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  • Writer's pictureThe Branded Content Project

Measuring the impact of branded content through surveys, analytics and data


A graphic with several charts

Ryan Lowe, content marketing strategist at the Washington Post, joined February's Big Branded Call to share how the news organization measures the impact of branded content campaigns through surveys, website analytics, and digital advertising data. Missed the call? Catch the recording here.


Measuring the impact of content marketing campaigns can be a challenge for news organizations, even when we know that it is an effective way for brands to get noticed. Small and medium businesses need to understand how branded content works to grow their business.


Lowe highlighted the importance of storytelling and the need to bridge the gap between big national brands and local businesses in content marketing. He shared insights from a campaign targeting a local audience, showcasing a custom video produced for a window replacement company.


The video aimed to educate homeowners on signs that indicate the need for new windows, aligning with the Washington Post's audience of affluent homeowners.


"Window replacement is not the most exciting topic to build content marketing out of, for sure, but it is one that is absolutely a good fit for The Post and its readers, particularly in the D.C. area," he said.


Through a panel survey conducted before and after viewing the video, they measured shifts in brand favorability and awareness among viewers.


Results showed a significant increase in favorability and agreement with the brand's educational approach after watching the video, indicating its effectiveness in building brand perception.


"It was successful," Lowe said. "It generated a whole bunch of group views on the Washington Post proper and across distribution channels. The average viewer watched close to 90% of it," he said.


A case study with home improvement company

Moving down the marketing funnel, they assessed audience consideration by tracking actions taken post-viewing, such as visiting the website or discussing the content. Three-quarters of viewers indicated intent to take action, demonstrating the video's impact on audience engagement.


Further analysis of website data revealed increased engagement and conversions during the campaign period, suggesting a positive correlation between content exposure and consumer behavior.


"What was a 51% favorability amongst the panel before watching the video turned into 88% after watching it. What was under 60% in agreement that the window brand educates consumers turned into a whopping 95% after viewing the video."


A chart measuring engagement

Ryan emphasized the importance of setting realistic expectations with clients, especially regarding the indirect nature of content marketing's influence on sales. He also acknowledged challenges in attributing website traffic solely to content campaigns, particularly in cases where multiple marketing channels are active.


For smaller organizations, Ryan suggested leveraging available tools like Google Analytics to track website performance and establishing clear objectives for content marketing initiatives. While scaling down measurement strategies, he stressed the value of demonstrating brand impact and engagement, even in the absence of immediate sales conversions.

 

The Meta Branded Content Project is designed through a strategic partnership between the Meta Journalism Project, Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium to help facilitate additional growth, engagement, and revenue success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes.

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