How to Budget Right on Content: Analytics Corner

Marketers sometimes act as if a budget is an unchangeable set of numbers that establishes the spending choices for a campaign.  But as more and more spend is assigned to digital media, marketing are realizing that return on budget spend are volatile IRL.  With that fluidity in mind, marketers are seeking better ways to budget on content. 

Commoditizing media Into a singular customer experience

Customers are discovering content across multiple channels, leading to new trends marketers must consider.

One trend is the commoditization of digital platform features.  Social media platforms are rapidly adopting feature advantages from each other, no longer clinging to a specific feature as the long-term selling point for the platform.  For example, Facebook adopted the grouped image concept behind Instagram stories; Linked In is reported experimenting with a stories concept of its own. Frequent feature updates mean platforms are creating experiences for their users, but in ever less easily distinguishable ways. 

Another trend marketers must consider is the potential fall-out from recent social media scandals.  While most people continue their  social media usage, the frequency of usage may have changed among those disturbed by the questions of trust social media platforms faced – from Facebook’s security issues with user accounts to the fake profile purge on Instagram and Twitter. These events could mean fewer opportunities for content to be discovered and shared. You should at least be aware of the extent to which your prospects are arriving consistently from those platforms.

Another obvious trend is that people are increasingly accessing email and social media content on a mobile device, creating a need for a consistent experience across screens.  

Techniques for ranking content performance

Content creation certainly starts with identifying the intended customer and the behavior that reflects their interests. But to strike an emotional connection to your audience at scale, you must rely on analytics reports that can guide how content should evolve over time, based on social sharing and campaign results.  

Monitoring shares, likes, and clicks can certainly reveal the degree and type of activity on a platform. A deeper analysis must compare the activities on platforms used. You can rank the persistence of activity, and then compare it to the scheduled content as an indicator of content performance. This gives guidance on deployment of content budge. You may discover that your audience is responding to tweets on Twitter, for example, but the volume of activity that leads to website visits or app downloads is sporadic compared to other channels. That would suggest that prioritizing a budget of earned and paid media on Twitter can be an opportunity to grow conversions.

Some analytics platforms can reflect the arrangement of content in reporting, an aid if you have an initial logic to content.  That logic can establish a starting point for noting how consumers engage with a brand. Google Analytics Content Grouping, for example, can sort the content according to the logical structure of appearance in a website, app, or landing page.  Users can then examine aggregated metrics by group, as well as being able to drill down by individual URL, page title, or screen name.

Another ranking technique uses the filtering of visitor activity, such as  conversion by visitor count.  This metric describes customer visits by the number of times they arrive to a piece of content, revealing if customers who interact with content a few times may be triggering a different sales activity than those who come back repeatedly.     

The traffic volume for a given channel, be it simple visits or conversion, can be a paid media budget factor.  The visits can be multiplied by the cost per click planned for an ad, establishing a threshold dollar value to compare the value of advertising on that channel versus sales generated. That comparison can then be an implied value of what associated content offers to an advertising campaign.

A convenient dashboard can be set up within Google Analytics, but can also be imported in Data Studio or another dashboard. The dashboard can allow quick comparisons of the return on spend and resources from paid and earned media.  The results should influence the budget decisions for further investment on one channel over another.

There are other ways to discover planning opportunities for content, which I discussed in a prior article for DMN.

Because customers are discovering content across channels, marketers must focus budget decision on insights that best highlight the alignment content is with channel activity.   That focus will become more important in 2019, as many brands plan to increase their investment in many content types, especially video.  Establishing a feedback loop on visitor activity can help adjust budget plans to support a better customer experience.    

 

 

 

 

 

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