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Content Marketing Metrics: Part 1 – Consumption Metrics

The Key to Content Marketing Metrics

The single most confusing question for anyone in content marketing is: How do I measure the effectiveness of my content marketing?

Content marketing has come a long way in the past few years. There are now definite content marketing metrics to answer this question, along with technologies that help quantify the return on your content marketing investment.

The following articles will provide a comprehensive overview of the analytics and metrics to help you determine the effectiveness of your content, and ultimately how it affects revenue.

Over the next week, we will be sharing our knowledge on the four types of metrics that content marketers should focus on.

To start off, I have adapted a 4-part framework proposed by Jay Baer in his eBook on this topic, and placed this into an inverted pyramid model as shown: Field-Guide-4-Types-of-Content-Mktg-Metrics

  • Consumption metrics
  • Sharing metrics
  • Lead generation metrics
  • Sales metrics

CONTENT MARKETING CONSUMPTION METRICS

Typically, the easiest measurements to set up and understand, consumption metrics answer the question “How many people viewed, downloaded, or listened to this piece of content?” Not all content marketers are masters of measurement, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, basic metrics are a recommended starting point. They will answer your most fundamental content questions and provide you with an overview of how your strategy is performing.

Key consumption metrics include:

GOOGLE ANALYTICS

  • Users: this provides the total number of unique visitors to a particular page on your website.
  • Pageviews: records the total number of times a particular page on your website, be it a product page, or a blog post, is viewed.
  • Unique Pageviews: this metric combines pageviews that are generated by the same user during the same session, so you can gain an insight into the number of sessions during which that page was viewed.

EMAIL

  • Open rates: Email headlines are content too! Don’t forget to A/B test them to increase the likelihood of a high open rate.
  • Clicks: How many clicks do your emails acquire and where do they go? This is especially useful if your email newsletter contains links to different blog posts, so you can ascertain which posts are most attractive to your subscribers.

Consumption metrics, as we’ve established, can provide an incredibly comprehensive introduction to measuring content effectiveness. It could be tempting to cap your measurement at content consumption, but if you drill just a little bit deeper you can gain a much more detailed understanding of how your audience is interacting with your content, and for how long they are paying attention to it.

Stay tuned for part 2 of A Deeper Look at Content Marketing Metrics, when we talk about Sharing Metrics and how it can be very important for your organization.

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Is Google Really Optimizing Their Search Engine Results Page?

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Recently at the Google Ads & Analytics Innovations Keynote held on on May 24th 2016, Google released some game changing news to people who are familiar with Adwords and the world of PPC. Without a clear date other than “sometime this year” we will begin to see an increase of text on all our ads. In some early testing they claimed that some advertisers saw an increase in clickthrough rates of up to 20% compared to the current text ads we have in place now. This sounds like fantastic news, who would ever turn down the opportunity to increase clickthrough rate? But delving in deeper to this topic it begs the question: Is Google really optimizing for the needs of the consumers and users? Or are they looking out for their own (already) deep pockets?

As you’ll see in the chart below, text ads will increase by nearly 50% in character count and it will allow us to describe our products and services in much finer detail. At first glance this is great news because sometimes as advertisers we do need that little extra space to get our point across to the end user. I’ve had countless occasions that go a little like this:

Just finishing up the perfect description line right there… let’s check the character count… Dang it! 36?! Oh come on!.

 It happens too many times, and it gets a bit frustrating at times.

Expanded Text Ads

For the advertisers this sounds like great news but let’s take a look at it from Google’s perspective and what they have been doing to the SERP in just this year alone. In early February, Google announced that it would no longer be displaying side bar ads. Upon some research it seems that their reasoning behind this was to work towards a seamless user interface of the SERP between desktop and mobile. This makes a bit of sense since the shift to mobile has already happened. And by this, I mean that more than half of the searches done on Google are through mobile smart phones rather than desktop and laptops. After the removal of the side bar ads we started seeing an increase in competition. This sort of competition would only come natural with less real estate to work with on the SERP. Instead of businesses being happy at ad positions 1-8, where all those ads were visible above the fold to the viewer, advertisers now absolutely need to compete for the number 1-4 position which naturally increases competition and cost as well. If you are not at those top positions, chances are that your ads are not going to be seen. Some would argue that there are ads at the bottom of the page now as well, but the user will rarely scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page going past organic results and find your specific ad. We’ve personally seen a slight increase in costs to remain competitive for those top 4 spots with our own clients. Not being careful with these new changes Google implements can be detrimental to your account. Lowering numerous, if not all, metrics within your campaigns. This change has made it even harder for smaller business to thrive in PPC. Aside from your ad and keyword relevancy, aiming for those top positions can really rack up your costs tremendously. PPC just got a little more competitive and harder for anyone or any business that is starting out and may not have the funds to compete with major brands.

We are still seeing the impact left by the no side bar ads and managing quite well here at Netfinity. But these new expanded text ads will increase competition and drive costs up even more! Take a look at this infographic down below.

Ads Infographic

This all simply comes down to real estate available on the SERP and we are all fighting for at least the number 1-4 position as of right now. On the left under “previous” you’ll see that it has the most ad space, which we were working with this just a couple months ago! In the middle, you’ll see what we are currently working with, which has a little less ad space and you can begin to see how it becomes more expensive to remain competitive. Even more so with the last page (right) which is where we are heading. Now obviously, we won’t know how many ads will be displayed yet with the new changes, but with 50% more text, I can only speculate that it will be no more than 3 positions at top which is one less than we’d have now. You begin to see a trend with these changes, less real estate to work with which equals more expensive to compete. This ultimately leads to Google getting a little more bang for their buck out of AdWords users. I still can’t grasp myself if this change is done with 100% good intentions, we will have to wait and see how it unfolds. I can certainly tell you however, that we welcome the challenge and am eager to compete for those top positions.

So if you are new to the marketing and advertising space and are considering Google as a potential channel, I encourage you to work with someone who is actively staying on top of the ever evolving space, and can help you be competitive and not break the bank.

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What is Google My Business and How Can It Help Your Company?

google-my-businessFor many small business owners, managing and syncing all their information on Google+ and Google+ Local was becoming redundant and time-consuming. Google’s response to this is Google My Business. So, what exactly is Google My Business? It’s a centralized place to manage your business across all of Google.

How does it Help?

Google My Business allows you to multiply the chance for a user to find you and get your information whether he is in Google Search or Google Maps or Google +. It ensures that your information is everywhere, so whether a potential customer is doing a web search or “seeing what’s nearby” on Google Maps, they’ll be able to find you. Check out the example below of a Realty company we manage located in Scottsdale. It clearly maintains their Google My Business Account with photos, contact information, and hours of availability.Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 3.49.52 PM

Computer, smartphone, tablet? Clients can also be on any device, and Google My Business will have you covered. It also means that any time you need to update your information — say you want to add a phone number, or you’ve changed your hours — you only need to do it in one place to update all things. If you live and die by your web traffic, you want to make sure that what Google shows is right! You can even add a virtual tour of your business so new clients and customers can really check you out!

Why is is so important for SEO?

When you establish a presence on Google My Business you have the ideal platform for gathering customer reviews and ranking higher in Google SERPS – all organically. The more positive customer reviews your business receives, the better your company’s SEO rankings get and the more visibility your business will gain.

Optimizing Google My Business

Much like the content on your website and blog, the information you use for Google My Business can be optimized. By keeping the information consistent across this page, as well as on other third party directory listings, your site will be recognized as an even more reputable business, which will pay off in terms of traffic and search engine rankings.

Once you have optimized your Google My Business listing, you can take advantage of the tracking data (provided for free by Google) to see the number of page impressions, clicks, click-to-calls and other user insights. All of this can be used to further improve your SEO efforts.

Google & SEO Are More Important Than Ever.

Don’t ignore the power of Google My Business. While you may be killing it in terms of search engine results, there is always room for improvement. Be sure local customers are finding you by taking advantage of this hugely effective tool.

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The Strategy of Social

Social Media is an ever changing world. It seems like everyone has a “friend” who is working on a new “game-changing” social platform. But as a business how do you determine where you should spend your time? How do you know where to put your effort, or staff members, time and advertising dollars to work? Strategy! 

In construction there is a phrase my dad used to tell me all the time, “measure twice, cut once.”

Implying you need to take your time to make sure your assumption is correct before you move to action. The same is true in marketing and advertising, spend time really figuring out where your target audience is at.

Selling natural supplements to old people? They probably aren’t on Periscope or using Facebook live. They still have an old @aol.com email address and are afraid of the big, scary, interwebs. They are on Facebook though; data shows that the 50+ demographic is getting more involved in social media. So use ads for desktop to target this audience, segmenting your targeting by age, and health concerns.

Are you a business that is more service based, providing Freight Logistics? Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are platforms you could use. Depending on the amount of investment you want to put forward maybe you do all three, there are pros and cons to each, which I will save for another post, but look into the demographics of your users and target audience, plan of putting aside time to put together a Marketing Roadmap before you go spend money. It is well worth the time and investment.

Most businesses exercise the “Ready, shoot, aim” approach when it comes to their marketing, where they realize that the money they spent could have been used more efficiently and been more profitable had they spent the time to use some “Strategery” before going into the market. Give us a shout if you need some help in this area, because like I said, the investment is well worth it!

BTW – Thanks Grandma for liking all my photos on Facebook!

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Part 2: The Content Marketing Funnel

Last week we went over the first two segments of Part 1: Content Marketing funnel, this week we will cover the last two segments to fulfill the content marketing funnel.

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Finally! All the courting is done and your visitors are ready to turn into customers. Depending on your brand’s style (if you’ve found that the hard sell works well for your audience), this is where you’d make that final direct pitch.

The narrowest part of the funnel is the point of transaction (or conversion). At this point, we know that folks remaining in the funnel are interested in what we have to offer; we’re just trying to convince them we’re worth them pulling the trigger.

Be ready to wow those people in the final moments before they finally decide to commit to your products with:

  • Testimonials
  • Reviews
  • A streamlined, comprehensible, and trustworthy sales process

This type of content is more straightforward. It can involve things like clear descriptions of your products that outline the unique value they provide to customers. It could include charts that compare your various products to one another or to those of other companies. Bottom-of-the-funnel content is the sales material of content marketing.

Retention: Beyond the Funnel

Once you’ve got those customers, your goal is to keep ’em. Content marketing is part of that process too. At this point, we’re focused on retention—turning one-time buyers into repeat customers (or, for companies with a subscription model, making sure customers continue their subscriptions instead of canceling).

Think about all the content that’s generated in the following forms and how your retention would tank without it:

  • Customer support and help documentation
  • Special offers
  • Insider how-to’s
  • Email outreach and follow-up
  • Effective product UX

As you can see, each stage requires a different approach. Just like you’re more likely to post different versions of your message on Twitter and Facebook, be sure to use the right form of content marketing at the right stage of your process.

Whatever stage of the funnel you’re creating content for, the key is to figure out who you’re talking to and what they might need to hear before you say anything.

If you are just starting to get your toes wet in the content marketing scene, or want new ways to repurpose your curated content, learning how different types of content target different parts of the funnel is key to an effective content marketing strategy.

Here at Netfinity, we ensure the right information and content is being delivered to the right audiences, at the right time, feel free to contact us for a free evaluation.

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Part 1: The Content Marketing Funnel

If you aren’t already familiar with the traditional model of the marketing funnel, it’s worth getting to know. The idea of the funnel is that your pool of potential customers grows smaller as it moves toward its first transaction with your business.

At the top of the funnel, there are many people who will become aware of your brand (often seen as the first step in the conversion process). The middle of the funnel is smaller, as there are fewer people who’ll actually consider paying you for your products or services, and the bottom of the funnel is even smaller, as many of the folks who consider paying you will end up deciding not to. Your mission as a marketer is to make that funnel as solid as possible, guiding potential customers toward eventual conversion.

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Discovery: The Top of the Funnel

The top of the funnel is often where we see inbound marketing at its finest. Our goals might include nudging a few potential customers toward conversion, but the way we go about that is rarely by talking about ourselves. Instead, it’s about figuring out what the audience wants and needs to learn about and teaching them those things. If you’re doing that well, you’re associating feelings of gratitude and respect with your brand—not to mention authority. All the while, you’re raising the competence of your readers to a point where the products or services you have to offer are more useful to them. Double win.

Types of content that work well during the discovery phase include:

  • Blog posts
  • Webinars
  • Big content (games, tools, long-form content, parallax scrollers)
  • Comprehensive guides
  • Videos
  • Email newsletters

Consideration: The Middle of the Funnel

In the consideration phase, a consumer starts to associate you with the solution you offer. This is the time when you want to supply them with content that helps them evaluate you and your products. At this stage, we’re speaking directly to the people we think our business can help and making sure they know how we can help them. Remember that they may not yet trust you, so don’t put on your sales hat just yet. Instead, consideration content is a great opportunity to make sure it’s easy for your visitor to browse all the information that might help them differentiate you from your competitors.

At this stage people will be looking for:

  • Case studies
  • How-to content that showcases your products
  • Demo videos
  • Product descriptions and data sheets

Make sure to check the Blog next week for the final two segments; Conversion and Retention. These are the most important sections that fill out the funnel.

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No more side ads on Google?

Side ads removed from Google

Is the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) evolving for the good or bad? Google just recently stopped showing side ads that we were used to seeing and instead placed ads towards the bottom of them page. So now all your organic results are sandwiched between ads.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 1.15.58 PMThey seem to only be focusing on top and bottom real estate of the SERP and it will sure be interesting to see how this will affect the performance of ads overall. I can see it going either way but one thing is for sure; the competitiveness for those top 4 spots will be incredibly tough since those are the only ads above the fold easily viewable and accessible to the user without doing any scrolling. Before this change your ad could easily be seen at rank 4~7 although rank 1-3 where the desired spots. With this change I’m 100% certain we will start seeing the quality of ads shoot through the roof and they will be more specific and relevant to the user. Advertisers will be forced to fight for those 4 exclusive spots all bidding for your click and hoping for a high CTR. We can’t really forget about the ads on the bottom of the page but no ambitious advertiser would be satisfied unless they are at the top.

Personally, I think this could be linked to the high use of searches done through mobile. Although mobile has their strict guidelines for showing ads and is different from a browser search, mobile is accounted for over half of Google’s searches. We as users tend to search and strictly scroll up and down on our phones to view our results and never really scroll horizontally. We were actually never really given the option to scroll horizontally on our mobile phones to begin with. Since the mobile market is only continuing to grow I see this as a strategic move from Google to adapt to the changes us users are experiencing and make it one fluid interface regardless of what platform you are on. We will have to wait and see how this will affect ad performance and competitiveness in the market.

Here at Netfinity we strive to have our ads rank between 1-3 so they are getting all the exposure they need with the most relevancy. Feel free to contact us for a free evaluation.

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The Perfect Content Product

• The Perfect content product • (6)

There’s a lot to consider when creating an effective content marketing strategy. There are literally thousands of resources out there that contain millions of different opinions on what might be the best path to marketing success. Serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis often talks about the qualities that, in his opinion, describe the perfect content product: real-time, fact-driven, visual, efficient, and curated.

Real-Time Marketing

Every couple of years there seems to a new marketing darling, innovated by big brands, that will change the face of marketing forever. Today’s belle of the ball is real-time marketing. The definition of “real-time marketing” seems to be similar across the board amongst the major marketing media outlets, big brands, and the agencies that serve them both.

In short, they portray real-time marketing as the practice of brands engaging their audience via content, advertising, and product placement that is relevant to a specific current event or cultural happening. The content is most often in the form of a “meme” or graphic advertisement shared through social media channels. Some brands have had great success with their real-time marketing efforts, with thousands of consumers sharing their content. While others are missing the boat.

Fact-driven

Today’s leading brands use data in a variety of ways. Regardless of the point of view you express, the content you develop must be based on fact. Just like in grade school, when we had to cite the sources we used in our history reports, leveraging credible statistics and information is essential to creating authoritative, meaningful content.

Several of today’s top brands are already using data to improve their content marketing strategy and customer conversations in ways that go beyond the checkout experience on their eCommerce sites. They’re using customer information to strengthen the service side of their operations, as well as to optimize the content marketing they publish to their owned media properties (e.g., blogs, microsites, and social media).

When you look at data, you may discover that you cater to dozens of unique buyers. Because it’s no longer sufficient to just focus on age, gender, and income bracket when developing buyer personas, cast a wider net and evaluate information such as purchasing patterns, in-store visits, and local-based information to identify topics and areas of interest for your audience.

Visual

In late 2011, Skyword, a content marketing platform, performed an analysis on all of its content and found that blog posts and articles that included images performed 94 percent better than those without images in the same category. Why does this happen? According to research conducted by 3M, 90 percent of transmitted information in the human brain is visual in nature, and visual content gets processed 60,000 times faster than the written word.

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Image Via Skyward.com

So the visual design is critical, even in text-based content, and should be a part of every one of your content marketing efforts.

Efficient

Marketers have a tremendous opportunity to save money by improving their efficiency. If you cannot articulate a purpose for your content marketing, then you need to stop – it will be a huge waste of time, and maybe money. You need to define what you want your content marketing to achieve for your business.

While you don’t have to put a specific number on anything at this point (e.g., # of new customers), think in terms of spreading your brand, getting more traffic, such as click-throughs to download an e-guide or view a webinar or a sign-up for your email newsletter. All of these things allow you to start a conversation, and that’s where all sales really begin.

Curated

In simple terms, the process of content curation is the act of sorting through large amounts of content on the web and presenting the best posts in a meaningful and organized way.

In other words, content curation is very different from content marketing. Content curation doesn’t include creating new content; it’s the act of discovering, compiling, and sharing existing content with your online followers. Content curation is becoming an important tactic for any marketing department to maintain a successful online presence. Not only that, but content curation allows you to provide extra value to your brand’s audience and customers, which is key to building those lasting relationships with loyal fans.

Remember, content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing the consumers behavior. It is an ongoing process — not a “one-and-done” campaign. Make sure your content marketing operations include elements of the above five points so that your readers will actually engage in the content you spend so much time producing.

Here at Netfinity, we ensure the right information and content is being delivered to the right audiences, at the right time, feel free to contact us for a free evaluation.

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Split Testing

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Having success through AdWords requires a lot of moving parts that we constantly need to be on top of. One of those key things is our ad creative, which we are always testing and seeing which one works best compared to others.

What is Split testing?

Without overcomplicating it, split testing is simply the testing of various ads against each other to see which ad produces the best results. Once you find a clear winner you repeat the process until you’ve reached the highest potential for your ad whether it be the highest CTR, conversions, clicks, etc. Google has its own process where it will rotate multiple ads simultaneously only showing the best performing ads to people who are searching for your keyword. For this reason it is best practice to always have two or more ads running at the same time.

Here at NFY Interactive we like to split test our ads using different variations in the ad creative. Some of those are; price, feature, brand or fear. Based on the type of business you are advertising different themes are better suited than others. For example, if you are selling insurance policies a fear theme might go along with that as it shows that it’s really urgent and necessary to have. Now if we used that same theme for a nice shiny new iPhone we wouldn’t have the same results. For something like the iPhone I’d be super heavy on the features such as “Fast A8 Chip” (or whatever chip they’re on by now A9, 10, 11) this shows what the phone can do. But being Apple they are fine just using any heavily branded creative to have a successful ad.

NFY Interactive is a full service Marketing and Web Development Agency based in Chula Vista, CA. We provide PPC Management services paired with strategic goal setting and ROI focused results. If you are considering an Agency, contact us for a free evaluation.

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Where are you on your Content Marketing Journey?

Turning a business around to be content-focused is a fascinating journey, but definitely not for the faint hearted. You want to get to a place where your content is so good that it does your selling for you, with an army of fans who happily share it and refer you, where the act of promoting your business is one you actually enjoy – that’s content marketing nirvana.

The journey – from the decision to focus your efforts on sharing the kind of content your customers are looking for, to the point at which they choose to do business with you – is not a straight A to B trip. There are numerous pitfalls and mountains on the way.

Depending on what business you have, you may have varying needs for content development and sophistication. It is a scale-not of capability, but of approach. Understanding where you currently are in your content marketing journey is critical to getting started on the right path. Robert Rose co-author of Managing Content Marketing came up with the maturity model for content marketing.

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Content Aware

At the Base of this scale is what is called the “content aware.” This is using content to cut through the noise of interruption-based advertising and drive trusted awareness to your product and service. The strategy consist of generating lots of trustworthy and helpful content in order to be found, generate awareness, and endanger trust with your target audience.

Thought Leader

After “content aware” the next stage is working to become a “thought leader,” or “lead with engagement.” This is where, as a brand, you create content that delivers value beyond the scope of your product or service. The business claims and earns leadership in the industry category by creating and facilitating content that not only meets demand but also creates trust in the brand beyond just how to use the product or service. At this stage, the business moves beyond creating content for its core buyers personas and moves into creating content for influencers. The goal of this stage is to use content to elevate the brand into one that’s trusted by the consumer, which therefore generates a differentiated approach to solving its problem, or simply put, whatever is getting in the way of the buyer’s purchase decision.

Storyteller

The final stage is the “storyteller” stage. At this stage, the brand integrates content into a larger brand narrative and aligns its content strategy completely around the customer engagement strategy. The business goes beyond becoming as though leader in the industry by drawing prospects, customers, and influencers into an emotional relationship with the brand. The storyteller strategy educates, entertains, engages, and has impact on audiences because the content goes well beyond the scope of the product and service into why the organization exists at all. The goal of the storytelling strategy is to create better customers. it creates a global efficiency in marketing and sales because it enables the brand to differentiate to the point of being able to command a premium for its products and services or to have to discount them less.

Sometimes becoming content aware is sufficient to be able to meet demand, which is done through the creation of epic content. But the real revenue opportunities and growth are in the storyteller stage. It’s something all businesses should strive to achieve. Understanding where you are in the content maturity model is important. You need to know where you are currently before making a decision about where you want to be.

If you are looking to develop a solid content strategy or a full online marketing strategy, our team can help develop a plan that will ensure you have the right amount of exposure for your business to develop a solid return on investment online. Please click here to contact us today.

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