Beyond Views and Downloads: Use More Advanced Content Analytics

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Posted: February 4, 2016 | Content Marketing

Do you know what your top content assets were for the last quarter? In terms of lead generation that is. Any idea which specific assets contributed directly or indirectly to your pipeline?

I don’t necessarily mean the assets you sent to your known database of leads, but the ones that visitors on your site or social channels were eager to read or view and helped you gain new names and fresh leads. And not just the gated content, but also blog posts, videos and any other ungated asset that drove people to connect with you.

For many marketers, these questions can feel hard to answer.

Marketers often talk about the “value of content marketing” and rightfully praise its ability to bring in new business opportunities, but can’t actually measure its exact impact. But how can you identify specific high-performing content assets and their contribution to lead generation and nurturing?

Recent advances in marketing technology have made it easier to trace leads back to specific content assets. In this blog, I’ll walk you through one approach on how to understand the performance of specific content assets and demonstrate the value of your ongoing content marketing efforts.

Starting with the Basics: Measuring Lead Generation

If you’re still evaluating how valuable an ebook or blog post is based on page views only, you’re not alone. Until recently, this was the easiest—and, in many cases, the only way to judge. This lack of analytics goes hand-in-hand with a recent statistic from the Content Marketing Institute, which found that only 38% of B2B companies felt their content marketing efforts were effective.

However, with today’s advanced analytics tools, you can determine whether a visitor becomes a lead as a result of your content asset—whether that happens immediately or several clicks later during a visit (direct leads) or during a later interaction (assisted leads). Understanding this path allows you to actually identify the types of content that attract the most conversions, and then use this insight to create similar assets going forward.

In the example below, you can see how Marketo’s Web Personalization App offers marketers actionable analytics—displaying not only the views of every content asset, but also the number of direct leads and the conversion rate of each one.

Marketo Web PersonalizationSample dashboard from Marketo Web Personalization displaying content engagements and leads generated

Content can have a direct impact on lead generation; for example, directly assisting them by providing a whitepaper when someone fills out their information or indirectly assisting them by educating them further and advancing them in the sales cycle. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between direct and assisted conversions as they apply to content marketing.

Direct Leads
Direct lead generation can occur in two different ways:

  1. A prospect converts immediately after reaching a landing page on your website, as a result of an ad, organic search, social media post, etc. The prospect then fills out a form with her contact details and, in exchange, receives access to gated content (such as an ebook, webinar video, template, or whitepaper).
  2. A prospect browses several pages before converting. In this scenario (a very typical one), your visitor might read a blog post or case study, or view a product video and then continue to browse your site to further educate themselves before he reaches a positive decision and submits his details. This scenario is often overlooked by marketers because they don’t know how to track and measure it effectively. And that’s unfortunate because this is a common scenario that has a significant impact on measuring the success of your content.

In both scenarios, a specific content asset on your website directly contributed to a conversion.

Assisted Leads
While direct conversions occur within the same visit or session, their assisted counterparts happen over the course of multiple sessions. For example, a prospect can reach your website through an ad, click on a few different pages and leave—only to return a few days later and convert through a landing page.

Typically, assisted conversions count as such as long as they happen within a three-month period.

When it comes to assisted leads, the weight of the conversion doesn’t necessarily fall on one specific asset—it’s the result of multiple touchpoints over a period of time. This is a softer measurement because it isn’t as straightforward which action or content asset tipped the scale and convinced the buyer to convert, but it is still critically important to identify those that typically had a positive influence and understand which combination of assets played a part in the conversion.

Connecting the Dots Between Content Marketing and Lead Generation

Now comes the key element—understanding exactly which content assets are driving both direct and assisted conversions, and leveraging that knowledge to further drive conversions.

Which specific case study or video is generating more leads for you? Is that ebook you recently published working better to attract a practitioner or decision-maker crowd? Do they belong to a certain industry or share the same position?

In essence, answering such questions can help you learn which assets to use for which audience and if your existing assets met your goal to attract a specific audience (or if you missed the mark). At this stage, you can analyze top-performing content based on factors such as:

  • Content Format: ebook, case study, webinar, video, blog post, infographic, etc.
  • Length: bite-size, snackable content vs. long-form content
  • Subject Matter: specific keyword, vertical, topic, etc.
  • Visuals: number of images in the post, types of images, etc.

Creating content is an expensive, time-consuming process, and understanding which elements help you attract your “ideal lead” is key to making better decisions. Since most marketers spend a set amount on content development, the clearer your understanding of which content works, the better.

Removing the Hassle from Content Marketing Analytics

With the right tool , you can access the most advanced analytics available, which will allow you to ensure that you’re spending time creating the right assets. Look for a tool that will give you the whole picture, even if a visitor reads one of your posts, and then continues on to other pages, or leaves entirely and returns two months later and then converts. You want to be able to track every touchpoint.

Marketo Web Personalization 2Sample dashboard from Marketo Web Personalization displaying specific content performance

Want to learn more about how to implement advanced content analytics at your organization? Check out this webinar which will walk you through how Marketo Web Personalization’s Content Analytics can help you do the heavy lifting and provide you with actionable data.

 

Mike Telem is VP of Product Marketing, Real-Time Personalization at Marketo. As co-founder of Insightera, his extensive background in business development and online marketing enabled him to drive sales operations and global business initiatives. Before co-founding Insightera, Mike served as Business Development Manager in the RAD-Bynet group.

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