With the help of our CMI contributors, we’re tackling how to make content more engaging, which was the biggest challenge identified in the new research about B2B Content Marketing.
Over the past three weeks, our contributors answered these questions:
- First things first – what does engaging mean to you?
- How can marketers make content more engaging?
- How do you measure engagement?
This week, our contributors answer the question, “What tools can content marketers use to measure engagement?”
Measuring engagement can be a easy as tracking blog comments, content shares and interactions with other customers. You can start with Google Analytics and something like Hootsuite, which lets you monitor most of your social networks (pages) in one dashboard.
There are different tools for each of Forrester’s four kinds of engagement. For Involvement (site visits, time spent, pages viewed) and Interaction (blog comments, reviews, etc.) we use Google Analytics, though bigger clients might use Omniture. For what Forrester calls Intimacy, it’s about sentiment tracking, so Alterian and some of the social media tools can contribute. And for measuring your Influence, things like surveys — Kampyle and ClickTools – can help.
There are many tools marketers can use to measure engagement, though to make this task more feasible, it is important to have a goal. What do you want to accomplish with this particular piece of content?
Facebook Insights provides good numbers, but in my opinion does not slice the data in a meaningful way. We’ve started using some simple spreadsheets in combination with the Insights data to work against our objectives. That said, doing this has helped us to uncover some trends related to offline interactions and fan base growth on the Facebook page.
Possibly the best part of being a marketer in 2010 is that we (finally!) have the means to easily measure online customer activity. The starting point is often setting up a free Google Analytics package on your own website. You’ll immediately have access to a vast array of data: where are your site visitors coming from, how long do they stay, what content do they like best, etc. This is must-have intelligence, since these visitors are likely to be your biggest “fans” to date – they are the folks that already care about what you have to offer. Perhaps more important, their data patterns can be the jumping off point to develop content for the folks who haven’t heard of you – yet.
Tools abound for monitoring and measuring engagement – some free, some not. As marvelous as many of the for-pay tools are, I consider it important to learn, explore and calibrate what you obtain meaning from using free tools. By the way, this also allows you to determine whether your business goals are realistic and appropriate for your content.
Two of my favorite tools for measuring blog and web engagement are Google alerts and Google Analytics. In Google alerts, I like to monitor my URL, my brand or blog name and my own name. Alerts let me know when conversations sparked by my content take place beyond my site.
In Google Analytics, I like to monitor traffic patterns to understand which content resonates the most with readers and which words they may have used to discover my content. By the way, those patterns may suggest ideas for new content. I also pay attention to how much time readers spend on-site as a result of specific content or whether they ‘bounce’ off.
On your website or blog, you may opt for a social sharing widget [e.g., AddThis], and even a Facebook Like button. Both offer feedback on engagement. For other digital platforms, such as Twitter, you may want to use a URL shortener to measure the engagement of links you share [i.e., Bitly or Owly or Supr]. YouTube, Facebook and Slideshare offer stats and counts, too, and blogging platforms will keep count on your comments.
What’s important, given how many options exist for measuring content engagement, is determining the purpose of your content so you end up measuring interaction relevant to your goals and don’t get so caught up with the data that you lose sight of the human aspects of engagement.
When seeking tools for measuring engagement, recall that what engagement means differs by the stage your customer is at with your brand or company. Therefore, we can look to different metrics to measure Engagement: awareness, consideration, interaction, transaction, re-purchase, bonding, advocacy.
While there are literally dozens of metrics under each of these stages, a good place to start is to use measurements you already have at your disposal. Tracking studies can help tremendously and can be opened up to include a handful of content marketing-specific questions. Additionally, if you are lucky enough to have behavioral data at your disposal (website metrics, e-commerce sales), a simple experimental design can be conducted where a segment can receive zero content marketing communications to investigate the (hopefully) negative impact it has on what they do/how they spend (test and control). Or, test differing efforts (e.g. heavy-up interruptive advertising vs. heavy-up content marketing) against like segments to gauge impact.
Note: I am testing an aggregation algorithm for measuring engagement, N-Gauge Level™. Please try, for free, a self-response test here to directionally gauge your brand’s level of engagement. Let me know what you think; thanks!
Not surprisingly, the 800-pound gorilla to measure engagement is Google Analytics, which contributors recommend you use to measure:
- Site visits
- Pages viewed and what content your audience likes best
- Time spent on each page and bounce rates
- Where site visitors are coming from and how people discover your content
However, that is far from the only tool you can use. Contributors also recommend:
- Listening tools:
- Survey tools (e.g., Kampyle and ClickTools)
- Tynt Insight
- PDF Sales Leads
- Yahoo Site Explorer
- Social-sharing widgets (e.g. AddThis, ShareThis, Facebook Like)
- Built-in analytics and statistics from content marketing tools:
- Social media stats:
- Facebook Insights
- YouTube stats
- Slideshare stats
- Number and type of blog comments
- Tracking studies
- Behavioral data
And, as a few people point out, the tool you will need will vary depending on the buying process.
I’d love to get your thoughts. What other tools do you use to measure content engagement?
If you want to get more tips on how to make your content engaging, stay tuned to our posts on Tuesdays. Even better, sign up so to get all of our content marketing how-to articles.
Other posts in this series: