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Why It’s Essential to Track Your Content

You’re paid to make an impact, not figure out if you’re making an impact. So, why go through the effort of tracking your content on its journey across social and the web?

Here’s Why

Let me tell you about the person who taught me the best digital marketing lesson I’ve ever received. For starters, he doesn’t know I’m writing about him, so let’s just call him Ryan. Also, Ryan isn’t a digital marketer, he’s a normal person. Ryan works with online audience data. He also has great hair.

Stop ogling over this Ryan guy; just tell me what he said.

Okay, fine.

One Goal for All Online Marketers

Online marketing is about serving messages and media to your audience at the right times in the right places with one single goal: to move them through the customer journey and drive conversion. It’s 2012; there’s no excuse for not being able to track how your efforts lead to conversions on your website.

First of all, it’s 2017. Also, don’t I get a pass because social is different from other digital channels?

Yes, it is 2017. I said “2012” for dramatic effect because the rest of digital has been tracking conversions for years. To your question about getting a pass on social: You make a fair point about social being “different” (more on that later), but a solution exists now (shameless product plug). Your excuses are withering. 

But I just create content and put it on social to gain awareness.

Wrong. You don’tjust do” anything. Your content meets people at all stages of the customer journey.

Metrics MatrixSometimes, your content is the first time that someone has heard of your brand. Other times, your content is the catalyst for that person becoming a customer. Frankly, Ryan would say your argument is irrelevant. What’s the point of making people aware of your brand if none of them turn into customers? Awareness doesn’t keep the lights on and the water cooler full.

Clarity on Creation

This one’s the kicker. If you start thinking of your content this way, you will start producing content that is more relevant, distributing it more effectively, and ultimately increasing your traffic and conversions. 

Alright. Out with it.

Okay. I’m just trying to build some suspense. Live a little.

When we serve messages and media to our audience, we’re doing more than delivering our content. We’re learning about our customers and prospective customers.

But what about clicks? Engagements? You just got off your soap box about conversions. What about those?

Yes to all of that, but Ryan would say that those are side effects of relevant content landing in the right place at the right time with the right person.

Time for a Pivot

Pivot your thinking away from “How many clicks can I get?” to “What can I learn about my audience based on how they respond to this content?”

Metrics such as clicks, engagements, mentions, and yes, even conversions, are your audience’s way of communicating with you. They are telling you where they are in the customer journey based on the action they take on a given piece of content.

Social Metrics Map

If you can say, “I know lifestyle content drives the most engagement,” or, “I know promotional offers drive the most conversion,” you can start creating and serving content with intentionality to move people from one stage of the journey to the next.

Circling Back Now

At this point, it probably goes without saying, you can’t execute on either of Ryan’s points without tracking your content. So just start slapping UTMs on your links and spray ‘em out there, right? Remember when I said I’d come back to the “social being different” topic? It’s happening. Right now.

What makes social different from other channels? Your audience doesn’t show display ads to each other, or send branded email blasts, or bid on search terms to tell a friend about your product. But they do use social to do just that: personally refer one another by sharing links.

What happens when someone comes to your website from one of your Facebook posts with a UTM, then they copy and paste the URL into a text message to a colleague, who then comes to your site and submits a lead form? That UTM is still there, totally ignoring the fact that a personal referral through a private message was the impetus for that conversion.

What happens when someone comes to your website from one of your Facebook posts with a UTM, then navigates to a different page on your website, then copies and pastes the URL into a tweet? Well, because they left the landing page, that UTM is now gone, so that share to Twitter is entirely un-tracked.

What happens when someone comes to your website from a display ad, then copies and pastes the URL into a WhatsApp message to a group of friends? That display UTM is still on there, and the social sharing component is, once again, entirely un-tracked.

Get to the point, Colin. My clothes are going out of style.

First of all, thanks for the Sandlot reference (Squints Palledorous FTW!). Second, if I were writing this a year ago, I’d say, “Tough luck, there’s not a good way to do this.” But now there is a way to do this. There is a way to track all of your content (second shameless product plug… couldn’t help myself).

Your content is going on all kinds of social sharing adventures, and if you’re not tracking it, you’re unable to:

  1. Determine the complete impact your content is delivering to your business, and
  2. Learn what types of content resonate most with your audience at each point in the customer journey, all leading to conversions.

If you want to learn more about how Simply Measured can help you track all of your content, no matter where it goes, and how it impacts every point of your customer journey, from awareness, to consideration, to intent, to conversion…click that button below.

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Colin Zalewski

Product Marketing Manager at Simply Measured with a passion for full-funnel digital marketing. I enjoy a round of golf, a Kentucky Mule, and warm evening walks with my wife and dog.

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