Beyond Channel Marketing: How to Enhance Your Marketing Strategy With Content Attribution

June 2, 2022 Cameron Cowan

No matter the form, content is all around us. As consumers, we engage with it in its myriad of forms countless times each day, and as marketers, we do our best to create meaningful messages that educate, entice, and entertain.
 
Yet even with the central role that content plays in helping brands communicate with their target audiences, in the world of performance measurement, content has been relegated to the status of a second-class citizen. 

 

Tracking with UTM Parameters

To see the markings of this marginalization, we need look no further than the most rudimentary of marketing measurement standards: UTM parameters. UTM parameters were created long before the existence of Google Analytics, and have been the (aging) standard for many measurement professionals. The five UTM parameters are:

  • utm_medium
  • utm_source
  • utm_campaign
  • utm_term
  • utm_content

Eighty percent of the core tracking parameters used almost universally for the past 21 years are focused on tracking channel attributes. Only one of the five UTM parameters is concerned with actually measuring content attributes, but in this one parameter, we are expected to capture all of the dimensions of content.
 
Many Ad and MarTech platforms that have sprung up over the years have attempted to “give credit where credit is due,” but we commonly see these tools focus on “Marketing Channels Reports,” “multi-channel attribution,” and “channel-specific ROI.” 

We are so focused on figuring out which is the best medium, we’ve completely lost sight of the message and that marketing channels are only the vehicle through which we are able to deliver those messages to the hearts and minds of our customers.

So what can we do about it?

 

Measure Multiple Content Attributes

As so often is the case, the first step is recognizing the problem. We need to understand that there isn’t just one content attribute we should be measuring, there are dozens, each one providing additional insights and opportunity for further optimization.

Consider the insights you could uncover from tracking:

  • Image and video assets
  • Promoted products and services
  • Calls to action
  • Font, size, and color of text
  • Messaging strategy and themes
  • Promotions
  • Headline
  • Content author
  • And so much more

For many businesses, achieving the most effective media mix is the main focus of their measurement strategy. While knowing what combination of social, web, email, television, and so on will best utilize valuable ad and marketing dollars is critical, measuring content attributes like those listed above allows you to adjust not only media mix but the actual content that is delivered through those channels. 

After all, the wrong content (no matter which channel it’s delivered through) will never drive your business the way the right content will. 

 

Standardize & Unify with Universal Touchpoint Identifiers

Standardize

Not all of the content attributes you may wish to track can be hardcoded into a single UTM parameter. This level of content richness requires a move to a universal touchpoint identifier. By replacing UTM tracking with a universal ID methodology, you can:

  • Layer on all of the relevant metadata (including dozens of content attributes) that are vital to business objectives
  • Create a common taxonomy that standardizes data collection efforts and ensures consistency in how you deploy codes
  • Keep metadata information up-to-date (by editing metadata values) even as your program evolves over time 

Unify

After implementing universal touchpoint identifiers to standardize and measure attributes, brands should build out a holistic content measurement framework that unifies content insights across all customer interactions. That way you can not only see how content is performing within channel silos, but measure content dimensions across all channels.

With content insights unified, you can capture a more holistic view of customers’ content interactions and adjust strategies at every point in the customer journey.

How a Touchpoint Management Solution Can Help:

A touchpoint management solution eliminates data standardization and unification barriers by creating a shared taxonomy based on universal touchpoint identifiers. With common touchpoint IDs, you can track attributes at deeper levels of granularity, easily add and update metadata, and unify data across:

  • Web and mobile 
  • Paid, earned, and owned media
  • Marketing, sales, product, and service experiences

 

Ensure Transparent Communication Across Silos

Finally, once this unified measurement standard is in place, we must ensure we share content intelligence beyond the artificial silos of our corporate organizational charts. For example:

  • If certain promotions work well in paid search, share that insight with your email team. 
  • If specific landing pages prove highly effective for the social media group, see if those same experiences can also help increase the performance of the sales outreach program. 
  • If certain informational material helps the customer service team increase engagement 
  • among your existing user base, explore promoting those assets prominently on your website. 

Don’t hoard performance measurement data; share it liberally throughout your organization. Ultimately, content intelligence is bigger than any one person, team, or medium. 

 


Achieve Effective Touchpoint Management with ObservePoint

Your marketing strategy relies on complete, quality data, but expanding tech stacks and segregated functional teams make it easy for data to become siloed or slip through the cracks. To confront these challenges, many teams use complex spreadsheets to document URLs, tracking codes, and (limited) associated metadata; but more often than not, this is a hack lacking governance and fraught with human error.

Enter ObservePoint’s Touchpoint Management solution, which allows you to standardize and unify data, automate testing for accurate journey insights, and eliminate spreadsheets. Maximize ROI with robust governance around customer experiences. To find out more, request a demo.

About the Author

Cameron Cowan

Cameron is the Sr. Director of Product Strategy & Marketing at ObservePoint and a veteran of the marketing analytics, digital advertising, and enterprise software industries. He has joined the ObservePoint family via the recent Strala acquisition and plays an active role in product management, technical marketing, and GTM execution. Prior to his time at Strala, Cameron spent 13 years working for Adobe (via the Omniture acquisition), and gained experience in account management, consulting, and technical sales before establishing himself as a leader in product management, technical marketing, and business strategy. His career has included living overseas on multiple occasions and collaborating with marketers and technologist on four continents.

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