Less data, more context
June 16, 2020
Here are just a few pieces of data that content marketers have to incorporate into their strategies:
- Search volume and competition for every topic you might want to cover
- Engagement, clickthrough, and conversion rates for every piece of content you produce
- Opportunity creation and close rates for the leads that your content delivers to reps
And that data isn’t even segmented – you could probably take each one of these bullets, and break it down further by device type, by geography, by where a visitor came from, by date, and so on.
And even if you spent time with all the data that’s available, some questions are still really hard to answer. Is our new home page definitely better?
- If you’re migrating from something your CEO drew on a napkin in 2004, probably.
- If you’re seeing bounce rates come down and organic traffic go up, almost certainly.
- But a lot of times you won’t ever get a cut-and-dried answer.
Your bounce rate went from 60% to 55% – that’s good! But who knows what other effects your new site has downstream. If the bounce rate went down, but conversion rates also went down, that’s neutral or bad. Even if all of those measures are going in the right direction, if your reps are closing fewer opportunities from your site, that’s bad, too.
On the other hand, you probably can’t use changes in revenue to determine whether a site redesign is good – it takes way too long for that number to change, and there are lots of other variables.
Instead, to figure out whether your content is working, we suggest a different approach: less data, more context.
Less data, more context
A common mistake marketers make is to see an unclear indication in their lead funnel or in their web engagement measurements, and try to get clarity by looking for more data from those same sources.
The result is an increase in data complexity and time spent on reporting, where what’s really needed is to build more context around the simple data that’s readily available.
Modern marketing is less about finding clear answers and more about finding clues. As a marketer, you need to tell a story to your customers, but you also need to tell a story to your colleagues about what you’re doing and why. Following up on the example above, some other context for your site relaunch might include knowing that:
- Your reps have included your homepage in their demos because it’s so clear.
- Recruiting has gotten easier.
- The exercise of building a new homepage entailed a messaging overhaul.
These things are the context into which your content fits. Measures are important, but understanding how your content fits into the rest of your organization is important, too. Data has a way of isolating marketers, but it should be a way of starting more conversations.
Making connections with your customers and colleagues about your content can help your content perform better, too. Imagine if your reps knew about everything you’re creating, and could send it out to prospects. Tools like Bamboo make it easy for people at your organization to promote your content to their own networks. Your promotion strategy can involve everyone at your company.
What data should you look at?
By the way, we’re not saying you shouldn’t look at anything. At a minimum, check out users, sessions, and pageviews, and of course you’ll want to measure entrances, bounce rates, and retained sessions. We wrote about what specific data you should look at here.
Less data, more context! Marketers should be on the phone with colleagues, prospects, and customers as much as possible. Take that information and put it together with some simple to understand data to get a fuller picture of how marketing is performing.