Remember when you could just look at your website visitor counter and know if your marketing campaigns were successful? Well, those days are long gone and today, evaluating the success of your digital content choices is a much more complicated process.
A look at today’s trends is all you need to convince your organization that you may need a more robust approach to determining if you are on the right track:
- For 2017, the number of mobile phone users is expected to pass 5 billion by 2019! Currently, nearly 60 percent of the global population owns a cell phone. Nearly 50 percent of these are smartphones. In the next 5 years, the number of smartphone users is expected to grow by 1 billion, reaching 26 billion by 2019.
- Over 90 percent of the population in Sweden has Internet access that they use at least 3 hours a day. And 92 percent have a computer.
- Denmark has the highest smartphone penetration rate in Western Europe, with just over 8 in 10 Internet users owning a smartphone.
- Norway has the second highest smartphone penetration rate in the world after South Korea, with 71.7 percent of the population owning a smartphone.
- The average US user spends 9.9 hours per day on devices, when you take into account all the screens in a user’s life (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, fitness device, smart watch, smart TV).
How users are finding you today is also very different. Search engines account for 48 percent of the research done by consumers, 33 percent of searches start on branded websites, and 26 percent start on branded apps.
And do you realize how important understanding the time of day your potential customers are searching has become? Here’s how it is unfolding:
- Early morning (7 a.m. to 10 a.m.)—mobile devices dominate
- Daytime hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)—desktops and laptops dominate, but tablet and mobile use is growing.
- Early evening (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and prime evening (8 p.m. to 12 a.m.)—the tablet is the main choice of millions.
And when your prospective customers are finding you, are they converting into customers?
There is much to infer from these trends, but one thing is crystal clear: that counter on your website means next to nothing now.
So how do you measure the value of your digital content and your marketing campaigns? One answer is to take advantage of the mountains of data that is collected about users’ actions and behaviour while online.
Even when you have complied with the personal data protection directives that have been established by the European Convention on Human Rights and those of the Nordic countries, there is plenty of data to use. I have talked about this before, but as a reminder, you want to be sure to 1) have the subject’s consent, 2) use the data only for the situation for which it was collected, 3) inform the subject when data is collected and how it will be used, and 4) keep it proportional to the purpose for which it was collected.
Measuring the effectiveness of your digital content these days requires a lot of data. Most businesses will tell you that they suffer from having too much data from too many different sources, spread out on different platforms from different providers. The more you use an integrated platform for data collection and analysis, the easier it will be to monitor and measure your campaign. If your platform isn’t integrated, not only is the analysis more difficult, but you won’t be able to respond quickly to changes you may need to make with your content or your campaigns.
Here are some ideas about how to determine which digital content needs to be more engaging.
- Choose the metrics that matter. There is so much that can be measured, including how long someone stays on a page, what they searched for, whether they rotate the screen on their mobile device, if they expand or shrink the view, where they stopped watching a video, where they went after they visited your site, and much more. The first step is deciding which metrics matter for your business.
- Map out your entire “customer journey.” Determine every touchpoint and every channel where a potential or current customer could interact with your brand. Get everyone together in your company and examine those interaction points carefully, determining what your customer might expect at every point of contact. Assess the quality of your organization’s performance based on what the customer expects and needs, NOT what would be best for the efficiency or bottom line of the organization. What might be an efficient practice for your billing department could create a terrible experience for the customer that generates bad reviews. You want to create evangelists, not detractors.
- Forget the monthly report. The issue you need to address will be over and done with if you wait weeks to address it. Daily might be too frequent. You will need to see what makes sense for your business so you can respond quickly to changes in your key performance indicators. The monthly report can become useful again if you change the culture of reporting and data reviews to a data-driven culture where the right people look at the right data so they can react more quickly.
- Know where your leads and customers are coming from. The sites that are referring traffic your way may be one of the most critical pieces of information. You should be contributing to blog posts and other ways to create partnerships with others and magnifying those efforts on sites where your message seems to be resonating. While programmatic buying of ads is very powerful, be sure to look at the data and figure out what sources drive not only traffic, but also the right, high-value visitors and customer engagements.
- Watch the right social metrics. If you got 500 new Facebook followers last week and they haven’t given you a penny, that isn’t much to be happy about. Explore ways to convert them to leads and prospects. Maybe you need a more focused landing page where you are exchanging a white paper or eBook for an email address and permission to contact them. Don’t worry about how many Twitter followers you have, but rather how you can get the ones you have to enter your sales cycle. If you aren’t being retweeted, then your content likely needs adjusting.
Starting with these observations will give you an indication if your digital content is giving you the desired results. I will explore in a future post some specific techniques for improving your content to create more engaging customer experiences.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of data available and how to choose what matters. Taking the steps outlined above can provide you a solid first steep to understanding how your digital content is performing and what steps need to be taken to improve it.