More and more smart content marketers are realizing that traditional content metrics like page views and shares don’t cut it, as they lack the ability to give true insight into the performance of content. As we have seen, these consumption metrics might let you see how many views your stories are getting, but they give you no understanding of whether or not the people doing the viewing actually enjoyed that content, think more highly of your brand and are thus more inclined to do business with you.
So if stats like “time on site” no longer work, where do we go from here? Let’s take a look at how some of the world’s leading marketers and publishing platforms have decided to tackle this vexing question.
BuzzFeed and Brand Lift
BuzzFeed has always been on the bleeding edge of publishing, so it’s no surprise that their solutions for content marketers are innovative as well. Marquee brands like General Electric and Virgin Mobile do more than count shares to quantify the success of their sponsored stories on BuzzFeed.
Their biggest marker of success has been “Brand Lift,” whereby they see how much a BuzzFeed content campaign improves an audience’s perception of factors that include brand awareness, brand affinity, and purchase intent.
When Virgin Mobile launched a series of stories on BuzzFeed, they already knew they were going to get a lot of readers. What was important to them was whether or not those readers translated into interested potential customers. Through smart surveying, they were able to not only see that that was indeed the case, but also break down the results to see how that varied by customers who came in from different social channels.
Chartbeat, Average Finish & Engaged Time
Chartbeat has made waves for allowing publishers to respond in near real-time to trends they see across their networks. Is an article dropping like a rock? No problem. Replace it with your other story that’s captivating readers.
Two of Chartbeat’s most celebrated metrics are “average finish” and “engaged time.” The latter is the amount of active time readers spend looking at content. So if readers load a page in the background and never look at it, that doesn’t count toward quantifying the metric. Marketers and content platforms have flocked to this number and it’s been integrated by heavy-hitters like Medium, Upworthy, Coca-Cola and others.
Average finish, or scroll depth, complements engaged time on a more granular level, letting you see just how interested your readers are in any given article. If your average reader is only looking at 20 percent of your story before bouncing, that’s not a good sign. But if a high percentage of readers are getting all the way to the bottom, chances are they’re enjoying your content and will be coming back for more, maybe even with their wallets open.
Twitter Brand Surveys
While the obtuse word “micro-content” thankfully never took off, it is true that every thoughtful little piece of social media is indeed itself a form of content. Just as it’s important that your long form content measures up, a smart Twitter campaign should, too. Not only that, but wise content marketers can apply Twitter’s success metrics to their own medium.
What Twitter calls “Brand Surveys” tend to measure a few key metrics – message association, brand favorability, and purchase intent. It’s proven to be a hit with leading companies like PepsiCo, as it lets them know not only that are people seeing their content, but also that those stories are driving them to think more highly of Pepsi’s products.
Which Metric Is for You?
As you can see, there are many new measures of content success out there, each vying to be the one metric to rule them all. The truth is, there’s no single number that will work best for every marketer. While using a variety of performance indicators will give you a more nuanced look at your content success, different marketers will have greater success with a composition of different metrics. In our next piece, we’ll drill down further into each of these new measurements, and see which ones correspond best with the different types of content pieces.