Measuring Content Amplification Efforts: Why and How to Get Started

Measuring Content AmplificationYou made your case for content amplification and you built your brand strategy. You have implemented a process to not only develop blog content, but to promote it within specific verticals online!

Is it working? Now comes crunch time…

  1. Are your content amplification efforts creating engagement?
  2. Is that engagement resulting in revenue?
  3. If so, what’s your return versus other channels (paid search, organic, display, etc.)?

Is Content Amplification Working for the Brand?

In order to answer these questions – and to save your content strategy for future generations – you need to have a full understanding of how amplification efforts are impacting your bottom line. More specifically:

  1. How does engagement relate to on-site and off-site activities?
  2. How do on-site and off-site behaviors relate to revenue for your organization?
  3. Today we will share 5 of the most important steps in measuring amplification strategy ROI.

Before we get into understanding if your efforts are working, here’s a quick definition of content amplification:

To amplify content is to utilize paid and owned media channels to promote your brand’s best performing content in efforts to grow your digital reach, and to encourage users to return to the sales funnel. The context of today’s discussion will include the following paid media channels: paid search, display, paid social, organic social, and lead nurture tactics.

5 Tips to Track and Measure Your Content Amplification Efforts

#1. Begin with the end in mind.

A familiar mantra to be sure, and familiar for a reason! Before any successful amplification effort is started, everyone involved must agree on the objective. For example:

  • Site visits
  • Social engagement (likes, shares, comments)
  • Form fills
  • Phone calls
  • Transactions
  • Appointments
  • Request for Estimate
  • And the list goes on…

Without a clear and measurable result, it can become very difficult to calculate return later on in the process.

#2. What does success look like?

Along with selecting a specific action goal for your amplification efforts, to know when and where you should continue your efforts you must also decide the threshold for success.

For example, knowing conversion percentages, average order values, and profit margins on specific services and products is essential in establishing a minimum return on investment that would warrant continued investment in amplification.

Whatever that threshold is – 2:1, 3:1, 10:1 – set your goal at the beginning of your strategy roll-out (and before spending a dime) and remain as flexible as possible once you discover what real-world return looks like.

#3. Understand your audience’s intent.

This is a missed step that we commonly uncover, where ROI is being measured within each stage of the user journey with the exact same metric that is not necessarily specific to the action relevant to their stage in the buying process. For example, expecting “transactions” to come from every user in every stage of the buyer’s journey and from every channel is not reasonable, and can lead some marketers to trim budget from Awareness or Consideration stage efforts that were greatly influencing the bottom line, even though direct transactions were not being attributed.

Here’s a sample asset and amplification scenario:

Content Amplification Example

Image courtesy of Vertical Measures

User Journey Stage: Awareness
Media Channel: Programmatic display targeting
Content Role: Provoke emotional reaction
Measurable Success Action: ?

Correctly guessing the user’s intent at this stage would allow you to select the correct measurable for success, such as these KPIs:

  • Click through rate (CTR)
  • #Hashtag mentions/shares
  • Referral source engagement behavior

Now in the example above, it would not be appropriate to attribute an ROI action such as “Test Drive Requests,” even if that is the ultimate goal of this particular conversion funnel. The user has only just become aware of the product, and is most likely not yet committed to it as a solution for a potential want or need. As the user will most likely be inspired to research, we may target them again with different content and measure a different KPI.

#4. Tag & track your efforts.

If you have not already heard of UTM parameters, hear it now. UTMs are simple tags that are appended to the end of a link URL. They allow you to add details about where and what the user may have seen just prior to the click that brought them to your site.

Without understanding the source, the campaign, and the content that brought the audience to your site for a specific action, it will be very difficult to optimize which of your amplification efforts are yielding engagement and transactions, and which are not.

Content Amplification UTM codes

Here’s an article that shows you how to set up UTM tracking with your Google Analytics account.

#5. Establish an ROI formula.

The obvious revenue sources of transactions (ecommerce data) notwithstanding, you need to be able to determine what site or profile activity is being tracked, and how that activity may relate to on-site and off-site action.

Here’s a simplified scenario:

  1. A brand observes that for every 10 referrals from their social profile they see a newsletter sign-up. (10% CVR)
  2. For every 10 newsletter sign-ups they typically see a user make a purchase online within 30 days. (10% CVR)
  3. The Average Order Value for an online sale is $175.
  4. Working backwards, $175 in revenue requires 10 newsletter sign-ups and 100 referrals.
  5. Simplifying: for every 100 referrals the brand sees $175 in revenue.
  6. Simplifying further: each social referral = $1.75 ($175/100 = $1.75)

Using this established ratio we can establish a simplified ROI formula for determining if a paid social effort is profitable or not, even if we aren’t seeing direct transactions from the social post. Here’s that simplified example in action below.

Here’s an amplification example on Facebook:

  1. Paid Social cost per click = $0.50
  2. Paid Social click revenue = $1.75
  3. Paid Social ROI = 3.5:1 ($1.75/$0.50)

If 3.5:1 meets your required ROI goals, you should be able to maintain and even expand your audience, and have the data to help build internal support for your efforts.

Similar formulas can be applied to events such as phone calls, form fills, driving directions, appointment setting, tours, and store visits.

Understand Measurables to Calculate Content Amplification ROI

While not every scenario features the amount of data and action points necessary to calculate a successful ROI formula, in our experience there is very often opportunity to create and track additional events and activities to assist with calculating return on investment.

We hope these 5 tips help your client or brand take another step towards content amplification success! 

Erik Solan

Erik Solan brings 8 years of digital marketing experience to his role as Director of Amplified at Vertical Measures. He leads the paid media & content amplification teams integrated approach to achieve client business objectives.

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Author: Erik Solan