When I talk to content marketers about business goals and ROI – I often find that they take on the look of a deer in the headlights. Of course, that’s a problem that needs to be solved. But most people think the solution is to just force performance goals onto the content team. That ignores a much wider problem. Of course, content teams should work hard in the service of business goals, but there has to be a middle ground.

The Problem with Performance Goals.

Living and dying by performance goals gives you a session-centric and sources-centric angle on what you’re doing. In other words, optimizing toward those goals usually means changing time or investment in your distribution channels, in relation to what you see in your Google Analytics dashboard. What you see in that dashboard mostly reflects individual sessions. So chances are, if you’re looking at Google Analytics, the top driver of conversions would be Google itself. Because usually, when a user is ready to convert, they reach the site via google.

The problem with this is that 90% of content journeys are multi-touch. Looking at that last session just won’t cut it. 

90% of content journeys are multi-touch. Looking at that last session just won't cut it. @TrenDemon. #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

To complicate things even further: If you’ve got low traffic volume, an offline action, or a product that requires a really long consideration phase, optimizing for on-site conversions become more frustrating, and often you feel like you’re flying blind. If your lead time is measured in months, day-to-day optimization seems impossible. Interestingly, these are also usually the cases where content is most effective.

The result of this is that a lot of content marketers end up relying on vanity metrics or data that is not truly useful for them in the long run.

So what’s a content marketer to do? Optimize for attention, that’s what.

Clear Correlations

We’ve found a clear correlation between reading, returning, and completing a business goal: The more people read of your content, the more likely they are to convert:

In other words, there are behaviors that signal high potential to convert in the long run. So if a user behaves in a way that correlates with people who have converted, that means they have a good chance of converting themselves. You can use those behaviors as benchmarks to optimize toward.

If a user behaves in a way that correlates with people who have converted, that means they have a good chance of converting themselves. Click To Tweet

To build on this, our analysis finds that there’s a pattern of user behavior that indicates likelihood to convert in the long run:

  1. Had at least 2 different sessions.
  2. Read at least 3 different pages
  3. Done this over the course of one month.

Those people are an Attentive Audience, 3-5 times more likely to convert.

These correlations are true on the whole – we’ve seen them on multiple clients, so you can just use them as-is.

If you do have a clear performance goal, you can also create your own definition. Look at important events or milestones that happen on your typical user journeys. How long does it take someone to convert? How many average sessions does a converter have? How many average page views?

Optimizing for Attention

Once you have your definition of an attentive audience, the optimization strategy becomes clear: Your goal becomes creating more attentive audiences. Here are a few easy tips to make that happen:

  1. Figure out things you can do to bring back a user a second or third time. Retargeting is an easy way to do that, but there are other strategies –  like doubling down on your social posts and amplifying them.
  2. Recommend more content to your users once they’ve read something on the site.  
  3. Identify return visitors and reverse engineer the traffic sources and content pieces that got them there. Double down on investments in those sources, and create more of the content that brought them back. 

Are you ready to optimize for attention? Schedule a demo today and see if TrenDemon is right for you.



About Inbar Yagur

Inbar Yagur is the VP of Marketing at TrenDemon, helping empower content marketers with clear and actionable insights. Before TrenDemon, she helped write the rulebook for marketing on content discovery channels as the head of Creative Strategy for Taboola, working with brands and Fortune 500 companies.
Her passion is speaking to content marketers: Educating them about best practices and strategies, and helping them troubleshoot and optimize efforts.
Most importantly, she's a mother of 2, a rabid consumer of pop culture and politics, and a reciter of 90's SNL skits.