Jeff Anders | Founder and CEO
In the old days brands produced few expensive creative assets- think multi-million dollar TV commercials- and promoted them through paid media that had limited targeting and measurement capability.
Today, the opposite is true. Innovative brands aim to be always-on and, thanks to a technology-driven collapse in the cost of content production, they produce many targeted, lower-cost creative assets. And paid media channels now have dazzling audience targeting power, and generate reams of performance data.
This paradigm shift happened quickly, and the result is a world of opportunity in which brands today are limited most by their own capacity to put the new tools to use, and not by the frontiers of technology itself.
Content marketing is one area of rapid change and untapped opportunity. While marketers say they will spend more on content marketing this year than ever before because they believe it works, they don’t know to what extent it works, and they’re certain that value is being left on the table.
In many cases, they’re right. A study conducted by Beckon, an EMS firm, estimates that the best 5% of branded content garners 90% of the engagement. One can only conclude that a lot of brands have invested in content without success.
There are, of course, many brands that derive real ROI from content programs. These brands have a documented content strategy. They start by defining success and designing meaningful dashboards to measure it. And they insist upon real-time, web-based reporting; the days of confusing monthly spreadsheets, and cookie-cutter metrics short on insights are gone.
Successful content marketers assign a team to aggregate and analyze data coming in from multiple agencies and their own internal teams, and they dig deep to truly understand program performance.
There is a small group of brands that are bonafide content marketing stars. What differentiates them from the rest is a relentless pursuit of optimization. They are not satisfied with knowing what worked; they want to know why it worked. They use multivariate analytical models to understand what variables drive content success and in what proportion. Is it subject matter? Format (e.g., video vs. text vs. photos)? Time of day? Channel? Armed with these insights, they continue to test, learn and adapt to reach the stratosphere of content program ROI.
In the new complex world of marketing, measurement and optimization are the secrets to success.