Measuring the Value of Content Curation: How Much is Engagement Worth?

Measuring the Value of Content Curation: How Much is Engagement Worth?

The majority of brands that aspire to gain a significant social media footprint use content curation to establish authority and raise awareness. Although content curation became a norm with 82% of B2B marketers, I repeatedly encounter confusion among marketers when it comes to measuring the impact of third-party content on tangible metrics such as revenue. Using real life examples, I’d like to give definitive answers about the goals content curation is suitable to serve and how it impacts the bottom line.

As a part of the inbound methodology, curation fits well in the early stages of the buyer journey as you work to attract and engage your target audience. It may seem difficult or counterintuitive to estimate the monetary value of a strategy that doesn’t directly lead to conversions such as a purchase, subscription to a newsletter or a demo request on your website. However, it’s fundamental to define curation through tangible goals in order to understand the true value of your social assets and optimize the conversion funnel.

To accurately estimate the monetary contribution from content curation, it’s necessary to understand the value of a social channel where you can reach and engage your target audience. Here is a quick of definition reach, engagment and audience:

Target Audience

Every now and then I see brands resorting to the ample of harmful tactics such as buying followers or engagements to grow a following and imitate buzz on social media. These practices distort reality and do irrevocable damage to a brand’s ability to engage and understand their audience, correctly evaluate performance and efficiently utilize social assets.

A much more productive way to attract prospects is by focusing efforts on the people who have a genuine interest in your industry and potentially your products or services. These people are the ones likely to convert and they constitute a brand’s target audience. Companies that connect with their target audience can learn about their followers, accurately measure the reach of their social channels and build valuable acquisition channels.

Engagement

Engagement is any kind of interaction an individual initiates with your brand, most often through content you share on your social channels. The better known engagement types include likes, comments, shares and URL clicks. The lesser known, but often no less important, engagement types can include media plays, click-throughs to your profile or addition to lists, among many others.

An engaged audience is continuously interacting with your content and probably fits your customer persona profile. Sharing relevant posts helps in keeping this audience engaged and tuned-in to your social channels which is likely to result in a conversion down the road. Self evidently, it’s important that engagements come from your target audience.

Reach

Reach refers to the potential number of people who might see your social media post and can be roughly summarized as the number of your contacts multiplied by the number of their contacts. The actual number of times your post gets served to social audiences is measured with impressions which directly affect the number of engagements a post gets – it’s no secret that people don’t engage with content they don’t see.

Reach is complex and consists of many factors that are responsible for the potential number of impressions your post will get. Some of them include:

  • your post directly appearing in someone’s home feed
  • someone being tagged in your post
  • someone seeing your post as a result of their contact’s engagement with your post
  • your post appearing in a saved Twitter list
  • your post coming up in a hashtag search
  • your post being shared by an influencer to their network

All of the above are multiplying factors that can drive a post’s visibility well beyond the number of contacts you actually have.

Engagements go through the roof when a post triggers a chain reaction as demonstrated with my co-founder’s recent Twitter posts:

Post 1https://twitter.com/yprez/status/650716353528221697

Yuri Prezument's Tweet Stats - The Entire Python Language in a Single Image

Post 2https://twitter.com/yprez/status/655423778789396480

Yuri Prezument's Tweet Stats - Five Trivial Things Every Python Programmer Should Work With

Yuri generated an impressive amount of engagements considering the small size and niche interests of his audience.

Example 1: From Engagement to Conversion

Curating content directly influences targeting, engagement and reach. Sharing content that is highly relevant to your customer persona is likely to attract a targeted audience. This audience is likely to engage with your content and, by doing so, help distribute your post to their contacts (who are likely to be in your target group as well).

So how much is an engaged audience worth to you? To answer this I will use a theoretical example which is based on real averages. Here are some facts to establish benchmarks:

  • Engaging channels on Twitter reach an average of 5% of their audience per post
  • Non-engaging channels on Twitter reach an average of 2% of their audience per post
  • Engaging channels have an average of 3% engagement rate
  • Non-engaging channels have an average of 0.3% engagement rate
  • On average, 20% of engagements on an engaging channel are URL clicks
  • On average, 5% of engagements on an non-engaging channel are URL clicks

Imagine the following scenario: You have 2 Twitter channels, one is engaging while the other is not:

Channel 1 (Not engaging) Channel 2 (Engaging)
Followers: 10,000 Followers: 10,000
Impressions per Tweet: 200 Impressions per Tweet: 500
Engagement rate: 0.3% Engagement rate: 3%
URL clicks: 5% URL clicks: 20%

You are launching a campaign to attract people to a specific landing page where a call-to-action converts 10% of visitors (given they are well targeted). You will be sharing a link to your landing page once per working day, resulting in 22 shares over the course of a month.

Here are the results of such a campaign:

Channel 1 (Not engaging) Channel 2 (Engaging)
22 tweets * 200 impressions = 4,400 impressions 22 tweets * 500 impressions = 11,000 impressions
4,400 impressions * 0.3% engagement rate = 13 engagements 11,000 impressions * 3% engagement rate = 330 engagements
13 engagements * 5% URL clicks = 1 URL click 330 engagements * 20% URL clicks = 66 URL clicks
1 URL click * 10% conversion rate = 0-1 conversions 66 URL clicks * 10% conversion rate = 6-7 conversions

Here are more factors that significantly influence the total number of conversions you get:

  • Depending on your audience, you might be able to successfully tweet on weekends, adding 2 more days of content sharing per week.
  • If done right, it’s possible to get away with 3 and even more promotional tweets per day.
  • On average, B2B businesses have 6 social channels, which increases the number of broadcasting channels and reach:
    • Twitter company profile
    • Twitter CEO/owner profile
    • LinkedIn company page
    • LinkedIn CEO/owner profile
    • Facebook company page
    • Google+ page
  • If the company mobilizes employees to be brand advocators, there will be at least 1 addiotnal social channel per engaged employee.
  • Larger companies often segment audiences by brand, region or persona and target each segment with dedicated social channels, further increasing the total number of broadcasting channels.
  • If you use hashtags correctly, tag influencers and appear in lists, your potential reach will be much larger than your actual audience.

Due to these factors, the total number of conversions (for a B2B business) might be in the tens or hundreds at the end of a campaign that was carried out on optimized social channels. You will have to determine how much these conversions are worth to you as they depend heavily on your industry and product.

Example 2: The Diminishing Costs of Acquisition

Unlike revenue, which depends on your product and industry, acquisition costs on paid channels are a relatively stable benchmark to estimate the money you saved during the acquisition process. Here’s a real-life example from our Twitter channels that we use for acquisition:

@GeneSobolev @inboundli
Tweets: 8,598 Tweets: 3,475
Followers: 11,487 Followers: 7,719
Followers in target group: 10,073 Followers in target group: 6,673
Average impressions per post: 833 Average impressions per post: 600
Engagement rate: 3.2% Engagement rate: 2.5%
Engagements per post: 26 Engagements per post: 15
URL clicks per post: 6 URL clicks per post: 3

Every post pointing to our domain gets 9 targeted visitors to our site of which 2 convert. The last time we promoted our landing page on Twitter it brought us over 40 leads in a course of a month from these 2 channels alone. Together with other social channels, we generated a total of 68 highly targeted leads. It translated into good revenue but the really good part was the lead acquisition cost.

So, how much would it cost to get the same number of leads on a paid acquisition channel? In our case, because we are a SaaS company, it would makes sense to advertise on software comparison websites, run AdWords campaigns and reach out to individuals with InMail. On GetApp, G2Crowd, Capterra or InMail, a company pays at least $50 per lead. AdWords would be even more expensive. To get the same 68 leads on paid acquisition channels we would have to pay $3,400 (68 x $50). However, it’s much more likely that we would end up paying $100 per lead which would cost a total of $6,800. Both acquisition costs are not sustainable over a long period of time.

The reason our channels deliver leads is because they have a wide reach that is achieved by consistently posting interesting and relevant 3rd-party content. If we would rely only on our own content, we wouldn’t be able to grow reach at such a rate and would only get a fraction of the engagement.

Example 3: Curation as the Engine of Reach and Engagement

To demonstrate the significance of steady content delivery for establishing engaging social channels, we conducted an experiment that involves 2 Twitter channels, one that uses curated content and one that doesn’t.

@inboundli_blog @inboundli_mktg
Tweets: 15 Tweets: 417
Followers: 10 Followers: 450
Followers in target group: 4 Followers in target group: 387
Average impressions per post: 12 Average impressions per post: 207
Engagement rate: 0.8% Engagement rate: 2.2%
Engagements per post: 1 Engagements per post: 3.7
URL clicks per post: 0.1 URL clicks per post: 1
Posts per day: 0.2 Posts per day: 3
URL clicks per day: 0 URL clicks per day: 3

On inboundli_blog, we posted only our own content which was sporadic and rare. Meanwhile, on inboundli_mktg ,we posted our own as well as curated content, which kept the content flow constant. After 2 months, inboundli_mktg is far better off and was already responsible for starting 3 sales (well worth the effort).

Summary

With authority, brand-awareness and visibility, you can transform your social media channels into a cost-effective acquisition channel. At the core of such a transformation is content – and lots of it. A consistent flow of relevant content helps to grow reach and engage your target audience. However, unless you have a newsroom at your disposal, curation is the only viable way to generate the required amounts of content to build powerful broadcasting channels.