OK, You Have Their Attention. Now What?

justin-choi“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Justin Choi, CEO at Nativo.

Engaging consumers through authentic brand content is more important than ever for drawing them into the marketing funnel. And the best measure of successful brand content is attention, the amount of time users spend actively engaged with branded content.

But what does that attention really mean?

Attention provides the opportunity to influence, and influence drives action. Influence denotes how effective a piece of content is in adding value to a customer’s life, affecting brand and purchase consideration and driving word-of-mouth intent.

The formula for creating influential content is actually quite straightforward: less ad messaging, less interruption and more usefulness. Good content leverages a brand’s voice or expertise to add authentic value to customers’ lives by delighting, informing or inspiring them. It is delivered in a non-interruptive way and is contextually relevant.

The equally important, and often more challenging exercise, is measuring and rewarding content influence, such that the most influential – not simply the most clickable – content gets promoted and replicated.

“As a metric becomes a buying goal, it steers behavior,” Luke Kintigh, Intel’s global content and media strategist, cautioned in a recent Forrester report. “Data should inform but not dictate the content creation process. If you let clicks dictate, everything starts to look the same.”

Thus, creating influential content is an integrated effort that couples the content itself with a measurement framework that blends qualitative and quantitative approaches, assigns value for attention and provides insight into how that attention translates to influence.

Measuring content influence begins with asking the right questions. Simple survey methodology can be used to glean actionable influence insights from branded content in a quick and cost-effective manner. With tools like Cint and Survey Monkey, brands can assemble a panel of relevant audiences, expose them to content and then survey that audience to measure the influence of the content. Similarly, Google uses its consumer surveys tool to deliver brand lift data to its advertising customers.

When surveying audiences pre- and post-content exposure, maintain a consistent line of questioning where appropriate to measure the impact of the content. The specific questions to ask will vary based on unique brand goals, but they should generally align around one of the three categories:

Value: I feel this content was informative, entertaining, inspirational, etc.

Purchase or brand consideration: I would consider buying this product or I have a more favorable impression of this brand than I did prior.

Word-of-mouth intent: I would recommend this product or article to a friend.

With these simple pre- and post-content surveys, brands can add an important qualitative dimension to their measurement toolbox that will help identify high-performing content assets and improve their craft at creating influential content.

Combine these influence insights with attention metrics, such as engagement rate and attention time, and brands will be on the road to understanding the true impact of their content, and aligning content marketing investments accordingly.

Follow Justin Choi (@JustinCie), Nativo (@NativoPlatform) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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