Commentary

More Is Not Better Without Effectiveness

According to latest research from Track Maven, a growing majority of professional marketing content fails to have an impact. The study found the output of content per brand increased 78% from the start of 2013 to the end of 2014, but content engagement decreased 60%. Brands are generating a higher volume of content per channel, but individual pieces of content are receiving fewer interactions

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On social networks, brand-generated content is seeing the lowest engagement rates now than anytime in 2013 and 2014, and 43% of professionally marketed blog posts receive fewer than 10 interactions. Marketers are distributing more content on more channels, while simultaneously complaining about how hard it is to cut through the noise, says the report. 

Compounded with a backward looking approach to measuring effectiveness, the “more is better” approach to content marketing is destined to fail. Smart content can overcome bad distribution, but smart distribution cannot save bad content, concludes the analysis.

Multi-channel marketing has become the norm rather than the exception, but simply engaging in content marketing fails to set brands apart. In light of that fact, plus the continued expansion of available channels, the time is right for marketers to ask a different question: Is more content really better asks the study.

The television industry provides an analogy, the report observes. Over the past half-century, the number of television channels available to viewers has exploded, and the volume of television content has grown in tandem. In the 1970s and 1980s, the number of channels available to viewers exploded. By 1995, the average U.S. household could choose from 45 channels. That number ballooned to 189 by 2013.3

According to Nielsen’s Advertising & Audiences report, this channel explosion did not cause viewers to watch more television channels. Despite the impressive increase in the number of television channels to choose from, viewers consistently watched on average only 17 channels. Relating this to today’s digital channel explosion, for marketers, simply being present as many places as possible does not help you reach your customers. The best way to cut through the noise is to produce the best content, says the report.

According to the research, a growing majority of professional marketing content is ineffective. The study analysis shows that nearly one out of four brand-generated blog posts (23%) receives zero interactions. Even more distressing, says the report, nearly half of all professionally marketed blog posts (43%) received only 10 or fewer interactions. But ineffective content isn’t symptomatic of blogs alone; a significant volume of brand-generated social media content also fails to garner engagement. On Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn, more than half of all posts receive fewer than 10 interactions (73%, 60%, 65%, and 68%, respectively).

Among the major social networks, Twitter has the lowest engagement threshold, with 73% of tweets receiving 10 or fewer interactions. Instagram has the highest engagement threshold; only 10% of Instagram photos and 6% of Instagram videos receive 10 or fewer interactions. Among the major social networks, Instagram also has the highest percentage of viral content, with 49% of Instagram photos and 60% of Instagram videos receiving more than 250 interactions.

Branded Marketing Content by Channel (% of Interactions)

Interactions

Blog Posts

FB Posts

Tweets

Instagram Pics

Instagram Videos

Pins

G+ Posts

LinkedIn Posts

0-10

43%

28%

73%

10%

6%

60%

65%

68%

11-50

18%

17%

18%

18%

14%

23%

19%

23%

51-100

8%

8%

4% 1

0%

8%

8%

6%

5%

101-250

10%

11%

3%

14%

13%

7%

5%

3%

>250

21%

36%

1%

49%

60%

2%

4%

1%

Source: Track Maven, January 2015

Across 2013 and 2014, the output of brand-generated content by channel nearly doubled, increasing by 78%. But instead of increasing in tandem with output, content engagement cascaded dramatically. Across the same time frame, the number of interactions per post per 1,000 followers actually fell by more than half, decreasing by 60%.

Channel explosion has made it easier for marketers to distribute content at scale, and new channels have required them to create more content at a faster pace. But, as the data above show, marketers’ “more is better” approach is not an effective response to channel explosion. Stated differently, marketers are getting better at distributing content, but are not getting better at creating content worth distributing, concludes the report. According to CMI research, only 38% of B2B marketers and 37% of B2C marketers rate their organization’s content marketing as “effective” or “very effective.”

The proliferation of marketing platforms and technologies continues to catalyze the distribution of content. The report concludes by noting that, for marketers, the real challenge, and real opportunity, lies in the initial content creation phase. Improved analytics empower marketers to course-correct their content strategy in real time for maximum long-term impact, Marketers that fail to adopt a “measure first” approach may find themselves left behind or facing ballooning content marketing spend with diminishing returns. 

To access the complete report from Track Maven, please visit here.

 

 

 

 

7 comments about "More Is Not Better Without Effectiveness".
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  1. elaine ossipov from an average american woman, February 5, 2015 at 6:48 a.m.

    "More" in advertising realm just pisses people off. So you run a vigorous campaign and what happens? engagement is lower, so you run another campaign and engagement is lower.. and so-forth..
    Americans are inundated with advertising in our homes, on the airwaves (radio), in our mail, in our internet mail, in our newspapers, in our favorite tv shows we RECORD and still can't fast forward through the Ads and we've already paid for the networks, the shows, the onDemand, and NOW WE HAVE TO PAY FOR RERUNS TOO...Ads are even in our children's schools.
    and you wonder why engagement is lower.......
    I got an idea. Just one. bear with me it may get a little complicated. QUIT ..... if you're an established brand, and i'm already your customer, here's a thought.. DO SOMETHING NICE FOR ME. Don't give your specials to 'new' customers, all it does is piss-off us 'old-faithful' customers, the ones who are paying their bills every month without fail.

    So.. Think about the money you would save on Advertising..then put a person, a real live honest to goodness might care about something person in our community as your advocate.

    Try that for one year. If your sales/bottom line doesn't increase I'd be very surprised. There's only so many ad's we can look at before our eyes gloss over and we turn them off. I don't watch TV anymore, I can't stand the interruptions every 6 minutes on some shows. It was bad enough at 15, then it went to 12, then 8, now, some shows are 6. I mean seriously folks, have you taken a look at what you're doing? Are you maybe getting the idea, you're achieving the opposite result? How is it Sweden can show TV Shows (ours, btw!) and only have 1 break, they call it "intermission." I know it's been along time since that word was used in America but I'm counting on a few people remembering it.
    The last ad I thought was probably worth the money someone spent to show it to me was a 4 or a 5 part ad about a car, they showed one part on each break, no other ad's were shown.
    Other than that, it was the Rodents "a little bit of this, or a little bit of that" commercial.

    So there you have it, my absolute unabridged version of "Advertising in America"
    we hate it. we hate that it cannot be done tastefully, without inundation, we hate corporations in our every waking moment.
    Feel free to censor this, but I thought you should know what 90%+ of the people are really thinking and won't tell you.

  2. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, February 5, 2015 at 7:12 a.m.

    Based on this report, marketers will just move their shit over to Instagram, and then wonder why it still isn't working. After all these years (what, 4?), people still don't realize that "content marketing" isn't a strategy. It's what's in it that is important. Most of it is still shit, no matter where you put it.

  3. elaine ossipov from an average american woman, February 5, 2015 at 7:19 a.m.

    Here here! Bravo Jonathan! not to mention everything that goes with it I've already stated.

  4. Juli Schatz from Image Grille, February 5, 2015 at 9:48 a.m.

    So, what makes effective content?

  5. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, February 5, 2015 at 11:07 a.m.

    From my point of view, effective means about me. This is basic direction, but I see so much content that is, "look at me! look at our products! 10 reasons why our products are right for you!!" What it says is that the brand really cares little about its consumers. More deeply, you need to do your homework and know your brand strategy from the consumer view and how you relate. The best content often is only tangentially related to a product feature. Sorry to sound so basic, but it's different for every brand, and potentially for every consumer. I would guess that content I'd find interesting will be different from the next person to post here, unless it's about marketing. Here's a basic test - if you're paying to generate views, links to your material, it's probably not worth much.

  6. Juli Schatz from Image Grille, February 5, 2015 at 11:30 a.m.

    Thanks for your insight, Jonathan. It rings true and makes sense.

  7. Cece Forrester from tbd, February 5, 2015 at 6:51 p.m.

    Remember advertorials in magazines? That was branded content. Is there anyone who didn't flip right past it? It was usually inferior to the content created by the magazine's editors. You'd look at them and say "huh? Nothing there I don't already know, nothing I care about." The only reason for bothering to do it was that the pricing created more efficiency for the advertiser on paper. In reality, it was better to let the magazine's own content draw in the audience, then run a relevant and interesting, even amusing ad near it and let them read it as an honest selling proposition from your brand that they can react to with simple decision to buy or consider. If they became a fan of your brand over time, so much the better, but you can't force it or assume it as your starting point. Now, we must have all this pretense and manipulation and scrambling of things that might have been better off remaining what they are and identifying themselves honestly. Anything but asking yourselves "Would I myself believe and respond to such a thing? Would I not be annoyed or insulted at this approach?"

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