What’s content worth to your organization? Does the cost of content creation and distribution bring in sufficient ROI to justify its existence?
If you’re like most people charged with answering that question, you just don’t know.
Jack Neff of Advertising Age offers some insights into why this is so, as advertisers struggle to see the ROI on branded content.
“Part of the allure of branded content is that when people share it in social media or it’s hosted on websites, marketers aren’t paying media companies to distribute it.”
Still, Neff explains that content is not cheap to create. In fact, he points to a Gartner survey that found that marketers “now spend almost as much on content creation and management as they do on paid online display. And they’re spending almost twice as much on the infrastructure behind digital content — such as website operations, video production and social-media marketing — as they do on paid display and search combined.”
So is it worth it?
There’s the rub. Marketing analytics have not kept up with content creation, and the systems can’t yet measure the ultimate sales lift from distributed content on most platforms. They can measure how many people it touched, and how much it was shared, but can’t yet connect the dots to actual sales.
“Cost per impact” is what’s being measured now, and Rex Briggs of Marketing Evolution points out a huge range in that cost.
During an exercise at a panel in Sweden he analyzed the data of more than 100 marketers and found costs per impact ranged from 50¢ to $50. It’s hard to wrap a return around a range like that, especially with no solid analytics to back it up.
Still, despite the cost, content works to generate interest, leads and sales, there’s no doubt. Until we get some clarity on just how much, the quest for solid ROI figures continues.