For Content Marketing, Attribution Means Converting Data Into Actions

by , September 30, 2014

Search marketers are shifting from the mindset of asking why they need a content marketing strategy to asking how to implement one — and how to attribute the content to sales of products and services. Here are a few tips to get on track.

Insight No. 1:  For brands, Kim Larson, head of Google BrandLab, believes that content requires CMOs to think differently, and even restructure the company’s marketing department. She points to four structures. One relies heavily on outsourcing content strategy, product, media, and management until internal teams gain a better understanding of how to tightly integrate the media into search and strategy. Once that happens, marketers will bring content creation and management in-house.

Other brands will use in-house teams but add the help of outside agency partners, which typically run the strategy. This strategy works well for brands that are beginning to find their footing in creating content, Larson writes, because the content should integrate seamlessly and support other, more traditional media tactics. (You can read about the other two here.) This is just the beginning.

Insight No. 2: Content might provide the lure to Web sites where consumers can get other information about products, but analyzing the numbers takes so much more. Organizational support remains the biggest hurdle. When CMOs take a closer look at content creation they also need to review how their attribution models produce the data to provide insights.

Insight No. 3: Once marketers master attribution, many struggle to turn the insights into action. A study from Forrester Consulting — based on answers from 106 marketers, advertisers and customers — commissioned by Kenshoo cites several obstacles that impede marketers from taking action, including understanding the analytic model, convincing colleagues of the validity of recommendations, and incorporating results into media-buying systems. Don’t become discouraged if it doesn’t come naturally. It takes time to learn the process.

Marketers are overwhelmed by data, and cross-channel attribution remains in its infancy. The Forrester study highlights one of the biggest issues that remains — marketers continue to embrace simplistic approaches to measurement. Only one in nine marketers use advanced attribution methods. In fact, among those using attribution, 28% still use single-click methods. This lack of advancement remains risky because it fails to accurately account for the influence of marketing on customer journeys.

Insight No. 4: When asked to name the channels being using to drive marketing and media objectives, 78% of the marketers participating in the survey name paid-search advertising. The percentage of those using attribution measurement, at 55%, is the highest among all media channels — including email, online display, referral marketing, mobile and more — yet the challenge remains for those who do not use this method.

Insider Note: At the MediaPost Search Insider Summit December event, experts will talk about how to link together the processes. See you there?
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