Marketers ‘completely crazy’ for looking to web traffic as content marketing success metric

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 4.30.01 PMAustralia’s marketers have been labelled “completely crazy” by the founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) after a study found that website traffic remained their key measurement of a successful content marketing strategy.

Joe Pulizzi said the measurement was “meaningless” and underlined the immaturity of content marketing.

Six out out 10 marketers in the CMI research – which questioned 251 Australian CMOs – said web traffic was key while less than half named conversion rates or sales as a pivotal ROI measurement.

“My main concern is the number one metric was web traffic. That is completely crazy as it means nothing,” Pulizzi said. “Content marketing is a very old discipline but it remains immature in Australia and all over the world.”

The survey, produced in collaboration with the Association of Data Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA), also found that Australia’s marketers believe they have become worse at content marketing over the past 12 months with only 29 per cent saying their company operates an effective strategy, down from 33 per cent last year.

In addition, only one in five firms successfully track their ROI. Five per cent rated themselves as being “very successful” and 15 per cent successful, but a quarter said they were poor at tracking with nine per cent admitting they were “not at all successful”.

An alarming 13 per cent told the CMI they simply have no idea if their content marketing works because they don’t track the results.

The study again exposed the general absence of expertise in content marketing and highlighted the failure – or inability – to track results.

It revealed that 37 per cent of marketers who have a content marketing strategy document it, 46 per cent do not, 12 per cent do not embark on the practice at all and five per cent are “unsure”.

“Too many marketers have the strategy in their heads and do not have a plan written down,” Pulizzi said.

Web traffic is still regarded as the key measure of success with six out of 10 marketers followed by higher conversion rates and sales (both 46 per cent), SEO rating (39 per cent), time spent on website (38 per cent), sales lead quality (37 per cent), qualitative consumer feedback (37 per cent) and subscriber growth (32 per cent).

Pulizzi added: “There are two critical factors that differentiate effective content marketers over the rest of the pack; having a documented content marketing strategy and following it very closely. Those two things make all the difference.”

He said the results differed little from the US, despite Australia’s marketers thinking they were behind their counterparts in North America.

Steve Jones


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