How to measure the effectiveness of content

During our ‘Growing your digital marketing agency: solving the measurement puzzle’ webinar we conducted a poll, asking which digital marketing activity our viewers (agencies and consultants) found the hardest to measure. The results were as follows:

According to the results of this poll, content marketing and social media are the top activities agencies and consultants find most difficult to evaluate. We asked our webinar speakers for their opinion on these results. Sean Clark offered guidance for those who endeavour to measure the impact of content on their website:

“You should have it categorised so you can easily identify it — and then you can easily, segment it within your analytics. You can look at page value, time on site and, depending what your objective is, leads, click-through or bounce rate.”

For off-site content promoted via social media, however, Sean acknowledged there are still challenges: “I think a lot of agencies are scared to measure stuff like that, because it takes a long time for it to take hold and to get any returns. I think part of that is being unsure if you really want to show the client they’re not getting any sales off their content.”

Tamara Baranova was more positive about measuring the effectiveness of social media content, she suggested:

“Hootsuite is one of those tools that provides reporting across several social media platforms, so it’s easy to see how your social media content is improving your results”.

The best tools for digital measurement?

While there is an abundance of digital marketing tools available online, during the course of our webinar we asked our panellists to tells us their preferred tools. Here’s what they recommended:

Research: Facebook Audience Insights and MOZ

SEO: MOZ (also good for competitive analysis)

Website: Google Analytics, AdWords and Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools)

Social media analytics: Social network’s own analytics/ insights packages, Hootsuite, or Socialbakers

Social media monitoring: Brandwatch, Engagor, or Sysomos

Influencer marketing: Traackr, PeerIndex

Email: Constant Contact

Reporting: Raven Tools

What was abundantly clear from our webinar discussion and audience feedback is that measurement remains a tricky subject for marketing agencies and consultants.

Whether this is down to the sheer scale of the challenge, with scores of shifting, overlapping metrics available to us, the difficulty of meeting inflated client expectations, or a simple lack of analytical skills within the marketing profession, the importance of rising to this challenge is hard to overstate. If you can’t evaluate your client’s investment in digital marketing, at best you are doing them a grave disservice, at worst you may be negligent.

When you first take on a client you will need to make the business case for digital marketing. This is likely to involve demonstrating what good looks like, setting realistic expectations, explaining when ROI is (and isn’t) measurable and identifying a set of relevant metrics, based on the desired outcomes.

One of the most powerful take-aways from our webinar was the need for client education. Agencies and marketing consultant should always be seeking opportunities to coach their clients about measurement.

  • Ask yourself where you can be providing more value: do they understand the full range of metrics available?
  • Are they aware of how important demographic targeting is?
  • Do they know about influencer analysis and marketing?
  • Do they realize the impact their content marketing is having on their wider brand reputation?

By involving the client in the process of measurement, rather than simply sending them a monthly report, you will be helping them to develop a more sophisticated, better informed marketing strategy. This will enable you to deliver stronger results and, with luck, help us all collectively dispel the myth that measuring digital marketing is difficult.

This whitepaper is free to download and features expert guidance about how a digital marketing business should approach measurement.