“You’re almost better off doing nothing than focusing on just one single metric because you’re just very prone to false conclusions.”
– Buzzfeed, former director of data science, Ky Harlin
Ky is telling us not to place all of our eggs into one basket when it comes to data metrics, but then what combination of metrics do you need to look at to establish whether your digital marketing campaign is effective?
Impressions? Page views? Shares? Comments? Email click-throughs? What do they mean and also, what does success look like when you’re distilling and on-communicating these data analyses to your key stakeholders?
At Australia Doctor, Medical Observer and 6minutes, we are forever measuring our campaigns, collecting data and trying to improve audience engagement. But what key metrics do we look at and why?
This is an obvious metric to see what interest and coverage a piece of content has achieved. The number of page views depends on our key target audience, so if we achieve around 15% or more of a subset of readers looking at the article, it’s a job extremely well done.
Time on page
Sometimes it’s about quality rather than quantity. How long should your audience spend on a page of your content? Some digital experts say 15 seconds equals effective engagement. But how long does the entire content on the page take to consume in full? This can either indicate the quality of OR the length required to fully consume your content.
As a rule at ADG, we structure our digital news content so it takes no more than 2.5 to 3 minutes to consume, which a standard length of a movie trailer come to think of it… looks like this isn’t new thinking.
Email click-through rate
The click-through rate (CTR) is calculated as a percentage of people who have clicked an active link within your email/e-newsletter after they have opened it, and as your entry point to your content, a high CTR will tell you a couple of things:
1) Whether you’re pitching your content at the right angle, to the right audience.
2) Whether your headline is clear and impactful.
Click-through rates for e-newsletters in the healthcare industry average about 2-3%, so if your CTRs are higher you’re on the right track. On the flip side, a lower CTR would suggest your headline is obtuse or lacking conviction or the content isn’t pitched at the right level for the audience, even if you have developed a quality piece of content.
When analysing digital content metrics, it’s important to remember that volume is not everything – it depends entirely on a specific campaign and who it’s trying to reach. Whether your success will be defined by a small group of highly targeted readers who are highly engaged, or a simple message for a large group of readers, success really all comes back to the content strategy and what measures have been put in place for the core brand overall.
This article from Contently caught our eye and although it was written a little while ago, we find that the points it raises are still relevant. The same questions about metrics are still being asked and the same unknowns remain.