One of the biggest gripes about content marketing is the amount of time it takes for it to drive actual business outcomes and lower funnel KPIs. It’s true that in many cases brands struggle to make content marketing deliver positive results for many months, if not years. There are many reasons this happens, however, there’s a formulaic solution that can help brands overcome this challenge in a matter of weeks, not months or years. Here’s the formula:
1. Content Distribution
Without paid media amplification it’s hard to scale visibility on owned content unless a brand has a very large database of emails and/or a ravenous social media following. Organically publishing content alone with no distribution mostly just adds to all the noise on the Internet for many companies. That makes driving business outcomes extremely challenging in the short-term. The exception is for brands that have been doing content marketing for many years.
Native advertising and paid social promotion provide marketers with the opportunity to overcome the online noise and deliver the right content to the best people at the correct time at scale. So rather than just sending content out to an owned list of 300 consumers, marketers can potentially reach millions of people who are interested in a brand’s products and services.
2. With and Without AI
The next consideration for driving business outcomes quickly using content marketing is whether or not to use artificial intelligence (AI). AI can accomplish in minutes what it would take a team of data scientist weeks to accomplish. When I talk to my students about AI the first thing I tell them is that, “She who learns fastest wins.” This simply means that AI-powered speed and accuracy in content distribution delivers business outcomes the quickest.
Here’s some examples of what AI can do for content amplification performance across three industries:
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
|Content Amplification w/out AI||0.91%||0.05%||0.06%|
|Content Amplification w/AI||1.92%||1.70%||1.76%|
Content Engagement Rate
|Content Amplification w/out AI||12.94%||8.67%||7.28%|
|Content Amplification w/ AI||38.81%||26.02%||21.84%|
Cost per Engagement (CPE)
|Content Amplification w/out AI||$1.47||$1.80||$1.38|
|Content Amplification w/ AI||$0.49||$0.60||$0.46|
Average Engaged Time with Content (Seconds)
|Content Amplification w/out AI||9.89||14.74||19.14|
|Content Amplification w/ AI||29.58||74.39||54.02|
3. Post-Click Content Engagement
Question: Are clicks and impressions on social posts and native advertising units used for content amplification the final business outcome content marketers are seeking? The answer is no. Then why do we optimize them as a major KPI? Most content marketers want their content engaged with.
According to Chartbeat Analytics 70% of users who stay with content post-native ad unit click for at least 15 seconds engage with at least 80% of it. Two out of three users bounce from the content before 15 seconds. It was this study that laid the framework for the 15 second cost per engagement (CPE) pricing model inPowered uses today with its content amplification customers. Facebook calls its 15 second model cost per ThruPlay. This 15 seconds has become the standard to define content engagement.
So, if it’s engagement content marketers want shouldn’t they optimize towards 15 seconds of on-page dwell time and scroll? The answer is yes. Content engagement for a brand equals improved business outcomes. We’ve been living in a click/impressions-based economy for so long. However, using AI we can comfortably move to a true engagement-based economy for our content amplification.
4. Dynamic Calls-to-Action
As seen in the graphic below, once a consumer reaches 15 seconds of content engagement in the active window a dynamic call-to-action (CTA) slides up from the bottom of the article. This makes it very easy for interested users to move themselves further down the buyer’s journey. Thus, driving real business outcomes much more quickly then just organically publishing articles and hoping they’re found and read while coaxing the consumer to meander around the website to figure out if they want to consider making a purchase.
In order to avoid the slow motion of publish and pray content marketing there are four steps to consider and execute to drive real business outcome quickly. Content distribution allows for brands to scale its delivery to consumers outside of its purview. AI does the work of a team of data scientists in a matter of hours instead of weeks and optimizes content amplification to reach the right person at the best time on the most optimal channel.
Focusing on post-click content engagement in lieu of impressions or clicks eliminates waste by not targeting those users who spend less than 15 seconds engaging with content. It also only targets consumers who are most likely to drive business outcomes. Lastly, dynamic CTAs gently encourage those interested readers or viewers to move to the consideration or decision phase of their buyer’s journey. The end result of these four considerations is to accelerate business outcomes with content marketing implementations for brands.