Key Capabilities of Analysis
Once content is distributed, performance must be tracked and analyzed. Analysis must be singular, consistent, and provide the right insights into how marketing is performing against the priorities that matter. Essentially answer the question “How is content affecting leads, opportunities, and revenue?
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To garner interesting insights about content performance, content must be measured according to specific and consistent criteria. In most marketing organizations content is not measured in a singular, unified way, but rather each team is measuring content performance according to different set of metrics provided by siloed tools and technologies. Corporate Communications is measuring page views and clicks in one way, Demand Generation is measuring emails in a different way, and Social is measuring reach and shares in a wholly separate way. But the customer doesn’t see all of those touch points as separate and they certainly don’t care about siloed operations.
As a marketer, to truly understand the performance of your content, you can’t measure piece by piece, but rather all together as parts of a singular customer journey across all touch points across all channels. Without such integrated metrics, marketers are in the dark when determining the true influence of content within the buyer journey, what moves a buyer from stage to stage, and how to optimize future content production based on actual performance.
Content Scoring—a new methodology—changes that by tracking in a singular, unified way how individual content assets and campaigns perform in generating leads and opportunities.
Best Practice: Content Scoring
Content Scoring is simply an attribution model for tracking the content that generates the most conversions between pipeline stages (such as leads to opportunities and opportunities to revenue).
The most common way to determine a content score for any asset, campaign, or category of content (such as a specific topics or themes, interviews, instructional assets, lists, etc.) is to evaluate each buyer’s movement through a stage of the pipeline and the content consumed during that stage, then divide the conversion by the number of assets, campaigns, or categories touched.
Example B2B Buyer Content Journey: Lead to MQL
Six assets served to convert one MQL, so given equal weight, each asset would earn a content score of 1/6.
You can also apply a first touch / last touch conversion model to each asset within that journey, giving greater weight (say 30%) to content that brought the buyer into or through that stage of the pipeline with the remaining 40% spread evenly across the assets consumed between the first and last touch.
Scoring the Content Journey with First Touch / Last Touch Weighted Attribution: Lead to MQL
Most content metrics are from the publishing / media industry; all based on the quantity of consumption. However, in marketing, and particularly with B2B marketing and its very targeted audiences, it is not about quantity of consumption, but about quality of interaction and how that impacts revenue. Furthermore with all of the complexity (multiple channels, categories, product lines, personas, buying stages, content types, etc.), it can be very difficult to discern the patterns of what’s working and what’s not working.
In many cases, successful content at one stage may not drive results at another. The content digested at the beginning of buyers’ journeys may not be the same as the content that resonates near the end. In the same vein, high consumption does not necessarily translate into conversion and purchase when the content does not contribute to revenue. Content scoring allows teams to discover patterns in the customer journey and see through all this complexity to optimize future production based on actual data.
“Content scoring ensures you can prove the value of content in driving conversions at each stage of pipeline.”
Imagine the MQL’s journey from the previous section combined with all the content scores from MQLs created during a full quarter. Aggregating the content score of all the assets touched by 2,000 MQLs within a single quarter could look something like:
With this aggregate data, marketers can look back at content performance and understand clearly what worked and what didn’t to convert their leads to the next stage (i.e. What is working in Webinar 1 and what isn’t working Webinar 3?)
As content programs advance within the organization, so must the reporting. This operation should be performed across all buyers at each stage based on their individual content journeys, and then sorted by individual asset, campaign, and category for maximum insight.
Amid the complexity of B2B marketing in the digital era, content is produced all the time but its performance is not regularly and systematically reviewed. As a result, little is learned from content impact, mistakes are repeated, and performance suffers. While Content Scoring offers this systematic process by which content’s performance is reviewed and insights uncovered, it is the Content Governance Board that takes it a step further to apply those insights.
Best Practice: Content Governance Board Review Process
The first and last step of the Content Governance Board is always to review the performance of past initiatives. Having a standard review process is integral to understanding not only how an initiative performed in terms of business impact, but also how successful the content operation was at supporting integrated execution.
Initiatives should be reviewed on a regular cadence. For example:
Reviewing insights from Content Scoring on a regular basis within the Content Governance board allows all stakeholders to see just exactly what content is working at what stage (and for what persona, theme, market, etc.) and where content really missed the mark. This in turn not only optimizes messaging for the different personas at different stages, it will also help content teams avoid repeating mistakes and investing in content that doesn’t work.
Best Practice: Optimizing and Repurposing Content Initiatives
Content scoring ensures you can prove the value of content in driving conversions at each stage of pipeline. It enables marketing teams to determine which assets, campaigns, and categories of content have the most impact throughout the pipeline.
When you see that your leads aren’t really converting at a particular funnel stage, you a particular asset isn’t working (i.e. Webinar 3 in the Opportunity stage), you now have the data you need to replace it with something else that might resonate. Audit the content that is scoring very high for a particular funnel stage and identify the commonalities. If there are keywords, assets, content authors, themes, etc. that are working, optimize the content that isn’t working with your now better-informed information.
Likewise, if you review your funnel and you see leads just aren’t moving from one stage to the next, look at the content score for the assets offered at that stage. How are they performing? What is and isn’t resonating? What can you repurpose from the content that is working and how can you rework it into additional assets that will form a better connection and then move your leads along the funnel? And that new insight you discover can drive decisions around the next initiatives (i.e. cycle turns back to Align).