B2B Marketing Blog

How To Measure and Improve Your B2B Content Marketing Using Engagement Reports

By Andrew Nguyen
Sep 8, 2016
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Lead reports and web traffic metrics both lack accuracy when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of content marketing.

A leads report tells us whether our content is compelling enough for readers to submit their contact information. And looking at web traffic reports tell us whether it resonates with a wide audience.

But neither report can tell us whether it resonates with the right audience.

We invest heavily in content marketing and we want to know that it not only drives web traffic and leads, but that it drives engagement with the right leads, i.e. graded MQL’s.

To do this we measure content engagement to better understand which kinds of content resonates with our ideal audience.

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Engagement Reporting For Content Marketing Performance Measurement

The value of engagement reporting is knowing that you’ve created content that resonates with qualified buyers.

Sure, we can create 10 blog posts and generate 100 form submissions, all of which are leads with varying levels of quality, but we’d rather create 10 blog posts and generate 50 leads that all are grade A qualified.

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We can understand how to achieve this by measuring the engagement levels of our content (its topics, formats and themes) and replicating content that resonates with our ideal audience.

This matters because higher engagement with prospective buyers means a higher level of trust, education, and interest. Content engagement builds a stronger relationship with our prospective buyers.

Measuring engagement will also result in understanding how much engagement is required before an anonymous visitor who is qualified converts into a lead.

It’s easy to see why this is important, now let’s talk about how to report engagement.

How To Report Engagement And Content Quality

It comes down to tracking the middle touchpoints (i.e. web visits or form submissions) between the anonymous first touch and the lead create touch. If a piece of content like a blog post has many visits by Grade A leads then we need to pay attention to it because this is valuable engagement.

Engagement reporting is summing the touchpoints by our Grade A (or B and C) leads.

We think of engagement as the total number of MQL’s who visited an article, and how many times each MQL visited the article.

engagement_reporting_screenshot_example_b2b_marketing.jpg(Click image to enlarge)

It is summarized in matrix format. The rows of this matrix table are grouped by blog post URL, and for each blog post we see the MQL’s name (blurred to protect privacy). Each column gives us information on engagement. We use a U-Shape attribution model to understand whether the engagement was a first touch, lead create touch, or a middle touch.

The beauty of this report is that you can see the middle touches (web visit or form submission) which strengthens the relationship between MQL’s and our brand.

Knowing that certain content drives MQL’s, getting credit for the first touch or lead create touch is important. But it’s also important to know which content brings MQL’s back, or that MQL’s engage with most because it’s an indicator that the content is bringing them closer to being ready to engage with your sales team.

The Engagement Metrics For B2B Content Marketers

To sum up engagement reporting let’s look at a few metrics that can be useful for measuring each piece of content.  

Lead Volume: Sum of first touch and lead create touch. These touchpoints represent brand discovery and lead conversions. It’s a sign that your article initiated brand discovery or convinced someone to submit their information.

Engagement: Sum of touchpoints by MQL's. Here a touchpoint can be a web visit or a form submission. If you’re creating e-books or wanting to measure performance by web visits made by your MQL’s then engagement is good place to start.

Web visits per MQL: If your MQL’s are visiting multiple times then your content is exceptional. It’s useful, a great reference, and highly resourceful. This tells you that your ideal audience finds your content valuable enough to visit multiple times. To measure this, divide webvisits by number of MQL's.

Mining Your Content For Editorial Insights

The above mentioned metrics are results. They are dependent on a variety of factors such as how much money you spend to promote them, the level of search engine optimization, search volume, search ranking, keyword density, target keyword and topic.

But what exactly predicts performance? A good first step is to plot your content performance data to search for patterns.

To explore this question we plotted leads driven, choosing to sum FT and LC touchpoints, on the Y-axis and engagement on the X-axis (sum of total touchpoints).

We color the blog posts based on a potentially predictive factor. For this example we’ll use keyword competition level, as estimated by Google. You’ll want to limit the sample to MQL’s whose lead-source equals organic search.  

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From this plot we can see that certain posts have high MQL count but lower engagement. We can also see that certain posts with low search volume have more engagement among MQL’s.

Why do certain posts create more leads or more engagement among MQL's? There are no discernible patterns around keyword competition, but there are others independent variables you can color code your data by to search for patterns.

There are numerous potentially predictive factors such as how much you spend on promoting, keyword density score, keyword, content format, and etc. Plotting data like this can identify factors that might be predictive of content performance.

For instance you could color code by keyword and see that certain keywords are correlated with high engagement. 

Plotting your data and color coding based on factors is a good first step to understanding what to expect in terms of MQL’s and engagement before you create an article.

Conclusion

Engagement reporting all starts with an advanced tracking and marketing attribution solution.

Engagement offers a new way to understand the success of content marketing. It’s also a powerful indicator of whether content is resonating with the audience you care about most.

For a tactic like B2B blogging it’s important to pay close attention to engagement metrics because the research and pre-sales process is so important in a long sales cycle. It’s also important if your product is new and requires a lot of education.

Engagement metrics can tell you how well you are educating your target audience. You can tie engagement performance back to certain types of content to understand what you should create more of. 

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Topics: content marketing, marketing measurement

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