Part 3: The Death of the Conversion Pixel
This is a 3-part series. Click here for part 1, and here for part 2.
As I mentioned in part 1, that agency meeting is what got the ball rolling for us to take on the challenge of measuring content for brands. What we needed now was to truly understand the market’s needs and pain points. We sat down with ad agencies, brand marketers, and advertisers to learn more about their challenges. We wanted to better understand why content marketing, which performs so well in the B2B and online spaces, is not being adopted faster by brands.
As we dug deeper, 3 issues became apparent:
- The ones that do have defined goals usually focus on so-called “soft metrics”: Things like clicks, impressions, and Facebook shares. They still keep a clear “church and state” separation between their content efforts and any ROI-driven metrics.
- Most brands and agencies still struggle to define the KPIs and desired outcomes of their content activities.
- For those who were measuring clear business goals, those goals were either not being reached in the same session, or were not goals that were realistic. For example – we saw more than one brand trying to measure newsletter sign-ups. Though that may work in a B2B environment, very few Average Joes would actually take that action when it comes to, say, the soda that they drink.
The result? Many marketers had to significantly reduce their content operations because they didn’t have any tools to measure content’s impact over time.
We knew that this was a mistake. We knew how successful content marketing could be, and that there had to be a better way.
A Framework for Measuring Attention
When assessing the impact of online content on a person’s attention, we should look at two types of behavioral indicators:
- In-session behavior – this group of metrics analyzes the behavior of a person during a single web session on the brand’s assets. For example, we can look at the Read Ratio, i.e. the number of pages a visitor actually read as opposed to just visited. Other metrics in that family are pages per session, time on site, and so on.
- Multi-session behavior – these metrics refer to how the person re-engaged with the brand’s assets over time. How many times did they come back to the brand-owned site? How often have they engaged with the brand’s properties?
These two categories require the ability to measure behavior on the pages themselves as well as to connect user sessions over longer periods – days, weeks and months.
A combination of these metrics can help us find a specific group of people that we can infer – based on our experience with goal-oriented content marketing – that we’ve succeeded in acquiring their attention. This data can help is 2 ways:
- To better understand which topics, sources and assets perform best for capturing attention. Where do the most attentive users engage with us? What kinds of content have them returning for more?
- The best ways to try and re-engage with those people, keeping their attention. This can be done using remarketing, email, social posts, or via mobile apps.
We haven’t yet fully cracked the code, but we think we’re getting closer and closer by the day.