July 28, 2016

Brands Doing More Content Marketing with Less Return, TrackMaven Says


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Content marketing isn’t producing the results it once did.

Brands are producing more content on more channels but are seeing fewer results for their efforts, says a new report from competitive analytics company TrackMaven. Entitled “The Content Marketing Paradox Revisited,” the report examines at content marketing across multiple industries.

Using its proprietary software, TrackMaven tracked 50 million pieces of content from nearly 23,000 brands and found that, even though output increased by 35 percent, engagement fell by 17 percent over 2015. It’s what the company calls the “content marketer’s paradox” — creating more content with less return.

More specifically, brands increased year over year output on Twitter and Facebook by 60 percent and 31 percent respectively. However, branded content on blogs decreased by 12 percent over the same period.

Despite the fact that engagement continues to fall, brands are unwilling to let up on content production, particularly where Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are concerned, the report concludes

One explanation for this paradox is that it is getting more and more difficult for brands to get their voices heard amidst the noise. People are reaching a saturation point where only so much content can be consumed, liked, or shared. At the same time, turning up the volume by increasing content production does not seem to be the answer, according to the report.

Adding to the conundrum is the fact that effective engagement on social networks mandates the use of paid advertising.

“Think of it as the checks and balances of the Internet,” the report explains. “Social networks create a paywall between brands and audiences, thus putting the onus on marketers to create content worth the investment of paid promotion.”

However, brands continue to decrease output of marketing content on their blogs even though this content does not have the same paywall between brand and audience.

The report also surmises that the rise in mobile-device usage has led brands to create richer in-platform content, such as videos, photos, gifs, and link posts, that can be accessed easily and consumed quickly.

TrackMaven concludes the report by advising brands to track engagement and referral traffic in order to understand which channels and content performs work best over time. The report also concludes that paid content promotion on social networks is a fact of life, and that brands need to adjust their budgets to accommodate that reality.

However, the report also encourages brands to take more advantage of blogs. These channels don’t require paid content to reach an audience and can be a way to fuel a content distribution strategy, coupled with social networks as a feedback loop.

TrackMaven is a competitive digital analytics company monitoring content performance and engagement for brands and measuring it against their competitors. The company says  it provides insights to help brands identify ideal channels, posting schedules and target audiences.

Image: TrackMaven

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Shawn Hessinger - Editor


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends. A professional journalist with more than a decade of experience in the traditional newspaper business, he has another 10 years of experience in digital media for trade publications and news sites. Shawn has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and eventually managing editor with responsibility for nine weekly newspapers, the Berks Mont Newspapers.

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6 Reactions

  1. Sounds like a pretty classic example of the law of diminishing returns. As you produce more and more content (and everyone else does as well), the consumer’s attention is spread thin and engagement goes down. Finding the optimal point is tough, especially if you’re in a growth mindset.

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    Shawn: What kind of return are the brands looking for, and how quick do they have to get results?

    Which social media platform do you think has the highest ROI / ROE at the moment?

  3. Great post! Everyone actively employing social media tactics would surely have noticed the declining rate of engagement thanks to the constant battle for user attention. Now that the floodgates for content production have opened wide, I’m beginning to wish there was a shortcut method to standing out from all the media clutter. Unfortunately, as far as I know anyway, there aren’t any real cheats or hacks. So the best bet is to rely on creating the most compelling content, through being more elaborate, stylish or simply doing it better than others. I suppose at the end of the day that’s a good thing for media consumers because content quality just has to keep getting better and better. Content in the future is gonna be EPIC!

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