The Value of Long Form Content
Here at Juice, we deal with all types of content and need to be sure to find the appropriate ways to track, through analytics, what we produce. Long form content is no different. As a team that has strategized, designed, and built several blogs for a diverse roster of clients, the challenge of finding the best way to evaluate user engagement with written content isn’t foreign.
The underlying dilemma of free long form content rests in the difficulty of tying an ROI metric back to it. Try as we will, unless that content is gated in some way through a required subscription or form, it’s hard to know how to best measure its success.
In a FastCo article, Om Malik sat down with Medium’s CEO, Evan Williams, to discuss these issues. I found this article particularly interesting because of Williams’ statement that measurement focus is on ‘total time reading’. Clearly, as he mentions, it’s not a perfect measurement, but it could be the best way to estimate value to the user.
Value to the User
Though it may seem like common sense, this approach to analytics isn’t one we typically see. More often, we try to directly attribute an ROI or sales goal to content even if it is created with a qualitative objective in mind. The question remains: even if a user ultimately fills out a lead form or purchases a product, was the content they consumed valuable enough to generate brand awareness beyond that one interaction? Did they spend time consuming the content? Did they share it so it could reach more people? How can we determine that the purchase was a direct result of that pageview? And if they did purchase, did it even matter that the blog post or infographic was there at all, or did it only create one more barrier to purchase? All these unknowns lead us to believe that the number of pageviews is not the appropriate metric to gauge long form content engagement.
In the end, we want users to engage with the content we produce. It solidifies our brand’s messaging, tone, and voice. If they share it, it not only proves audience loyalty, but also extends reach to users that we may have missed in our initial marketing strategy. Tie that sharing activity to conversion, and we’ve found the sweet spot for measuring the value of long form.
Juice Interactive is a forward-thinking digital agency located in the West Loop of Chicago. We’re a team of strategists, developers and designers, focused on provided strategic insight and seamless digital experiences. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.