Thinking beyond the click-through rate

I’ve worked in brand, marketing, social and digital and I’ve gained some interesting insights over the years.

All of which have helped me gain a much broader understanding of the frictions that often occur between marketing and PR teams and digital teams. Whilst we all know that sales and retention are the end goal, how can we make sure we’re really working together as an effective team (and learning from each other) to hit that target?

Put your cards on the table

In large organisations in particular it’s common for different teams to have different KPIs. Your marketing team may be measuring click-throughs and conversions, your PR team may be measuring page views, your social team maybe looking at shares whilst your digital team could be interested in page dwell times.

The truth is that each of these metrics only tells part of the story and you can’t look at each in insolation. You may have had a very high click through rate but if your dwell time was low or your bounce rate was high then your content hasn’t engaged your customer.

This is where your Content Strategist can really help to tell a story with analytics. You’ll only get true value when you plan campaigns by looking back at what’s worked in the past.

Be upfront about what you each need to measure, and collaborate on content planning to achieve your KPIs.

Think broader than your campaign

Be honest, how user-centred is your CRM?

Do you push out business-led content or do you start with customer insight and create content accordingly?

Content designers in digital teams know that the most effective content starts with a user story. Before you even start creating content spend some time understanding your customers and their needs. Spend some time looking at your end to end user journey as well. Mapping out where your communication slots into the entire user journey gives you context. Where will customers go after your communication, what will they see? What experience will they get if they pick up the phone?

Even Google has cottoned onto the value of a good user experience and takes this into account in their search algorithms.

Make use of your digital teams to understand more about user stories and journey mapping, as it’s invaluable in content planning.

Think mobile-first

Content writers like me have to be very sparing with the words these days.

Your campaign is likely to be viewed on mobile devices, so if you plan for that, your desktop view won’t be an issue.

Think about what mobile viewing means — it means it’s likely your user will be multi-tasking and skin-reading; looking for navigational clues. It means that you need to have clear and easily clickable call to actions. It means you’ll absolutely need to avoid pop ups and overlays that are hard to get rid of with fat thumbs!

If users are multitasking the chances are they’ll be pretty task focused. There’s no time to stop and appreciate flowery language or superfluous design.

Keep your communication friendly but functional. If you don’t serve a purpose to your user they’ll move on quicker than you can say iPhone.

Use qual and quant

It’s great to use A/B tests to optimise your content and designs. But one thing that being in a digital team has taught me is that quantitive results can only tell you some much.

Watching users interact with your content and getting first-hand feedback is a real eye-opener. You can take user testing to any level you want. From guerrilla testing — getting someone on the street to read your copy to check it makes sense — through to lab testing (watching a user interact with your content from behind a two-way mirror), you’ll get a real feel for what users think and understand. Nothing drives you to improve your work more than the cynical eye of a customer!