Over the holidays, I looked at two things regarding my personal content strategy.
First, I asked you, my community, what format content you’d like more of from me. Your answers were pretty clear:
You want more content that’s text, that’s faster to consume. What you don’t want is more rich media to try digesting, and especially not appointment-based media – media you have to be at a specific place and time to consume. Really, I can’t blame you – appointent-based media like livestreams, Clubhouse, etc. are functionally just another meeting on your calendar, and who wants more meetings?
Second, I’ve been doing the You Ask, I Answer video series for three years now. In this past year, we’ve had more people online for longer than ever, thanks to the pandemic and restrictions on where we go imposed by common sense and our local governments.
I’ve also operated on a hypothesis that providing content in many different formats should satisfy both the human and the machine; each day’s 10-minute video provides video, audio, and about 1,500 words of text content. So, given all that, the You Ask, I Answer series crushed it in 2020, when it came to driving conversions, right?
Using the Trust Insights Most Valuable Pages analysis, here were the top 30 pages in 2020 that drove conversions on my website:
That’s slightly awkward. The answer is no, the top pages on my site that took a measurable, meaningful business action – buying a book, subscribing to my newsletter, checking out my public speaking page – were not those rich media pages. They were boring old blog posts, in some cases years old.
Could there be some other explanation besides the format not serving the audience? Possibly – but given that I’ve put up hundreds of video posts in that time, along with regular posts – and those regular posts have made it on the chart – I’d say I have reasonably convincing evidence that the mixed format isn’t working as well as it should. We can run a statistical test to put some rigor behind that conclusion.
Using a technique called propensity score matching – which essentially creates a retroactive A/B test – let’s look at the last 365 days of data for You Ask, I Answer pages versus all other pages across things like users, sessions, time on page, organic searches, etc.:
What we see is the treated – the You Ask, I Answer posts – score less favorably on almost every single content marketing metric compared to their non-mixed media breathren. Fewer searches by far – which is really bad, fewer sessions, fewer users… in general, it’s bad news.
So, is this the end of the daily video series? Yes, at least for now. I might move it to a weekly show or something, but in general, the format doesn’t work for the results I care about. Was it fun? Sure. Was it convenient? Yes. Was it effective? No. And if we – I – am to live up to the ideal of being a data-driven marketer, the data clearly tells me it’s time to retire the daily video series and try something different. I have some ideas about what that might be, but no promises until I run some tests.
I encourage you to run this kind of content strategy analysis for yourself, to test and measure thoroughly what’s working – and then to kill off the things that aren’t delivering the goods.