Content Marketing Measurement – Understanding Great Contents

 

What makes content great? 

Is it the uniqueness, informativeness, visual appeal, social shares, tons of backlinks or all of the above?

If you think that the greatness of contents can’t be measured and the definition of a great content is subjective then I strongly suggest you to reconsider your views esp. if the contents you are developing is for commercial purpose.

Because

if a content is not adding any value to your business bottomline then it is not a great content. It can’t be.

You may have a hard time justifying the cost of its production sooner or later esp. if you are spending crazy amount of money in content development and marketing each month with no apparent return on investment in monetary terms.

 

Geek definition of Great Content

A great content is a content (blog post, infographic, video etc) which is most frequently viewed prior to conversion(s) or transaction(s) on your website.

Here is the formula to calculate greatness:

Great Content = (Total Revenue which the content helped in generating + Total Value of the conversions which the content completed) / Number of unique pageviews of the content prior to conversions or transactions.

I have not made up this formula. This is how Google Analytics calculates the economic value added by a piece of content to your business bottomline in monetary terms.

In Google analytics the metric which is used to calculate the greatness of a piece of content is known as page value (formerly known as $index value).  Let us understand page value through a case study.

 

Case Study: What is my infographic worth?

Let us suppose that production cost of your infographic was $400

Let us suppose the marketing cost of infographic was $100 (time it took to promote the infographic * marketer’s salary/hr)

So total cost of the content production and marketing = $500

Now once you have published this infographic on your website, you need to see what your site visitors did after viewing this infographic.

I am not talking about measuring social sharing (number of tweets, Facebook likes etc) here or the number of back links the infographic acquired. I am talking about determining the number of people who completed a conversion or made a purchase after viewing the infographic.

 Let us suppose that your site visitors made a purchase of net worth $150 and completed conversions of net worth $50 after viewing the infographic. Let us also suppose that your infographic got 200 unique page views in total, prior to conversions and transactions. So,

Greatness of your infographic

= (Total Revenue + Total Goal Value)/Number of unique pageviews of the infographic prior to conversions or transactions.

                                                         = ($150+ $50)/200 = $1

Google Analytics measure this greatness in terms of ‘page value’. So head to the ‘all pages’ report in Google Analytics and sort the report by ‘page value’:

From this report we can see that the maximum value added by a piece of content to the business bottomline is $10.

Our infographic added a value of $1 (which we can’t even see in this top 10 report, so we would have to drill down).

So infographic has added very little value to the business bottomline in comparison to other piece of contents on the website. You need to do such comparisons when you are measuring greatness /profitability of a piece of content.

The page value of $1 doesn’t mean anything on its own. It is a ranking metric which means it is a metric which is useful only when you compare it with others.

If you are still in doubt about the performance of the infographic, I am sure you are then tie following metrics to your piece of content (here infographic) via a custom report:

  1. Conversion volume (i.e. Goal Completions)
  2. Conversion value (i.e. Goal Value)
  3. Transactions
  4. Revenue

 

If you are a super Geek, you will off course head to the ‘Assisted Conversions’ report (under Multi channel Funnels Report in Google Analytics), select ‘landing page URL’ as primary dimension and then note down the assisted conversion volume and assisted conversion value of your infographic:

 

Let us supposes the assisted conversion value of our infographic turned out to be $150.

So total economic value added by our infographic to the business bottomline

= Total Revenue which the infographic helped in generating +

    Total Value of the conversions which the infographic completed +

    Total value of the conversions which infographic assisted.

= $150 + $50 + $150 = $350

Since the total economic value of $350 is less than the production and marketing cost of your infographic ($500), so does that mean you have suffered a loss of $150 ($500-$350).

So do you have a negative return on your investment?

Not really.

you have still recovered more than 50% of your production and marketing cost. Moreover the infographic also helped in generating lot of social sharing and links which helped in improving the brand visibility and also helped in the SEO of the website.

You can now show the number of  social shares and the links acquired via infographic to make up for the loss.

Related Post: Optimizing Contents for Sales and Conversions through Profit Index

 

I have a huge content marketing budget. How do i justify my spend?

Say your content marketing budget is $25000/month.

In that case reporting just social sharing and links is not going to help if the economic value added by the contents to the business bottomline is very low say $100 or worst $0.

Reporting social shares and links can be equivalent to adding icing to a cake provided you have the cake.

Here ‘cake’ is your report which shows the economic value added to the business bottomline and ‘icing’ is the secondary benefits like ‘links’, social shares, brand visibility etc.

I called them secondary benefits because you can’t easily prove the impact of  ‘links’ , social shares, brand visibility etc generated by your infographic on the business bottomline in monetary terms.

If you present a cake without icing it may work. But if you present icing without cake then it not going to work.

If the contents you are producing are not adding any monetary value to the business bottomline then you may have a hard time justifying the cost of its production and marketing sooner or later.

One quick way to determine all those pages on your site which are not adding any value to your business bottomline is by looking at their ‘page value’.  A page value of $0 means they have not added any value to your business bottomline.

We often take content consumption and engagement (average time on page, pageviews, number of tweets, number of facebook likes etc) as a measure of success in content marketing.

But this content consumption and engagement may be for all the wrong reasons.

So before you declare content consumption or engagement as a success look at the ‘page value’ metrics.  If it is a big $0 for every piece of content published on your website then your contents are not adding any monetary value to the business bottomline at least not in the manner which you can easily prove and you should then seriously reconsider your content strategies.

 

Some facts about Page Value Metric

1. Make sure that you have set up goals, goal values and enabled ecommerce reporting before you look at the page value metrics. Otherwise you will see a page value of $0 for every piece of contents.

2. Pages that were least frequently viewed prior to conversions or transactions get the lowest page value.

3.  Pages that were not viewed prior to conversions or transactions get the zero page value.

4. Pages that were most frequently viewed prior to high value conversions or transactions get the highest page value.

5.  Page value is not useful as a standalone metric. It is useful as a point of comparison.

6. Don’t measure the success of a piece of content only on the basis of page value. Also look at the total economic value added by the content to the business bottomline.

Note: You can get more details about how Google calculates page value metrics from here.

 

Social Media Hit does not always mean Success

Your content marketing efforts can’t be considered a success just because it got lot of tweets, pageviews, backlinks, facebook likes etc.

Off course social shares give a warm, fuzzy feeling but businesses don’t run on warm, fuzzy feelings. So unless you write for personal delight, you need to compute the economic value added to the business by your contents.

Social media hit is not a guarantee of  success.

Your content must add value to the business bottomline in monetary terms and you must be able to compute and show the monetary value added.

I have found following piece of contents which can be a social media hit but they don’t really add any considerable economic value to the business bottomline:

1. Curated Contents

2. Interviews

3. Ego Bait

4. Contents which moan about the industry, criticize other bloggers, businesses

5. Infographics

6. Contents which have nothing to do with your target audience, niche or the products you sell

So if your content marketing strategy is heavily focused  on producing such type of contents then i would strongly suggest to reconsider your strategy.

Of all the contents I have analyzed so far, i have found infographics to be the least profitable. The chances of their success is generally bleak, cost per acquisition is generally high and above all they can be very costly to produce.

I have yet to see the impact of an infographic on the buying behavior.

“Oh such a beautiful infographic on shoes, let us buy some shoes from this website.” Ain’t going to happen. Trust me. 

So unless you can afford to gamble with couple of grants or have in-house capacity, i would suggest to stay away from producing infographics.

I think biggest mistake marketers can make is by producing contents which have nothing to do with their target audience or niche.

If you won’t align your content marketing goals with your business goals then you can’t expect to improve your business bottomline. It is as simple as that.

 

Purge your Analytics Data before your measure Content Marketing

I have seen many analytics accounts where marketers set up and measure irrelevant goals and add random value to the goals they are measuring. Such practice can greatly skew the conversion rate, page value, per visit goal value, per visit value and various other metrics across several analytics reports esp. multi channel funnel reports.

So

always question how the data is collected in the first place.

It is wise that before you measure your content marketing efforts make sure you are measuring only those goals which are beneficial to your business.

Make sure that true value is assigned to each goal.

If you don’t purge your analytics data then you will make wrong business decisions which can result in loss of revenue.

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