⌐ Marketing automation refers to software platforms designed to automate repetitive tasks. Originally focused on email marketing automation, marketing automation refers to a broad range of automation and analytic tools for marketing. ⌐ Capabilities: ⌐ Demand generation ⌐ Lead management ⌐ Lead scoring ⌐ Lead nurturing ⌐ Lead generation ⌐ Campaign analysis ⌐ Lead qualification ⌐ Sales effectiveness @LarsvonS
  57. What about content? @LarsvonS ⌐ MA platforms were made to “automate” marketing functions (duh). ⌐ Through this, they also collect a lot of information about content is used and how it intersects with lead conversion.
  58. It’s all about the leads..and content! ⌐ Every piece of content you own can be tracked using MA platforms…and content types can be compared. @LarsvonS
  59. It’s all about the leads..and content! ⌐ As a contact progresses through their , where they engage is captured… @LarsvonS
  60. It’s all about the leads..and content! ⌐ Things get interesting when you start to think of content as a lead source… ⌐ The popularity of your content will draw interest in you and your message. ⌐ If tagged correctly, you can track social content sharing as a lead source in your MA platform. @LarsvonS
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  62. All kinds of metadata ⌐ The word “metadata” means different things based on the context, even when just thinking about content… ⌐ While you should be concerned about things like the context of measurement we want to know how content is driving and . ⌐ First up, traffic source in Google Analytics. @LarsvonS
  63. Campaign Tagging and Tracking 101 @LarsvonS • Google Analytics tracks four basic traffic sources: • Direct • Search • Referral • Campaign • Campaign traffic is only tracked if the link bringing someone to the site in questions contains specifically formatted appends*. * Append: Stuff added to the back of a URL with things like ?’s and &’s and stuff=something. We’ve all seen them, and often have no idea what they do.
  64. Campaign Tagging and Tracking 101 @LarsvonS • The appends that Google Analytics uses have four elements we are interested in: 1. Source (Ex: referrer: google, citysearch, newsletter4) 2. Medium (Ex: marketing medium: cpc, banner, email) 3. Content (use to differentiate ads) 4. Name (Ex: product, promo code, or slogan) • They are joined using things like ?‟s and &‟s into a string that is added to the back of URLs • When someone clicks on a link with an append like this, the traffic they generate is associated with a “Campaign” in GA.
  65. Anatomy of a Campaign Tag @LarsvonS • For the purpose of this example, we will be applying the following appends to a link of a video on, which will be shared on Twitter: • Source = social • Medium = twitter • Content = video • Name = how_to_be_awesome • Plop everything into Google‟s URL builder* • The resulting URL: video&utm_campaign=how_to_be_awesome *
  66. Anatomy of a Campaign Tag @LarsvonS • This URL is a little unwieldy, so it makes sense to shorten it using a service like m_campaign=how_to_be_awesome • Now, SHARE LIKE THE WIND!
  67. Measuring the Effect @LarsvonS • Unlike previous methods of measuring content, this is not looking at the content itself. • Rather, we are looking at how well the content, once shared, is at attracting the right people to your site.
  68. Measuring the Effect @LarsvonS • Assuming your campaign appends are working, the tagged traffic should appear under Campaigns in the Traffic Sources view.
  69. Measuring the Effect @LarsvonS • Looking in the “All Traffic” view and putting up a quick filter to only see “social” (or email in the case, same principle). • Now you can see what content links drove the most amount of traffic..
  70. Measuring the Effect @LarsvonS • …and what content is driving higher quality traffic who are staying on the site longer, looking at more stuff, and not bouncing. • It‟s like magic, but it actually happens! And unicorns!
  71. Marketing automation lead source ⌐ There are two essential ways a MA platform can track content and lead source: 1. Gating form 2. Shared content tracking @LarsvonS
  72. Gating content with form ⌐ Everybody loves forms! ⌐ Everybody loves gating! ⌐ Ok, maybe not..but they are a necessary evil of lead generation. @LarsvonS
  73. Value of content via gating ⌐ It is a very simple idea: The more people are filling out forms to see content, the better that content is at eliciting interest. @LarsvonS
  74. Tracking content sharing ⌐ Just as with GA, MA platforms can track visitors and converted leads using tracking appends. ⌐ Marketo example: mkt_tok @LarsvonS 8gujsdf08sdfujkbzsd8fgasgidufg
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  76. SEO: Oh yes you did! ⌐ As mentioned previously…the single best driver of SEO success is the quality of your content. ⌐ If people love your content, they will link to it. ⌐ People linking to your site is one of the best influencers on search engine ranking. ⌐ Ergo, search engine ranking is a leading indicator of content value! @LarsvonS
  77. SEO: Great, so what do we do? ⌐ Get Moz ⌐ Seriously, just get it. @LarsvonS
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  79. Edict 1: Keep It Simple, Stupid ⌐ Focus on KPIs, keep metrics in your back pocket (or an appendix). @LarsvonS
  80. Edict 2: Make it relevant ⌐ Focus on what can drive action, not just what‟s interesting. @LarsvonS
  81. Edict 3: Sweat the details ⌐ Don‟t overlook opportunities to get access to and integrate data. @LarsvonS
  82. THANKS! Lars von Sneidern @LarsvonS