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New benchmarks needed for content

News, 13 February 2015

LONDON: The use of content marketing for brand building is developing faster than the tools for effective measurement, according to leading industry figures who have called for new standards.

"The traditional brand performance tools aren't really geared up to measure content, so we all need a new set of benchmarks," according to Hannah Fisher, head of marketing at insurance company MoreThan.

She told Marketing Week that "the next gate" was to develop a consideration metric to show how content influences purchase decisions. "Getting through that will be a huge challenge – it's a new ask and there's no blueprint," she said.

Guy Daniels, vp/brand and marketing communications at IT services business Fujitsu, concurred. "The paradigm is changing too quickly for industry standards to have been established so far," he said.

"We set our own measurements based on how our sales channels address the market and what we can relevantly capture," he continued. "The main challenge is to select the metrics which really count from the profusion available."

An example of how the impact of branded content can be measured comes from Monster.com, the jobsite, and Pivot, a US cable channel. 


An article for the Advertising Research Foundation – Seeking brand synergy: Measuring branding moments in media content – showed how, lacking standard measures, they had addressed the measurement task.

This concluded that triangulating multiple measures could produce "practical, consistent, and in-depth evidence of success for the brand".

A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute in the US found that 61% of marketers were measuring their content marketing success in terms of website traffic.

Other popular metrics included higher conversion rates (47%), sales (44%), sales lead quality (41%) and SEO ranking (40%).

But many of those are based on a view of content marketing as a direct response tool, when most experts say that material that is too sales-focussed ends up being ignored.

In ANA Magazine, Chuck Kapelke advised that good content is useful in some way, by providing information, tips or making their users' lives easier.

"The concept is to keep readers' minds as engaged as before the moment they clicked over, to provoke thought and provide utility, and to drive home (albeit subtly) a brand's message," he said.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff