B2B Marketing Blog

Ebook Analytics and What We Didn't Expect to Find Out

By Lauren Frye
Jul 19, 2016
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It’s the attribution solution’s fault, honestly. We never would have discovered these analytics otherwise. Comparing top-of-funnel metrics to bottom-of-funnel results is the best way to challenge assumptions with cold, hard data. And this test case was no exception.

When reporting on eBook analytics, B2B marketers usually analyze landing page views (equivalent to CTA clicks on blog posts, ads, etc.) and form fills (equivalent to eBook downloads). If a form fill equates to a “lead” at your organization, then the number of downloads also equals the number of leads that eBook has generated.

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These seem like pretty telling metrics on the surface, but attribution isn’t interested in the ordinary metrics. Through form URL analysis, we can use our attribution solution to track and connect granular higher-funnel marketing activities like eBooks to lower funnel metrics. Based on attribution tracking, we ran reports that showed how many of the “leads” generated by these eBooks eventually turned into opportunities.

We pulled data from the first six months of 2016 and looked at the views, downloads, and opp counts associated with each eBook form URL (i.e. eBook landing page).

We expected the trend to be fairly linear, meaning each ebook would have similar view-to-download rates. However, if between two eBooks, one has a better history of generating leads that are more likely to convert to opportunities (read: higher quality leads), then we would consider that eBook more valuable.

The chart below shows 14 of our top eBooks charted on a scatter plot. Two top-of-funnel metrics are compared against each other -- the Y-axis is landing page views, and the X-axis is form fills (or downloads). You’ll see the data points mostly follow the trend line, save for a few exceptions -- like the large, green data point on the right.

Ebook Analytics: Views → Downloads Conversion

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The data points above the trend line have lower than average performance (more views per download). The data points below the trend line have higher than average performance, and they are therefore more valuable because those offers more often motivate the user to fill out a form.

However, we wondered what would happen when we compared landing page views to opportunities -- for this same set of 14 eBooks. Below is a similarl chart with a different X-axis. The X-axis of this chart is the number of down-funnel sales opportunities the eBook generated within the same time frame.

Ebook Analytics: Views → Opportunities Conversion

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(click to view larger)

We were met with a few surprises. You’ll notice the central orange, teal, and purple eBooks moved up and away from the trend line. This indicates that, for the amounts of views and downloads they received, they convert to opportunities at a lower rate. However, you’ll also notice the smaller teal, blue, and yellow eBooks in the bottom left corner dropped further below the trend line, which means they’re more valuable on average.

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(click to view larger)

The most telling eBook was the little grey dot in the bottom left corner of both charts. This is our eBook, “Marketo's Secrets for AdWords,” and while it’s a less popular eBook, it offers Marketo-specific, technical information. However, it has a better average opp conversion rate than some of our eBooks with higher download volume.

Based on the first chart, we might have made a decision to retire the eBook from its lengthy career on our resources page. But as the second chart shows, we ought to leave it right where it is.

“B2B Attribution 101” eBook beats the average in every category

Our “B2B Attribution 101” eBook (the large, green data point) is one of our highest performing eBooks in terms of its opportunity conversion rate. What’s more -- it’s only been live on our site for half of the six month timespan from which the data was pulled. So in half the time, it’s generated comparatively better results than any of its friends.

At the end of the day, we care less about views and form fills than we do about opportunity conversion. When we anticipate making marketing decisions about which eBooks to feature in paid media offers, or which CTAs to assign to our blog articles, these analytics can shed light on which ones perform well down the funnel -- because revenue is what really matters in the end.

B2B Marketing Attribution 101  An intro guide to attribution for revenue-driven B2B marketers  Download Now

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