Goodbye vanity stats, hello mindshare: how to get readers to sit up and pay attention?
We are bombarded every day by advertisements, content and various other communications, which means that companies around the world are working overtime to make their mark in a maelstrom of content.
all around 25% of marketing spend is now mapped to content, suggesting that marketers are very confident in ROI. However, they can lose sight of what really matters.
Unlike mindshare, traditional metrics – clicks, opens, downloads – give us a distorted view of how readers interact with our content. In this context of superficial measurements, many companies fall into the ‘just do more’ trap, which translates into more content, more blogs and more articles.
But this is a race to the bottom.
The whole point of producing content is to provide value to the reader, to educate and help them in some way. Clicking, opening, and downloading won’t tell us if we’ve reached this goal, but the amount of quality time a reader spends consuming our materials does.
How mindshare differs from traditional metrics
Traditional measurement often lacks any kind of meaning. It is based entirely on trying to quantify a person’s interest in a piece of content or guess their reaction to it. For example, click-through rates don’t necessarily show a user’s engagement with a piece of content, as they don’t make it clear whether the posts really resonate with the reader.
In addition, when we look at social media engagement, which is considered the gold standard for measurement because it requires a confirmatory action from users, such as clicking ‘Like’, we see that this is not that far off. the simple technology used to measure click-through rates. It also does not provide insight into whether a brand has managed to obtain mindshare from an end user. Think about it: How many times have you thoughtlessly double tapped a photo on Instagram without really taking in the content?
When companies measure the wrong metrics, it starts to affect their wallets. In the context of a brand awareness campaign, focusing on inaccurate metrics can lead you to invest in the wrong content and campaigns, ultimately devaluing brand marketing perception when the revenue impact doesn’t come as expected.
Likewise, the wrong measurements for lead generation campaigns lead to a lack of understanding about who is really ready to buy and who isn’t. Businesses may see a huge amount of leads, but they are seen as low quality and not well received or followed up by sales. Again, this devalues the marketing perception in the company and affects revenue.
This is where mindshare differs from other metrics. First, it is not so easy to measure as it relies on a person’s remembered perception of a brand’s communication. But this isn’t to say we can’t quantify and optimize a reader’s interest in a piece of content. We can measure reader time, information retention, and user perception of both content and format. While it requires deeper stats, it doesn’t have to be a difficult process.
All it takes is a simple recalibration of our minds about what data we consider valuable. Gone are the superficial, inaccurate statistics. Instead, we need to think about how people really pay attention to and remember our brand, how effective our communications and campaigns are in doing so, and how the resulting mindshare affects revenue. The way we can do this is by creating and measuring scientifically better content that works with our psychology and not against it, to get more attention and rememberability that users really want to read and remember.
Measuring mindshare to create value
Turtl started as an experiment to see if psychological principles could be successfully applied to online business content and, if so, how that would affect the reader.
The result is both a testament to real-world success as companies see improved performance and customer experience, as well as quantified, rigorously tested results demonstrating the benefits of relying on the human brain.
There are three psychological keys that give access to business decision-makers’ mindshare and, by extension, their propensity to remember and buy.
Autonomy: We want to be in control of our experiences, behaviors, and actions, not have them imposed on us. Competence: We want to feel that we are developing or improving in some way and receive positive feedback as a result. want a personal element in our experiences so that we feel connected to them as individuals.
We looked to these and other metrics and principles from psychology, behavioral science, and behavioral economics as the foundation for scientifically better digital content that unlocks mindshare and other benefits for brands. The secret is to work with our psychology.
Take autonomy, for example. While most content presented online is linear, we have found that there is value in presenting content in an intentionally non-linear way. This provides readers with choices and options as they read, allowing them to experience autonomy in how they consume the materials presented. Think of this content format as a “choose your own adventure” book where you can pick and choose (and navigate directly to) the information you find most interesting.
Then there is the authority. It is obsolete to provide readers with a simple scrolling page of text. If the user has to navigate, interact, make decisions, and demonstrate a degree of competence to consume the information, that means their brain remains engaged as they play with the content. In this way, reading becomes an active experience instead of a passive one, which increases information retention.
Finally, there is kinship. By allowing content to be personalized by and for the reader, for example by letting them enter information about themselves and have the content respond accordingly, we can ensure that readers feel it is relevant to them. In addition, if we use accurate analytics to measure content engagement, we can tailor future material to the lessons learned about their audiences. All of this creates an environment where readers feel like brands are speaking directly to them, without having to write content with specific readers in mind.
By applying these psychological principles to their content strategies, brands can ensure that their marketing communications are read by the people who matter most. Getting through the noise is hard, but by appealing to the human brain, brands can go a long way to leave a lasting impression on their audience.
Nick Mason is the CEO and founder of Turtl.
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