Prior to launching any marketing campaign, it’s important to set clear objectives to measure digital success. Understanding your content goals will help you create or source the most effective material and enable you to plan a targeted and relevant strategy.
Below are four of the top ways to measure digital success, and the type of digital content best matched to them.
SUCCESS KPI 1: VIEWS
This frequently appears at the top of most marketer’s lists. Exposing content to viewers is probably the most traditional form of marketing and advertising. Broadcast, for example, is all about message reach. The larger the viewership (think Superbowl ad), the more expensive the media buy. Views can also be measured by targeted audience. Demographics, geographics, and other forms of segmentation can help you to market your content to specific consumer and industry types.
If you normally measure digital success by view count, consider the following…
- Expand Your Syndication Capacity: Don’t wait for your viewers to come to you, bring your content to your viewers. Use social media networks, blogs, PR firms, emails, banner ads, CDNs and other syndication vehicles to cast a wide net. Building a great distribution network takes time and effort, but the investment will pay off for all of your ‘viewership-targeted’ content down the road.
- Consider Promoting Your Content: Whether it’s pay per click, YouTube’s TrueView, a Facebook ad campaign, or purchasing lists for your email blast… paid promotion works best for viewership campaigns. In fact, viewership is the only KPI on my list that can truly be ‘bought’!
- Include a Call to Action: The main motivation behind a viewership campaign is to cultivate some form of viewer response. This could be a favorable impression of your brand, taking advantage of a new promotion, visiting your website, or calling your company. Since you’re utilizing external sources to syndicate your content, it’s important to be very intentional about what action you’d like the viewer to take. Be careful not to annoy your viewer but instead provide incentive or motivation for them to act in the way you’d like. This can be bit of a balancing act and so even with a viewership campaign, it’s critical that you measure your audience’s response and adapt your content and message as you progress.
SUCCESS KPI 2: AUDIENCE
This is my favorite of the four KPIs. Building ad audience is hard work and takes a consistent, determined effort. Few companies do it well, so the opportunity for differentiating is massive. Unlike with viewership, an audience-focused campaign has more long-term value and makes the other three KPIs (views, engagement, and conversion) more likely for future campaigns. Whereas views can be purchased, an audience must be earned through a constant feed of relevant, quality content. Once you have built a large audience, you’ll experience better content partnership opportunities as others will want to tap into the power of your network.
If you’re focusing on audience, consider these tips…
- Know Your Platform: Audience definitions (and capabilities) differ between platforms. Subscribers on YouTube or a blog, for instance, have different value than Twitter follows. New studies are emerging that measure the ‘value’ of different audiences. A recent report by brendangahan.com pits Facebook and YouTube against one another – http://brendangahan.com/youtube-vs-facebook-engagement-infographic/
- Cross-Promote Channels: If you have a large audience on one platform or network (a large email list for example), think about promoting your other networks through that channel. Audiences seem to grow quicker once they are legitimized through an initial following. Jump-start your new channel with a boost from your existing ones!
- Be Consistent: People will subscribe to you because they want more of what you have to offer – don’t disappoint them! On the other hand, be careful not to overwhelm them with too much content. Be intentional and thoughtful about when, how, where, and what content you deliver in an audience-focused campaign.
SUCCESS KPI 3: ENGAGEMENT
Engagement was born of the social media world. Content consumers can now interact with other viewers, creators, and brands. Marketing has become a conversation and the smartest brands are orchestrating engagement opportunities inside every campaign. Engagement comes in many forms – likes, shares, comments, reviews, ratings, entries, retweets, embeds and so many others. These actions help to keep your content in the spotlight and give you incredible access to your audience.
For engagement focused campaigns, consider these tips…
- Join the Conversation: Engaging with your own content and audiences should be a specific part of your strategy. Checkout my article, Listening vs Engaging on LinkedIn here https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140627152653-20204909-it-s-not-enough-to-listen-why-engagement-is-critical
- Use Engagement as a Call to Action: Don’t be afraid to ask your audience to engage with your content. Remind them to subscribe or ask them to answer specific questions via comments. To this end, be sure that you have engagement mechanisms in place to enable these actions. Know the platform where your content will reside and understand those platform’s capabilities so you can encourage engagement most effectively.
- Extract Value: Engagement alone wont benefit your business. It’s necessary to translate this activity to some sort of value add to your business. Fortunately there are many ways to do this if your business objectives are clear and you understand your audience. Here’s an example – You’re marketing a new product so you interview the creator and post a video and PR article on your blog. Part of your content asks people to submit comments telling you how they think the product will make their lives better in exchange for a chance to win the product. You’ve provided your viewers with incentive to engage (free product) and can extract value from their feedback in the form of customer research, marketing collateral, and potential customer identification.
SUCCESS KPI 4: CONVERSION
Conversion, or sales, is probably the most coveted KPI but can also be the most allusive. For most companies, the ultimate mission is to make money. Therefore, most forms of marketing work towards this goal. Conversion-based campaigns are simply the most direct way to get there. Clear conversion is very possible if you are willing to cast aside success in the other KPI categories and execute specific, focused actions. It’s true that audience, engagement, and views can all lead to conversion, but when direct ROI is your goal, you must custom tailor your content and use strategies accordingly.
For conversion focused campaigns, focus on these things…
- Content Placement: This is an absolute must. Great product or service-based content placed near a ‘buy’, ‘order’, or ‘checkout’ button will convert at higher rates. Let your other marketing drivers and content campaigns drive traffic to your point of purchase… then seal the deal with relevant, concise, and targeted material placed near the purchasing mechanism. This doesn’t mean spewing your conversion content all over the web where it will be wasted. Know its purpose and place it at the point of sale.
- Content Type: Don’t get fluffy or flashy. Conversion based content has a singular purpose – triggering a purchase. Be relevant, factual, and add value. Don’t include too much content either – this isn’t a research or training piece. Instead, be brief and purposeful with your message. Convince the viewer he or she is making the right choice in their purchase… or better yet… leave them thinking they’ve convinced themselves of this after consuming your content.
- Prioritize: You probably wont be able to create content for all of your products or services at once. You need to determine somewhere to start. This article will help you choose products for a product video strategy, but the criteria is relevant to most forms of conversion focused content: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140627151540-20204909-choosing-skus-for-product-video
Success for certain campaigns will likely include many or all of these KPIs. Fortunately, it’s easy to differentiate the results and employ specific actions to encourage each form. We live in the digital world and therefore these metrics and tactics are constantly changing. If you have other ways to measure digital success, or have your own tips to share, I’d love to connect with you.