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Measuring content marketing through the lens of the Sales funnel

—August 26, 2013
Measuring content marketing through the lens of the Sales funnel

Posted By: Stephan Brisard

We have heard over and over at industry conferences like Search Engine Strategies, that content marketing is probably one of the single most important aspects of marketing nowadays. At a time where social media, search and a growing stream of videos, photos and audio content intersect, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to bring relevance and carefully select the pieces of content for their web properties and advertising. What’s even more important is the capacity to understand and measure the value of each piece of content and how each piece interacts throughout the buyer’s journey.

It’s not easy to measure the value of content since there are many factors influencing the decision process during each stage of the buying funnel. The historic AIDA model really works here to look at content marketing separately at different levels of the Sales funnel.

Awareness and Consideration phase of the Sales funnel

The role of content marketing when looking at the top of the funnel is to raise brand awareness and create positive perceptions of the brand. A very popular way to understand the effectiveness of a marketing campaign or a brand awareness program is to benchmark search queries before and after the campaign to see if there is a lift in relevant traffic, and see how the audience engages with the brand (positively, negatively or in a neutral fashion). There are many tools available to measure brand sentiment such as Radian 6

Preference and Action phase of the Sales funnel

In the middle of the funnel, one relatively easy way to measure success is to look at activation and engagement. The first interaction with a piece of content such as somebody clicking on a bunch of links in a relevant industry article would be considered Activation. Using Google Analytics, Eloqua, Marketo or other analytics tools, one can measure engagement by looking at page views and click through rates. Social media may provide additional relevant data on Activation such as likes, comments, shares, retweets, repins etc. 

The key is being able to aggregate all this data in a meaningful dashboard which helps marketers formulate a story by looking at the data holistically; products like Domo for instance, offer a good solution.

Loyalty and Advocacy phase of the Sales funnel

The bottom of the funnel is inevitably the hardest part to measure. Most get pieces of the story i.e. Actual contract value of goods sold but no visibility in actual profit margins. Not too often can one measure the direct relationship between a piece of content and its impact on revenue. It’s always hard to prove the exact correlation between a popular video which generated a lot of buzz in YouTube and a ton of leads generated to Sales. Marketing automation and tools like ExactTarget, Eloqua or Marketo help provide more insights throughout the buyer’s journey by measuring each touch point. Nurturing campaigns are an effective way of driving various pieces of content that are relevant to the reader for long term loyalty.

The analytics can be complex, but it's a necessary process to understand which piece of content to select and make data driven decisions to maximize success.

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