Measurement is holding content marketing back – Simon Smith

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 16 March 2016
Simon Smith

Content marketing is set to have another boom year, however Fairfax's managing director for content marketing, Simon Smith, reckons the industry needs to throw its focus towards creating measurement tools for the offering.

In some cases content is still being measured by standard digital metrics such as clicks, however Smith argues that effectiveness of content can't be measured in the same way as digital ad units.

“There's some things that are still holding the content marketing industry back, and one of those is measurement,” Smith told AdNews.

Smith explained that marketers and clients are asking for this measurement, with some still questioning what business objectives content creation is driving for the business.

“As an industry we've got to get together and create some benchmarks. We've got to work with partners, clients, agencies, competitors and as an industry get together and say: “This is what good content looks like, this is what brands should aspire to do with their content.”

According to Smith, the industry needs to be thinking of ways to measure content, which include engagement, the journey of the content, the reaction to the content and if it hit a business objective. Adding: “Marketers are still challenged, and the industry is still challenged with how do we get measurement right and that's what I think the next 12 months is going to be about.”

Fairfax launched its own content studio, Made, a year ago with Smith saying that the first year has been a learning experience around what skills were needed in the agency to deliver the best content for brands. Made recently welcomed experienced journalist and editor Kate Cox, veteran ad man, Mike Thomas, and sales lead David Rogers to the business, with Smith explaining the agency is on a trajectory to keep exceeding expectations going into year two.

“We're seeing consistent double digital growth in Made, its revenue contribution to the business has the ability to provide Fairfax with a new revenue stream," he says.

“Fairfax is diversifying its business and revenue models and Made is another opportunity whereby we are capturing the growth in content marketing and resourcing it properly - which we've done with the right, different skill sets. I’ve got no doubt that it's going to continue in the next 12 months."

Smith says brands are now “obsessed” with their owned channels, with groups in the sector set to be on “steroids” in 2016.

“The appetite from the market around creating content has just become unreal - the appetite is even more than a year ago and it will be even more in the next 12 months,” he says.

“Every brand is a publisher now and they’ve all got stories to tell and I think there's this realisation, especially from some of the big brands, that to reach an audience is not enough any more, they want to own one.”

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