Forbes called 2014 the year of digital marketing analytics, and included big data and analytics as a top trend for 2017. So it’s not really surprising that the “big year” for analytics segued into 2015, 2016 and now 2017. With everyone from Facebook to supergroup-esque companies like Captiv8 offering analytics platforms, the numbers and what they mean can be overwhelming. In content marketing and content strategy, we know analytics are important and we should pay attention to them, but why? What do they show us?
Let’s begin with the definition:
The field of data analysis. Analytics often involves studying past historical data to research potential trends, to analyze the effects of certain decisions or events, or to evaluate the performance of a given tool or scenario. The goal of analytics is to improve the business by gaining knowledge which can be used to make improvements or changes.
Ultimately, analytics are crucial for content marketers and content strategists to understand the makeup of their client, reader, and customer base and the journeys of those users. And much like the definition states, that knowledge can be used to make improvements or changes.
The vast majority (86%) of our surveyed companies indicate that their “understanding of customers is increasing over time,” while more than half (55%) “use data effectively to build their understanding of customers.” – eConsultancy
From that same eConsultancy article, “Research further suggests that organizations are actively attempting to turn their insights into action, with 60% of companies saying they “change and adapt marketing strategy based on customer insight.” Based on that insight, content practitioners and strategists have the power to change content accordingly. You can see what readers and customers are responding to. Analytics provide important information, giving a direct link to what your user base wants to read, buy, and share. This information is vital for filling out content gaps and utilizing metadata effectively.
For the content itself, analytics aren’t just the beginning, but they are the middle and the end as well. Not only is it important to know which topics cause the audience to engage and which ones cause them to drift away, but they are also essential to knowing through which paths the consumers found the content. –Alan Segal, Sr. Director of Analytics, Insights and Optimization at Cox Media
According to Adobe’s Enterprise Marketing Content Manager Mike Barton, “If interaction metrics tell us what food was ordered and delivered to the table, engagement metrics tell us how much the customers enjoyed the meal of content received.” Obviously, both types of data are important–he also includes value metrics in his reporting for Adobe–but engagement metrics certainly reveal deeper insights than just looking at traffic and visitor stats.
Unsurprisingly, the number of content marketing job listings has grown nearly 350% since 2011, and that trend will not slow down as the need for increased content intelligence is critical. In fact, Content Marketing Institute urges that Chief Content Officers should have leadership experience related to analytics and a working knowledge of web analytics tools.
90% of large organizations will have a Chief Data Officer by 2019. – Gartner
Our Big and Small Data Fact Sheet notes that in 2015, the top-paying job listings at Facebook and LinkedIn were for data scientists – not software engineers. Today’s businesses need to employ people to make sense of what the analytics are telling them.
In the survey, 58% of respondents said they lacked the skills and technology to perform analytics on marketing data, and more than 70% said they aren’t able to leverage the value of customer data. – Pew Research Center
This will continue to be an Achilles’ heel for companies that do not hire people with these skills or fail to train current employees about the importance of data-driven content decisions since the data we create and copy annually is projected to reach 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020. To keep up, Chief Information Officers indicate big data analytics will account for 60% of IT spending in 2016/2017.
55% of marketers say their organizations are unclear about what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like. – B2B Content Marketing 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends
With the recent estimates of IoT financial impact being in the trillions of dollars and 50 billion IoT sensors existing by 2020, big data is getting exponentially bigger and data analytics is becoming increasingly important and complex. Big data and analytic platforms are big business. Google Analytics, Moz and Adobe Analytics were leaders in G2 Crowd’s report for digital analytics platforms. Google Analytics and others provide free ways to measure your content’s effectiveness. Content Science’s subsidiary, ContentWRX performs analytics that measure content success. Additionally, technology advancement exists with products like Domo, which offers improved access to real-time data can help users save time and improve decision making.
As HubSpot notes, “Spending on marketing analytics is expected to increase 60% by 2015.” In fact, analytics ties as the top need with 67% of marketers citing this need in a recent Altimeter report. And “of those organizations that have innovation budgets, over 90% are either assessing, piloting, or actively using technologies such as Internet of Things, real-time social listening tools, marketing analytics and digital marketing hubs,” as cited in “Digital Marketing Comes of Age in Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2015-2016.”
Data – and the insights it provides – gives sales the upper hand to better understand their prospects and provide more insight into the full sales cycle. – Mashable
Sales are one frontier where analytics can “power up revenue.” The role of predictive analytics in B2B marketing is game changing. Forrester explains that it can help companies better understand buyers and enhance their longer and more valuable journey from customer to advocate.
B2B companies deploying predictive analysis for their use are doing well compared to their competitors and are well on their way to understanding their customers and their needs better by personalizing content to suit their needs. – CIO Review
In her book, “Does Your Content Work?,” Content Science CEO Colleen Jones writes this about the importance of analytics:
“Analytics measure behavior on your website. In other words, they measure what people do with your web content or as a result of experiencing your web content. That’s important to know if you really want to understand whether your content is working.”
For content marketers and content strategists, measuring your content with analytics is one critical part of the content process. However, in order for analytics to work effectively, you must be able to understand and apply the data to your content. But with more advancement in measuring and gathering that data, we believe it’s enhancing the field of content in more ways than we can even imagine. Because of analytics and their application to content, strategists and practitioners hold the power to create more relevant and meaningful content.
We are building a self-sufficient ecosystem where we use our data to help us develop amazing content, and putting it out there for consumers to engage it, and when they do, we capture data to make us smarter to put out better content. – Deanie Elsner, former CMO Kraft Foods Group
Make better content decisions with a system of data + insight.
Your content approach makes or breaks your digital transformation. Learn why intelligent content strategy + engineering are critical to your success.
Your content is integral to your product. You might have piloted content strategy and seen promising results. Now what? It’s time to get more strategic so you can sustain and scale. This whitepaper will help you start.
Does your content work? It's a simple question, but getting a clear answer from content analytics or ROI formulas is often anything but easy. This ebook by Colleen Jones will help you overcome the challenges.