Channels_FutureThe latest and greatest channels are the regular topic of discussion for any brand or marketer, whether it be Snapchat, Facebook Live or a new platform entirely. They’re usually all too eager to jump on the latest channels available because of what they see as promising numbers. This could be due to receiving a lot of traffic from the channel or maybe they’re just seeing the potential for growth there. They then push all their efforts into mastering one of these platforms, with no guarantee it will be a success or continue to deliver those promising numbers that they first recorded.

Experimentation with your marketing mix is important, but don’t believe that the future lies in the next big channel. The key to the future of content marketing is the data mined from these channels and elsewhere that will end up pushing your content to the next level.

The word data is thrown around a lot (big data, data driven, etc) but despite this, data is basically just information for us to interpret. Once this data has been interpreted, decisions can then be made upon the interpretations. In content marketing, in order to understand how a brands efforts are performing over a long period of time, data is mined from owned and third-party channels.

The data mined from channels such as Facebook Live and Snapchat can offer a clearer picture, but is still only one piece of the puzzle. Many platforms limit the metrics you can view to understand your data and aren’t as comprehensive as something like Google Analytics. Because of these limitations to the data, your understanding of how your content performs is limited as well.

The question of whether the data is even useful is something else that brands must ask themselves. If there was a spike in traffic for April, this doesn’t mean much if you tend to receive less traffic throughout the year.

Don’t rely on third parties 

Knowing if data is valuable or coincidental is something that brands relying on third-party channels will always have to guess. It’s doesn’t really work. However, using this data to leverage their content strategy for the long haul does work. The usual time it takes to start seeing results from your audience is around six months, the reason for this being such a long time is that enough data has been amassed about your audience by then. Rather than just using ‘likes’ on Facebook to learn about your audience, observing engagement and consumption metrics like returning visitors over six months can reveal a lot more.

Relying on the latest channels plays into the short-term numbers game. For the long-term game, brands can gather and analyse data by using a combination of analytics software from content marketing agencies and Google. Making sure that content is hosted on multiple channels (website, third-party channels, etc) increases your contents reach and gives you much more comprehensive data to work with. Although, being on multiple channels shouldn’t be for the sake of an owned channel where you can understand and collect your audience in its entirety. Despite the coming and going of channels the data mined from them can inform your content marketing for years to come.

Hellena Crompton, Director of Client Development at XCM commented –

“At XCM, through the power of the SCV we use disparate data sources – both offline and online – to build rich customer audiences. These audiences drive the communications, messages, offers and channels that brands use to communicate with their customers.”

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