Measuring the Real Impact of Content Marketing

This post is not about measuring the impact of content marketing. It is about a clever bit of marketing behind a tool that does measure the real impact of content marketing

As SEOs, we are always looking for a new way to define our campaigns and our marketing strategies.

Links have been the key focus for over a decade in search, but with the rise of social media (and lets face it, much more sophisticated algorithms) our measurement of success has consistently changed. No longer are we focused on quantity or even the quality of links, but the impact that our marketing makes on the World Wide Web.

Internet marketing has always strived to move towards the traditional values of offline marketing. The idea that an advertisement or campaign can influence people’s opinions, make them think or act is an alluring goal that companies strive for. However, unlike offline marketing,the internet can enrich our strategies with key metrics, insights and definable scientific experiments with which to act upon with greater knowledge.

Companies such as MOZ & Majestic have given us metrics to work towards, allowing us to see the effort of marketing campaigns by letting us see the Links that were built, the Authority they bring to a site and how what we have done has influenced that site. The concentration on links has been important, however the rise of social (and this is nothing new with Facebook being open to the public for nearly 10 years) means traditional values of influencing people are thriving now more than ever.

SEOs have become Content Marketers, social campaigns have been rebranded online PR and link building is now just direct marketing by another name. Nobody can dispute that link metrics or the value of a link plays an important part in recording the success or failure of the campaign, but a campaign should be must be measured in more than just links.

This post is about that, a marketing concept that got my hook, line and sinker.

The Hook

I stumbled across Impactana, the new brain child from the team at Link Research Tools. Stumbled is a clever word for it, I was targeted.

First of all I got an e-mail, which talked about a white paper I was interested in:

Impactana e-book

I then got sent through to a traditional sign-up page.

IMpactana Sign-up Page


Now at this point, you would think the big glaring IMPACTANA logo would be giving the game away, and in truth it should of. Except Banner Blindness is a thing. I know; I wrote a dissertation on it. Banner blindness on the internet means you only see what you want to see; your years of trained internet browsing has taught you to ignore the white noise. So when I saw this page this is what I saw:

Sign up page 2


Filling in your e-mail is something you just don’t mind doing in exchange for information that you think will be useful.  Something you don’t mind doing for a white paper, but anything less and I wouldn’t have even thought about it. On reflection, this tells me just how spot on these guys got their targeting.

The key here was it was just E-mail Address and Website. No trying to get my name, address, leg inseam, cup size, favourite movie. They are trying to communicate with me, not date me.

The Line

The paper itself was good, delivered instantly to my inbox with a downloadable link, I started reading through the content. It too was good; it talked about the theory that was required to be able to analyse content. It was slightly technical mixed with a few ideas for measurability and it eased me into the concept of measuring my marketing compaigns in two ways:

  • Buzz
  • Impact

Buzz is when your content gets shared across the big social networks, you might get a lot of shares but this essentially means little for your brand or client if nothing then comes off it. The example is that you send a tweet that is seen as humerous and gets shared a lot of times. It’s great that it gets shared and you have engaged and been seen by a big audience but the tweet itself holds no commercial value.

Impact is the collective for the actions taken on your content or social outreach. This can be on or multiples of the following:

  • Downloads
  • Views
  • Clicks
  • Comments
  • Links

This gives you an idea of how much of an impression your content has left on your target audience. The higher the number the bigger a success the bit of content and the more likely that you will see additional benefit from your marketing efforts.

Needless to say I was sold on the concept.

The Sinker

So the links within the white paper led me through to what I wanted. They gave me the opportunity to gain exclusive access to Impactana, the tool that promised to help show me the impact of my marketing campaigns alongside what their buzz was to achieve it.

But there was a small catch, the last element of this campaign which is in fact my favourite.

To gain access to access to the full version of the tool they ask you to sign-up and invite 5 friends. To gain access they then need to get 5 friends to sign-up and so on.

The tool is in Alpha access at the moment, but from the few bits of access I’ve had a pleasure of looking at I’m excited to have another metric to measure things by. The free tool bar is already available and already making a difference to my working life.

Buzzstream   URL Profiler   Happy Database   Blueclaw

You can sign-up to get access to the main tool via my referral link.

This type of marketing isn’t new, the idea’s behind the campaign aren’t new but the execution of the campaign in this niche is something to be admired. They take advantage of your thirst for information and banner blindness to reel you in, and then they offer you a line you just can’t refuse.

If you are looking for a bit more information on the actual tool and not just here for the admiration of a well-executed marketing campaign then check out the video below or click the logo to find out more.


UPDATE 23/07/2015

I e-mailed the team at Impactana about the post, but also to get some feedback on the marketing strategy they are using behind the launch. I got a great response from Christoph C. Cemper the CEO of Link Research Tools and Impactana. This is what he had to say:

CEMPER-Christoph-7b-cut3-square-1“The purpose of the free but closed alpha version of Impactana is to gather user feedback and improve our infrastructure and software. We couldn’t let anyone in immediately. We use this method to restrict the alpha users we let into the most interested and most engaged one before we launch to the public in September with paid plans.

The campaign itself has a primary goal – let people realize that measurement of content marketing success takes more than counting tweets and likes. We called it “Link Baiting” back in 2005, and that is, of course, one important metric. Engagement is necessary to earn a share of mind as a marketer, and that’s why e.g. comments are also part of the new IMPACT metric. No other system or application does look at marketing results in this second dimension, and that’s what we need people to understand. It’s like going from AM Radio to color TV – skipping black/white TV altogether.

FYI Some people tell us that they cannot recommend something they haven’t tested yet, but it’s like with restaurants. Recommending a restaurant where you haven’t eaten at is something some people refrain from. Other people, however, have no problem telling their friends “Hey, I heard there is a new place, and I’d like to check it out. Want to join me?”

Thanks to Christoph for the insight behind the strategy and the exciting new software coming from them. If you are looking for more information on Impactana, then you can have a look at the video below.

Settle in cause its 40 mins long, but gives you a full overview of the software and how you can use it to full effect.

about the author: "Sam Raife is a Leeds based SEO, focusing on both Client Services and Technical Offsite. When he isn't helping boost rankings his geekery is extended to comic books and computer games...well that and rugby."
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