Content Strategy: Your Eyes in the Dark Web World
Invisible social traffic sources. Google keeping us in the dark with “Not Provided” traffic sources. With factors adding to the age-old challenge of accurate attribution, what’s a marketer to do?
Here’s the story, curated from around the Web last week. New technologies add new obstacles to measuring the effect of our marketing efforts. And while it may seem like the answer is a higher tech way to track users movements online, it’s probably more likely to be the simple standard: know your audience.
When you know your audience, where they go, what they need, what they use, what they care about, you reach them in a way that transcends tech and resonates in all mediums.
|We Completely Misunderstand How the Web Works The Atlantic |
The mysterious presence of “dark social” sparked a lot of discussion about the shortcomings of tracking traffic and how we share and spread content outside the reach of traditional analytics.
|Traffic generated by Facebook and Twitter is just a fraction of the traffic driven by social activity online. Yet, these social sources are overrepresented by analytics programs as they’re easily tracked. Not accounted for is the significant volume of “dark social” activity, including email and chat. |
For The Atlantic, more than half of social traffic may be coming from unknown sources, while about 22% comes from Facebook and about 11% from Twitter. An analysis of a broader set of media publishers show nearly 70% of social traffic falls under the dark category. The dirty secret of analytics is that most traffic sources are currently untraceable.
|Happy Birthday “Not Provided” – One Year Since Google Began Withholding Search Terms Search Engine Land |
A year ago, Google began encrypting searches for signed-in users, so that the terms they searched for were no longer passed to publishers, except for advertisers.
|Add to the problem of attribution for SEO, the fact that Google has obscured traffic data coming from signed in users. A year ago, Google anonymized signed-in Google users search traffic data — a move that enables Google to deliver more personalized results to users and avoiding some user privacy concerns. |
The search engine is withholding from webmasters queries that reveal personal needs, motivations and identifiers. Google initially predicted that most websites would see single digit percentages of traffic under the “not provided” designation, however some sites see half their traffic hidden in Google Analytics.
|Marketing at Crossroads: Why Content is Key and Who Takes Credit B2Bento |
A chat between Vikas Gulati from Vserv.mobi and Sanchit Sanga from Mindshare is recorded on video. Their convo explores the role of content and content strategy in marketing and effective attribution techniques.
|Of course, the problem of accurate attribution was around before digital media. “How do I quantify the value of ” TV, radio, billboards? Sanga and Gulati say 40% of search queries are driven by TV ads and 30% of search queries can be traced to print. |
So, when search marketers look at the big picture, where our search traffic data is obscured by Google, where much of social sharing is cloaked by darkness, there really is only one effective strategy: focusing on content. Every medium plays a role in what these speakers call the “surround sound” effect of marketing. The best way to direct your marketing efforts is to understand your consumer and use that to guide your content strategy.