B2B Marketing Blog

Demand Gen vs. ABM Engagement Reporting -- Ranking Your Best Content

By Jordan Con
Sep 2, 2016

When there are so many ways to measure content success, how do you know which articles are the best?

For most B2B marketers who are investing in content and an inbound marketing strategy, the primary measurement of success is based on lead or demand generation. Basically, you want to know if your blog posts and ebooks are driving leads and opportunities.

On the other hand, in an account-based marketing world -- one that still believes in the power of content -- lead generation isn’t of primary importance. Account-based marketing is predicated on the ability to engage an established list of target accounts and contacts. It’s engagement reporting.

In engagement reporting, success is generating the most number of touchpoints from your target accounts and contacts. This could be generating net new contacts (similar to creating new leads), but it also values continuing the relationship with existing target contacts.

Essentially, demand generation reporting is based on lead count, while ABM engagement reporting is based on touchpoints count.

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What does that look like in practice?

To show the similarities and difference, we decided to take a look at our own marketing data and show how the blog posts shake out according to both ways of measuring success.

Here are our top ten blog posts, in terms of lead volume from organic search, for calendar year 2016:

Top 15 Blog Posts - Demand Generation Reporting

  1. Here’s An Industry Analysis of the Most Effective B2B Marketing Channels

  2. 6 Awesome Examples of LinkedIn Ads That Convert

  3. Ultimate List of 22 Account Based Marketing Tactics

  4. 5 Seriously Effective Demand Generation Tactics You Can't Ignore

  5. Here’s The Account-Based Marketing Metrics Cheat Sheet

  6. B2B AdWords Benchmark Report Now Available. How Do You Stack Up?

  7. 9 Must Follow Demand Generation Best Practices

  8. Lead Goals Are Dead And We Can Thank Pipeline Marketing

  9. Why Salesforce Campaign Attribution Is More Important Than You Think

  10. The Beginner's Guide To B2B Marketing Attribution

  11. Finally... Some Clarity. Best Practices For UTM Parameters

  12. 6 Reasons Why LinkedIn is the Best B2B Ad Network

  13. Why Account Based Marketing Beats Out Inbound for Enterprise B2B Marketing

  14. Why Full-Path Attribution Is the Holy Grail of Account-Based Marketing

  15. How to Hack Your Salesforce Campaigns to Get Better Metrics

And here are our top ten blog posts in terms of target contact touchpoint engagement from organic search for the same time period:

Top 15 Blog Posts - ABM Engagement Reporting

  1. Why Salesforce Campaign Attribution Is More Important Than You Think

  2. Finally... Some Clarity. Best Practices For UTM Parameters

  3. Here’s An Industry Analysis of the Most Effective B2B Marketing Channels

  4. 6 Awesome Examples of LinkedIn Ads That Convert

  5. B2B AdWords Benchmark Report Now Available. How Do You Stack Up?

  6. Ultimate List of 22 Account Based Marketing Tactics

  7. Choosing an Advanced, Multi-Touch B2B Marketing Attribution Model

  8. 5 Seriously Effective Demand Generation Tactics You Can't Ignore

  9. Here’s The Account-Based Marketing Metrics Cheat Sheet

  10. 9 Must Follow Demand Generation Best Practices

  11. 6 Tips To Launch A Successful Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Campaign On LinkedIn

  12. Multi-touch Attribution Concepts and Models

  13. Lead Goals Are Dead And We Can Thank Pipeline Marketing

  14. How to Hack Your Salesforce Campaigns to Get Better Metrics

  15. 6 Awesome Examples of High-Converting B2B Landing Pages

Just so you don’t have to count for yourself, 11 of the blog posts show up on both top-15 lists.

What we learned from the rankings

The similarities between the two lists are somewhat expected. In a content-based marketing strategy, as we have in place here at Bizible, we’re playing a numbers game. Yes, we want every post to perform well and drive leads, opportunities, and revenue; but realistically, we know that not every post will. As a matter of fact, based on our experience, we know that only a few posts per month will be a home run. The majority will be singles or doubles, to keep the baseball metaphor going. These lists comprise our home runs, so it makes sense that the top blog posts perform well across a variety of different metrics and measurement systems.

From a high-level perspective this is a good thing. This means that while we were using demand gen reporting, we weren’t being mislead by the data to write posts that weren’t good for ABM and our target list of accounts and contacts. A lot of that could be credited to our strict definition of a lead -- we pretty much only thought of MQLs as “leads”. Leads that didn’t fit our MQL criteria didn’t show up in our attribution data, and we added even more filters in our lead reports.

Even though we’ve now switched to touchpoint-based ABM reporting, what we thought of as a good post then is still a good post now.

But we also want to use our new touchpoint-based engagement reporting to improve our content and optimize it specifically for our ABM strategy.

Digging into the order of these “home run” posts, we are able to find some interesting insights.

The order of the top blog posts reveals that our demand gen report values the recency of posts more than our ABM engagement report. Newer posts, like the following, ranked higher in the demand gen report:

These three posts that were published in about the last 6 months.

On the other hand, ABM engagement reporting seems to favor older posts, like these:

These three posts -- all more than 14 months old -- rank much higher according to ABM engagement compared to demand generation. It may be that posts take little bit longer to reach the same level of engagement numbers or there is less drop off in touchpoint engagement over time.

Another explanation is that touchpoint-based reporting captures content that is effective further down the funnel. That’s because touchpoint-based reporting counts touchpoints for a contact beyond the lead stage in the funnel.

On the other hand, In a U-shaped attribution model that measures lead generation, a blog post can only receive credit for generating a lead if it is the landing page for a touchpoint that occurs at or before lead conversion. If an existing lead reads the blog post, but isn’t yet an opportunity, no credit is given.

Seeing the new data, we can now target more of our blog content for our target contacts who are mid-funnel. Since we can now more effectively measure its impact with touchpoints, we can put more effort there with confidence. The data is actionable.

Using the right metrics

Switching how you report on your marketing efforts does make a tangible difference. The differences that we saw in these lists, based on how we measure our content, can help shape the future of our content strategy.

Do you have this level of data? ABM-specific measurement is a critical ingredient for ABM success. Optimizing your ABM efforts with demand generation metrics is akin to a baseball player trying to optimize his batting average based only knowing how many home runs he's hit. Sure, hitting more home runs may increase your batting average, but they are often not strongly correlated. When it comes to ABM, it means that you will not be optimized for what you're truly aiming to achieve, and will be leaving deals on the table.

If you’re putting in the effort to create content for ABM, make sure you’re getting the most value out of it with measurement for ABM.

Definitive Guide to ABM Measurement  Everything you need to know about the ABM metrics that matter  Download Now

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