How to get on top of the content measurement challenge | M&M Global

How to get on top of the content measurement challenge

Earlier this month, M&M Global teamed up with inTV Group for a live Twitter Q&A exploring the nascent techniques being used by the industry to measure brand content performance.


We recruited a host of experts to take part in the Q&A, ranging across broadcasters, agencies and measurement specialists.

The panel included Alexia Buffet Alejandre, digital project manager at Eurosport, Andre Milnes, group account director at Repucom, David Evans, head of data and insight at CNBC, Shane Mullane, sales director at Moat, and Chien-Wen Tong, head of Wavemaker and digital strategy EMEA at MEC.

We’ve sifted through the tweets to bring you the key insights – scroll to the bottom to read through the full Q&A.

What are clients’ main concerns?

M&M Global kicked off the Q&A by asking the panel for the main concerns they hear from clients about measuring branded content, in comparison with traditional content?

According to MEC’s Tong, clients are less comfortable with the “complexity” of brand content, and need help from agencies to “simplify” the challenge.

For CNBC’s Evans, the key issue is that of speed and immediacy, with instant social metrics building a rapid picture of ROI, in comparison to traditional TV surveys.

Eurosport’s Alejandre argued that qualitative metrics are more important that qualitative criteria, including how consumers react and whether they share the articles and videos.

“Other key questions are around the importance of the context in which the brand is integrated into the content […] and how they can do this in an authentic and engaging way through partnerships,” added Repucom’s Milnes.

Should the industry look at different metrics?

The panellists were asked if the industry should use different metrics to measure various content types, particularly when it comes to video content.

“Yes of course,” said Milnes. “Platforms have different measure of both impressions and engagement, therefore they need separate methodologies. It has to reflect the way people consume and engage, [for example] video view length versus comments, as well the way in which it’s bought.”

Moat’s Mullane agreed the various data available allows for a multitude of measurement options: “We can collect different engagement and attention signals.

“How long was the person in the tab where the content and advertising was served? Did they scroll down, and how fast? Were they reading and really engaged with the content around them or skimming? For video, was it both audible and visible as it played through all four quartiles?”

Evans said that CNBC tailors its content measurement plan depending on the data available. “Video delivers extra data so we leverage that on top of common metrics,” he added. “Social is great for adding extra insights on top of what we collect in-house.”

How to create benchmarks?

One of the suggested next steps is the creation of a series of content engagement ‘benchmarks’, based around format, audience and platform.

The answer, according to Evans, is simple: data, data, and more data. “The more content we produce, the more we can cut and analyse and use our knowledge and experience,” he said.

Mullane acknowledged that marketers are looking at benchmarks by content type (“video, social etc”) and by device (“mobile vs desktop”), but argued that “ultimately it’s about the result”. “What helped drive brand lift, what helped drive value, what helped drive sales?” he added.

He pointed out that video content is around five times more expensive than traditional display, meaning measurement is key in ascertaining whether the additional investment is worthwhile.

Clients want evidence that consumers have responded in the form of interactions, share, favourability and – finally – sales, according to Tong.

“We have access to so much data! Our teams are looking at performance and trends of all the paid media we run to create these benchmarks. We’re crunching billions of impressions, and getting some benchmarks,” she said, adding that six seconds has emerged as the “sweet spot” for Facebook video.

Any other measurement tools?

M&M Global asked if there are any other methods to measuring content success, beyond traditional data analytics.

Tong pointed out that technologies like facial recognition are “blurring the lines” between analytics and focus groups, and said MEC had employed text and voice comments as part of a “cognitive computing” campaign for Campbell’s with IBM Watson.

The measurement of attention signals in digital is key, according to Mullane, but CNBC’s development producer EMEA Katya Ionova said it is tough to measure business-to-business communications in the “dark social”. “C-suite tends to share by email,” she added.

What comes next?

With brands bolstering content budgets, in the quest of reaching consumers and bypassing ad blockers, measurement best practice is likely to advance rapidly over the coming months. We asked our panel for their predictions.

“Quality, authentic content will always remain at the heart of any campaign,” said Milnes. “The challenge is navigating the fragmented media landscape that the content is being distributed and consumed on.”

Alejandre described some of Eurosport’s upcoming content-led campaigns with advertisers such as Ford and Longines, the latter focused around virtual reality (VR) and 360-video. “Branded content is going further than a simple article,” she said, with other panellists echoing the potential of VR.

“I wish two to three years sounded far away, but there is a lot to do in the industry,” said Tong. “Content measurement principles and methodology will become more standardised.

“We have to work really hard to connect all the different types of data within the industry and for our clients. We will use analytics to get the most from content [and] focus on optimisation, not just reporting.”

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