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There are any number of ways to put a subjective value on content. Did it inform? Did it entertain? Today content creators have to put a new, objective value behind their content too: is it keeping the lights on?
Content and revenue: the unanswered question
For a long time, whether content created revenue could be calculated easily for digital media companies. They tracked page views or unique visitors because that equaled revenue. But as ad revenue continues to decline, content creators now need to understand what content converts. Publishers can’t test out subscriptions or e-commerce without knowing whether reading another article or signing up for a newsletter makes an impact.
Meanwhile, even companies who don’t solely rely on content as their source of revenue still need to understand whether the content investment they’ve made pays off. Those companies evaluate marketing efforts in a straightforward way using ROI calculations, making content a confusing proposition to evaluate.
For such a straightforward concept, solutions to this problem turn out to be surprisingly difficult to do well.
The messy state of content conversions
We’ve had years of discussions with our 300+ clients about measuring their content’s impact. Over the last few months, our team has explored exactly what challenges arise when people try to connect content and conversions.
Some have been thinking about content attribution for years. Many don’t know where to start. Across the board though, there was a sense of dissatisfaction, that how they ascribe credit to content could be better.
One content creator at an e-commerce company said the best proxy for conversions is a UTM campaign. He tracks click-throughs from the blog to the retail site. Whether those click-throughs turned into buyers remains a mystery, because a different team owns the purchase data and e-commerce funnel.
Another set up a content attribution model she’s pretty happy with, but it took 18 months of development time to get there.
A digital editor and her team spent weeks pulling data from Google Analytics to see what types of content assisted in converting readers to subscribers. The analysis gave them direction for a time, but the data was out-of-date before they completed the analysis. To find out what’s working in a few weeks’ time, they’ll have to do it all over again. They’re not sure if they still remember how.
No matter where you work, you should be able to show your boss proof that content is valuable. It shouldn’t be this hard. We plan on making it easier.
Applying Parse.ly’s content experience to the revenue conundrum
We started Parse.ly because we knew measuring content takes a different mindset and different solution than the existing analytics systems provided. Over time, we’ve seen this prove true. Our focus has been on understanding the relationship between content and audience attention. We’ve built new metrics and systems to show it.
We understand that content is a long game, a collection of nudges that convinces people to trust a brand enough to swipe their credit card.
But we also know that just because something has to be measured differently doesn’t mean you can’t answer the question “What impact is this content having on my business?” We’re ready to help our customers figure out what moves the needle towards real revenue, using the expertise we’ve built from serving the world’s biggest media websites.
We don’t have a solution yet—that’s where you come in. Is content attribution something you’re tackling? Sign up below to apply for our pilot program for content conversions. Members will get a sneak peek of what we’re working on. It doesn’t matter whether you’re testing out a subscription program or trying to get a sense of what content drives leads, we want to help you figure it out.