For years, the principal metric for judging an ad campaign’s success has been clicks and page views. However, the advertising world is changing, mostly because of improved technology, ad-blockers and a much more technologically experienced consumer. In fact, “the era where a mere click is the crown jewel of metrics is dead” and marketers need to realize that this more adept consumer wants better content.
According to an eMarketer report released in January 2015, B2B marketing executives said that website traffic and page views are still the most important factor for judging the success of their marketing efforts. This is not surprising. As contemporary advertising evolves and is more effectively used for branding purposes than for converting sales we should see a shift of what’s truly important.
Today’s marketing campaigns should be regarded differently. The metrics of clicks and page views are dying, and according to Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, their death agonies have been long and protracted. “We’ve talked about page views dying for ten years. They’re not dead, but they should be.”
It’s telling that many savvy B2B marketers are saying that CTR and Page Views have fallen in importance at the same time that ad-blocking is seeing a rise. The main driver behind ad-blocking is frustration with irrelevant advertising. When an ad isn’t relevant to a user’s interests, it is intrusive and therefore ignored, which is likely why 63 percent of users currently use ad-blockers. The remainder are simply ignoring the ads that aren’t relevant to them. So, how should marketers measure the effectiveness of their ads and content? Or more pressingly, how can they make more relevant ads?
The Age of Engagement
As a B2B marketer, you should count yourself lucky. Niche products make for niche targeting; rich data can inform not only how you reach your audience, but what you reach them with. You should be making tools, not ads. Ads should be portals to content that informs a prospect’s research, leading them to the whitepapers, videos, and case studies that can help them make a decision.
As far as measurement is concerned, if we’re at the end of the age of CTR, we’re clearly at the dawning of the Age of Engagement. An increasing number of users resist the click and instead type a company’s name into the search bar. Display campaigns often result in an uptick in site visits even without the clicks. And it is content that is driving engagement: well targeted ads that provide the relevant, useful content that helps a buyer navigate his journey. Measure this not in clicks, but in video views, whitepaper downloads, and time-spent-on-page.
Today’s B2B prospect is finicky and knows what works for them and what doesn’t. This is why quality content is essential, not only for your advertisement, but for the collateral that you use for both branding and to go-to-market with your products.
The Lesson of Twitter
Further evidence of this shift can be seen from Twitter, a platform that thrives on the popularity of the content its users share, who recently eliminated its share count button. Twitter deemed the counter a false indicator of the actual quality of content, which leaves publishers and marketers without a tacit endorsement. This has forced marketers to step up their game, double-down on intelligent content production and even savvier social media use.
Remember, a savvy user will not propagate weak content. Just as with advertising, the strength of your content and how you target your audience is extremely important.
The new metrics are reshaping how B2B marketers build and run their campaigns. Engaging content is essential: videos, infographics and interactive whitepapers seem to be leading the way as the savvy-consumer is looking for information in a format that is digestible to them. However, what works for one person may not work for another so variety will remain the spice of life.
Image via Sean MacEntee