On the same day the announcement is made there is a very interesting article by iProspect in Marketing that looks at the impact of content marketing -- of which native advertising is a highly important strand, of course. Aside from making the point that brands are going to maintain or increase their spend -- which added up to $135m last year -- there are two key takeaways. Roughly four in five of all brands are engaged in content marketing, yet only one in five measure its effectiveness. That's a telling point right there, but the one that gets the headline baffled me slightly. Just one in five pieces of digital content are engaged with, research shows -- meaning that brands need to have a deeper understanding of consumers.
Now, getting to know your customer better is never a bad thing, and turning that understanding into content that improves engagement is another wonderful thing. But here's my question. Who wouldn't dream of an engagement rate of one in five? I know if I were paying for native advertising spots, for example, and one in five viewers became readers, listeners or viewers, then I think I'd probably be very happy. If I were placing articles through blogger outreach, posting on forums or sharing on social and I got a 20% response rate, I reckon I'd be over the moon.
I'll confide in you -- if I tweeted content that hit a 5% engagement rate, I'd be very happy. In fact, when I was talking with a very well-known cosmetics company the other day, they were pretty overjoyed with hitting an average around that mark. So if one in twenty on social is a good engagement rate, then one in five has to be pretty amazing, doesn't it?
I think you only have to look at advertisers expecting a click-through rate of just one in a thousand or so from display to realise how much stronger content is, whether it's organic or native.
So the alarm bells should probably be ringing that only one in five is measuring the success of their content marketing campaigns. I have to say, however, that the bells that ring out to me from a one in five engagement rate are those of victory, not alarm.