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Your Content Analytics Are Meaningless Unless You Have This [Rose-Colored Glasses]

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Your Content Analytics Are Meaningless Unless You Have This [Rose-Colored Glasses]


If we can measure it, it must be important. So, is our job to just determine how accurately we can get that number?

Not at all. If any measurement is to mean anything, the first task is to agree on what equals success. It’s one of the unspoken secrets in all of marketing measurement. Agreement on measurement is much more important than the accuracy of the measurement itself.

Agreement on #ContentMarketing measurement is more important than the accuracy of the measurement, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

A couple of weeks ago, I had this conversation with a director of marketing at a technology company. We were talking about the accuracy of digital marketing and how senior leadership directed him to be “sharper” (i.e., better) on measuring content marketing’s contribution to the overall marketing strategy.

His first planned initiative was to get into the details of the accuracy of the analytics tools. He wanted to make sure they were generating the right numbers, which were all in line with each other.

I told him getting more accurate data was the least of his challenges. What senior leadership really wanted was an agreement on what the value is.

Agreement matters more than accuracy

Look at TV ratings. They have never been accurate. In the early days, participants in the selected homes listed the shows that they watched and for how long in diaries. Do you think any of them took a wild guess at what they watched on Tuesday? And, up until a few years ago, the representative sample for television ratings was about 20,000 households in the United States. When you consider over 100 million homes in the US have a television, that’s like walking into a basketball arena of 10,000 people and figuring out what everybody wants for dinner by asking two of them.

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As I explained to the marketing director: Television advertising isn’t a $60 billion industry because it’s accurately measured. It’s because everybody has agreed to the standard that determines “good” television based on ratings, regardless of their accuracy.”

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TV advertising isn’t a $60 billion industry because it’s accurately measured. It’s because everybody has agreed to the standard that determines “good” TV, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The same must be true in your content marketing strategy. You first must define, align, and agree on your objectives and identify the unambiguous measurement of success.

How do you do that? Well, I like to think of measurement as a “design problem,” not an engineering problem, but here is a three-step process that has worked for us:

Step 1: Set your objective

Well-articulated objectives are clear and succinct and use plain language. They also imply or explicitly mention a time horizon to reach them. Objectives are the most important thing to get agreement on.

Set well-articulated objectives with a time horizon to reach them. That’s the most important thing to agree on, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For example, a plainly stated objective might be: After the first year, our content marketing program will generate 30% of the new qualified leads in our demand-generation efforts.”

Setting and agreeing on strategic objectives doesn’t mean they never change, shift, or evolve. It just means you are aligned on the objective.

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Step 2: Agree on key results

Now that you have an aligned strategic objective, you need to agree on the second most important thing – the definition of unambiguous success. This is what that marketing director’s senior leadership actually meant by getting “sharper” on how the measurement of content marketing was going to contribute to the business.

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Define the key results and (most importantly) agreed upon measurements to determine if the objective has been reached. Again, clarity and simplicity are critical.

To be clear, these key results are not key performance indicators (KPI). Your key results are the definition of the goal. The KPIs, which I’ll get to in a moment, are the measurements to help you evaluate the progress toward those goals.

For example, the objective is to drive 30% of the new qualified leads. That’s a shared purpose, but it’s not defined. No one has agreed on what that means yet. To define what that means, the three agreed-upon key results might be:

  • Increase current qualified lead velocity into sales by 15% as measured by sales-enablement form fills.
  • Increase conversion rates of free trials by 25% as measured by the number of trials created.
  • Decrease cost-per-thousand advertising rate by 20% as measured by average digital CPM rate.

Notice how I used the words “as measured by.” In constructing your key results, you may use hard numbers instead of percentages, or you might not have numbers at all. The key is to all agree on what the unit of measurement will be.

Now, take the time to pause and socialize your strategy. You most likely will have more than one strategic objective made up of multiple key results. Use this approach to achieve buy-in from your senior leadership.

Once you have shared objectives and agreement on how they will be measured, it’s time to care a bit about the veracity of your metrics.

Step 3: Design your measurement metrics

If you’ve gotten this far, you likely realize no single analytics tool is going to give the direct answers you need. Your sales-enablement form-fill information will most likely come from your CRM system. Your conversion of free trials might, literally, be calling up Mary and asking, “How many free trials from this landing page did we have last month?” And your CPM decrease might be a view in Google Analytics or an average across multiple ad-tech systems.

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Your KPIs – the first level of your measurement metrics – are likely going to be drawn from a variety of data sources. They can help track your progress toward reaching one or multiple objectives. In the case where multiple numbers make up a KPI, break out another category of identifying all the sources of those numbers.

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For example, Content Marketing Award-winning company ServiceNow publishes Workflow Quarterly with the objective of generating leads. One of their KPIs is what they call an “engagement KPI,” a custom metric that combines page views, time on page, and scroll length. The engagement KPI is used to score articles to help ServiceNow evaluate the content’s effectiveness in delivering value to the reader.

Put these things together, and you’ve designed a measurement program that people will agree with.

More than accurate numbers – you know the numbers everyone agrees on.

Just remember that accuracy is how close we are to a standard or truth. But, to determine accuracy, you first need to define what the measurement is attempting to assess. In other words, you must define the standard or truth before accuracy means anything.

Now you’re measuring what’s truly meaningful – the truth we all believe in.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just three minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries
Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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MARKETING

Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update

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Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update

Old Navy will update its yearly Fourth of July promotions by saluting the metaverse with an NFT drop, going live June 29.

In honor of the year they were founded, the retailer will release 1,994 common NFTs, each selling for $0.94. The NFTs will feature the iconic Magic the Dog and t include a promo code for customers to claim an Old Navy t-shirt at Old Navy locations or online.

“This launch is Old Navy’s first activation in web3 or with NFTs,” an Old Navy spokesperson told MarTech. “As a brand rooted in democratization and inclusivity, it was essential that we provide access and education for all with the launch of our first NFT collection. We want all our customers, whether they have experience with web3, to be able to learn and participate in this activation.”

Accessible and user-friendly. Any customer can participate by visiting a page off of Old Navy’s home site, where they’ll find step-by-step instructions.

There will also be an auction for a unique one-of-one NFT. All proceeds for the NFT and shirt sales go to Old Navy’s longtime charitable partner, Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Additionally, 10% of NFT resales on the secondary market will also go to Boys & Girls Clubs.

Support. This activation is supported by Sweet, who’s played a major role in campaigns for other early NFT adopters like Burger King.

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The Old Navy NFTs will be minted on the Tezos blockchain, known for its low carbon footprint.

“This is Old Navy’s first time playing in the web3 space, and we are using the launch of our first NFT collection to test and learn,” said Old Navy’s spokesperson. “We’re excited to enable our customers with a new way to engage with our iconic brand and hero offerings and look forward to exploring additional consumer activations in web3 in the future.”

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Read next: 4 key strategies for NFT brand launches

Why we care. Macy’s also announced an NFT promotion timed to their fireworks show. This one will award one of 10,000 NFTs to those who join their Discord server.

Old Navy, in contrast, is keeping customers closer to their owned channels, and not funneling customers to Discord. Old Navy consumers who don’t have an NFT wallet can sign up through Sweet to purchase and bid on NFTs.

While Macy’s has done previous web3 promotions, this is Old Navy’s first. They’ve aligned a charity partner, brand tradition and concern for the environment with a solid first crack at crypto.


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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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