How to measure content ROI – what does content performance look like?
The B2B content performance conundrum
Measuring and understanding content performance is a challenge most B2B marketers are asking themselves this year. Let us set the scene, the content marketing machine shows no sign of slowing – growing to a $60 billion+ industry, according to Research Dive. The global pandemic sent that growth into over-drive as marketing budgets moved away from traditional tactics like offline and events – into digital and content.
Content marketers as a result of this are facing new challenges. Research shows we’re being asked to prioritise two things:
1. Get more leads
2. Improve content quality.
No pressure, yeah?
Another consideration in this mix is our audience. Now more than ever they are being totally saturated with content and some of it is great! However, some of it is… well, less than ideal as a lot content resorts to click-bait gimmicks to drive web traffic (we’ll revisit this ‘metric’)
While we all went into a content creation frenzy for our audiences – we forgot to notice that vendor created content isn’t what it used to be. In fact, according to Trust Radius audiences rank vendor created content as one of the least trusted sources they go to for information.
This is a major problem. For all the SEO optimised copy, forms-filled or comments on social media – we’re failing to ask the people that matter, our audience what do they think about our content?
What is good content performance?
The age-old question isn’t it? Depending on where you go and who you speak to – you will find a wide range of thoughts. These tend to be influenced by the background of that creator. Whether it’s an SEO leaning, an analytics preference or how many leads we can attribute to an asset.
Arguably – the last one is a funny one, in that we measure forms-filled on a gated landing page but – we’re really just assessing how good the copy was to advertise the asset, as opposed to the asset itself. We are missing the point there, in that we can’t make better content based on numbers alone.
How do we measure content performance now?
The industry authority on content is arguably the Content Marketing Institute have produced this helpful graphic to show all the ways we can measure content:
Equally, there are several excellent articles to be read from the liked of Smart Insights and OptInMonster. These all follow a similar formula, but the core values tend to be:
- Awareness – Web traffic, bounce rates, visit dwell time & user flows etc.
- Engagement – Blog and social media comments, likes etc.
- Lead generation – Forms completed, and emails sign ups.
- Sales – Arguably Tenuous links to how many ‘sales’ can be attributed to content on the journey from attribution data.
You will spot a common theme here and that it’s nearly all quantitative data. Which leaves huge amounts of room for speculation on what ‘valuable content’ looks like. It’s incredibly unstructured and unhelpful for content creators to work with.
Was it the low bounce rate? The number of subscribers acquired? Or the keyword ranking of the asset – that makes it good content? These are all valuable metrics for sure – but something crucial is missing. We are missing context.
None of these metrics tell us whether the content helped our audience, assisted in solving a problem or inspired a user to request a demo or better yet actually ring an inbound team (does this happen still?).
You know, real actual, living, breathing context behind the content. Marketing has missed a trick that software engineers have nailed for years, in that they combine quantitative metrics with the context from qualitative data to shape, mould and hone their craft.
Measuring the real value of your content
There is a solution, and it’s staring us right in the face. Ask the people that matter – your audience. Using Rockee you can collect content marketing ratings and reviews platform on all your assets. The concept is simple, once a user has read your content, they are given the option to leave a rating (1-5) and to leave a review of how they found the asset.
Whether it’s a gated hero asset or something as simple as a blog. In just seconds you can get real user feedback. This gives you clear insight if you’re hitting the mark with your target audience.
All this data sits in a dashboard which allows users to segment and measure content performance by content name, asset type, stage of the journey and campaign. Giving you real-time results as they come in.
What about the problem of waning trust in vendor content?
Here’s where fortune will favour the brave. E-commerce had this problem over a decade ago with a boom in selling online – but then it started suffering from those with less than honourable intentions, or a bad service.
So, what did the best ones do? They collected user reviews and published trust badges across their website. Bezos become a billionaire off the back of it (or is it trillionaire these days, if that’s a thing?)
B2C has done it so well, customer proof is now ingrained in every purchase decision we make. Whether we’re buying a holiday, booking a table at a restaurant or shopping for Air Jordan’s (I tried to sound cool here).
The process goes like this – we read a review. We validate the experience. We want to learn and draw comfort from the wisdom of the crowd.
For us as B2B marketers, there is a huge opportunity for the best content creators, who put real craft and pride in their work to stand out. Rockee is not for those churning out endless white-papers or regurgitated research reports, with a click-bait hook to encourage a download. We care about true content performance and ROI.
It’s a way for the best creators to keep making the great content, iterate when it could be improved. With the added bonus of using ratings and reviews trust badges to show the world you’re the best at what you do.
This is a chance to celebrate the content makers and creators who make content that truly rocks.
It’s time for the very best in B2B to stand out.