Jobbing product managers familiar with advertising tech will be aware that the rise of content marketing has posed a problem for conventional metrics. Before it emerged, most advertisers were chiefly interested in how many eyeballs and clicks landed on their ad, which made tracking the number of pageviews a useful stat. But content advertising has a different aim; it’s all about building relationships with customers for longer term mutual benefits. And pageviews don’t really measure relationships.
How can brands, advertisers and agencies get a handle on whether content marketing is working in its stated aim? That’s a question that New York’s rising content marketing startup Contently is seeking to answer with its new data analytics product, Insights.
For Contently’s co-founder, Shane Snow, if content marketing isn’t succeeding in building relationships, it’s just creating content for nothing. Pageviews are too crude to offer any insight into this. Ad tech product managers will know only too well that they give a good picture of how much traffic an ad might be attracting, but they don’t give the faintest inkling as to whether people are reading the content because they like it or because they think it stinks and want to criticize it.
The startup’s VP of Product, Paul Fredrich, likened pageviews to networking at a cocktail party and just waving at people. Contently’s Insights product, he says, would seek to track each time you’re “stopping at a table, talking to someone, and exchanging business cards.”
Our product manager may now be growing intrigued: how does it do that? Business can see at a glance not simply the total number of people who visited their site over 7, 30 or 90 days, but how much time each one of them spent on the visit as well as the total time spent by all visitors collectively. Insights also shows the performance of the average story in similar terms: total number of visitors, time spent per view by individual visitors, total time spent by all.
And it doesn’t just generate numbers devoid of context; Insights translates them into clear English so that it’s easy to see what the numbers suggest (for example, “Readers who were on your publication seemed to prefer this story.”)
The age of pageview data just shifted to the age of engagement data.