Ian Walsh, CMO of Trackmaven, reminds us that content has become modern marketing’s fuel. Along the way, a lot of technology has come along – content production tools, workflow tools, distribution tools, and analytics and attribution tools (not to mention the many social channels themselves).

But… 63% of B2C and 61% of B2B marketers don’t think their content is effective (all stats from Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs 2015 B2C/B2B Marketing Trends).

The reality is that most content is failing. We don’t think this – we know it. TrackMaven tracks the success of thousands and thousands of pieces of content. They saw the total amount of volume increase. But per brand, per channel, what they saw over two years was that not only were more channels being used, but the amount of content on each channel doubled.


As the amount of content steadily increased, the interactions have fallen through the floor and has essentially flatlined. We’re getting better and better at creating content – and creating more jobs to do so – but the content itself is failing. (Graph’s “.15” shows interactions by .15 of a person per thousand followers).

Social media’s effectiveness is diminishing. Facebook was very strong at reaching and engaging, but has tanked. Pinterest has slowed. LinkedIn has fallen off. Twitter has always been bad. Engagement for brands on Twitter has always been bad.

There’s an outlier to this. The outlier is Instagram. If you have an audience you think you can engage on Instagram, and you’re not right now, you should really be thinking about doing so. Instagram has also appeared to peak, but it’s significantly greater at engaging than other channels (remember that .15 out of 1000 mentioned before? Instagram is more like 40 out of 10000).

So… How can analytics better inform content?

The real problem is not the distribution. The problem is the content itself.  Most content has failed before it even gets distributed – it’s failed during the content creation process. A few tips:

Marketing as Science

There are so many digital signals out there, there is no need to be gut driven. Use data to accurately create data that will reach and interest your consumers.

Understand Leading Metrics and ROI Metrics

Leading metrics measure initial customer engagement with content. Optimize this daily. Don’t wait for the campaign to run its course. Look ahead based on what’s happening right now, rather than looking behind (your ROI metrics).

Benchmark Your Content Performance

Be keenly aware of your content’s performance. Monitor your analytics constantly. Know what content is having an impact. If you can eliminate the bottom 20% of the content before it’s out their for too long, that’s an easy way to improve your content’s success overall.

Monitor Share of Voice

Know your competition. Know how much of the conversation is dominated by other brands, and where you can enter.

Be Smart About Always-On

Don’t abandon your community. Be active. Be consistent. Be responsive. But you don’t get a reward for just being there, either. You can’t just hijack trending topics and expect to benefit.

Beware the Vanity Metrics

Target has 22M fans compared to Nordstrom’s 3M. But Nordstrom has 22K likes per post. Target? 756. And many more stats point to Nordstrom being far more engaged with its audience, even if it’s far smaller than 22M. Don’t be fooled by one large number such as “number of fans.” That doesn’t speak to engagement.