“We’re more okay than we typically are with trying to understand anecdotal evidence and gut reactions,” said HubSpot’s Meghan Keaney Anderson, explaining that the standard key performance indicators (KPIs) her organization, and many others, are used to tracking have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. “I think some of that qualitative [data] that we usually push off to the side as just ‘nice to have’ has become more and more important,” she added.
During our content marketing in the time of COVID session of Live with Search Engine Land, Anderson, Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing and Amanda Milligan of Fractl discussed the signals that their organizations are now using to complement traditional performance metrics.
“While it is important to be empathetic with customers, they are also looking for leadership — they want to be understood, but they also want to feel more confident about what the ‘go-forward’ is, and I think that’s an important messaging component [right now],” said Odden, adding that “there are metrics that go along with that: things like taking benchmarks for share of voice, for affinity, for sentiment.”
These metrics may not be as specific as the data marketers are used to working with, “but they are about monitoring conversations around specific groups of people who may represent a sample of who you’re after,” Odden said.
“We’re putting more emphasis on qualitative data than quantitative right now,” Anderson said, adding that her organization is still keeping an eye on all of the quantitative KPIs that it was relying on before the pandemic.
Although neither dataset should be analyzed in a vacuum, it is important to frame campaign and KPI expectations with your clients as well as internally. “It’s you determining, ‘Okay, what is now the purpose of this and what are the KPIs I’m going to assign to it?’ then telling that story . . . to make sure that everybody now understands what you’re trying to achieve,” Milligan said.
Why we care. Customer priorities have shifted in as many different directions as the health crisis has impacted industries and businesses. Brands need to keep evaluating this evolving landscape to identify new marketing opportunities, but as they do so, they’ll also need to adapt their KPIs to get a more comprehensive measure of how effective their campaigns are, as well as to gain insights into trends that could lead to more content opportunities. Organizations with solid data practices that are able to adjust will be more likely to get through to their audiences during and after the pandemic.
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