Although it first entered our lexicons more than 50 years ago, “information overload” is all too pertinent in today’s digital business landscape, and especially when it comes to content marketing analytics.
Bertram Gross is credited with coining the phrase in his 1964 book, The Managing Organizations: The Administrative Struggle, in which he defined it as such:
“Information overload occurs when the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity. Decision makers have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity. Consequently, when information overload occurs, it is likely that a reduction in decision quality will occur.”
Content marketing managers are swimming in analytics. We’ve got more metrics at our fingertips than we can shake a measuring stick at. And while most of us recognize the value of being data-driven, trying to absorb all of that information can feel like 10 different people yelling in your ear at once: you can’t hear what any one person is saying individually, and also you’re getting a headache.
Obtaining the numbers isn’t hard. Every content team in the world has at least some method in place to measure content performance (I hope). But according to our 2018 Content Planning Report, only 51% of content marketers say they’re adjusting content planning based on historical performance data.
Choosing the right numbers to focus on is where the challenge arises — one we covered recently with our look at the top content marketing metrics used by results-driven managers. Today, we’ll take the next step by showing how you can confidently put your content marketing analytics into action and improve your results.
5 Examples of Actionable Content Marketing Analytics
Not all content marketing metrics need to be actionable. Sometimes they simply help us paint an accurate picture of how our content is performing and who is interacting with it. That information is valuable on its own.
But harnessing content analytics that can actually guide our strategy and propel us toward greater success is where the true advantage is found. Here are five examples that you can put into action.
Assess Consumption Metrics by Device
There’s been a war on vanity metrics lately: clicks and impressions are losing their luster. This is a good thing, because content managers shouldn’t be allowing these consumption-based metrics — which tell us little about action and intent — to guide their strategies. But that doesn’t mean those metrics are useless.
We’ve suggested in the past that a stat such as click-through rate “works best as a complementary KPI – it blossoms in the company of a bottom-funnel, performance-based friend.” When you attach reach metrics to others they can be far more telling. One simple way to gain more value from something like CTR is breaking it down by various devices.
Did more people click on the same link via mobile or desktop? Are there consistent differences between time on page based on device? Do people drop off from particular website pages consistently via their smartphone?
These insights can offer critical info about the user experience based on device, helping you optimize for all visitors. Consumption metrics may not be that telling on their own, but content has no chance to succeed if it isn’t seen.
Let Assisted Conversions Lend a Hand
Assisted conversions are a method of multi-touch attribution, and they’re essential for content marketers to track. In short, this assigns credit to actions taken by a user on the way to a conversion. For example, if someone filled out a “Contact Us” form on your site, they might have clicked an ad or downloaded an asset before doing so. Assisted conversions help us see the grand scheme and understand which content primed the user to take action.
By monitoring your assisted conversions (which is made easy by a customized Divvy Analytics dashboard) you can gain insight as to which content is really moving the needle for your business. Then, you can build upon your top performers. To take it one step further, B2B firms might analyze lead quality and determine which channels or content items are contributing to their best leads, not just the most leads.
I’m not a huge fan of basing strategic decisions on headline clicks — it leads to clickbait saturation and is often founded in questionable conclusions — but we should all be informing our directions at high level with what’s truly moving the needle for us.
Pull Editorial Insight from Paid Keyword Performance
Most companies today with a digital marketing strategy are running paid search campaigns of some sort. These usually target lower-funnel keywords with strong intent. To get the most out of these efforts, I recommend scrutinizing what the engagement metrics are telling you. Which keywords are driving clicks with your audience? Which ones are contributing to assisted conversions? Where are you getting the most juice for your squeeze?
This intel can, in turn, help shape your editorial strategy. By leaning on paid data, you no longer have to rely on assumptions with your keyword mix. This is very useful when it comes to prioritizing SEO focuses and developing a data-driven content plan.
Keep a Close Eye on Email Marketing Trends
One thing we’ve found in our own research and customer conversations is that surprisingly few content teams are firmly tuned into their email marketing analytics. So often, this is just a “ship it and forget it” scenario where newsletters or updates are sent on autopilot without much reflection.
That’s unfortunate, because this can be an awesome source of insight about your customers. Emails are so much more direct than many other marketing forms. Dig into the data and draw comparisons between open rates, click-throughs and opt-outs. Identifying trends can tell you a lot about what’s resonating with your audience, not just internet audiences in general. Use this information to direct and validate your content optimization efforts.
See the Whole Picture with Video Marketing Metrics
Video is one of the fastest-growing formats in content marketing. It’s also fairly cost-intensive to create, so there’s considerable emphasis on getting it right. Don’t get too caught up in the weeds obsessing over one individual video that performed well; instead, take a macro view and look for emerging patterns.
It’s not so much about, “This video performed well, so let’s do more just like it.” Instead, the thought process should be, “Videos with these qualities are doing well, so how can we incorporate those qualities in different ways?”
While the desire to replicate anything that does well is understandable, it can be toxic when taken to extremes. Marketers don’t succeed because they see what works and do it over and over again, but rather because they understand WHY something worked and extend that formula elsewhere. Video marketing is a perfect opportunity to apply this discipline.
Put Those Metrics into Action
The DivvyHQ Analytics tool, available through our Enterprise Plan, is designed to put actionable analytics front-and-center for content teams so you can act upon them quickly and continuously. Regardless of which measurement platform you use, it’s easier to implement your findings when your strategy is centralized in a content management platform and editorial calendar.
We’ll be happy to show you how! Request a demo and we’ll walk you through the ways in which DivvyHQ helps banish information overload and simplify content marketing.