Alexander Santo

In 1230, monastic scribes at St. Andrew’s Priory were tasked with documenting the exotic animals of the world in an illuminated manuscript. None of the monks had actually seen the creatures they wrote about, and the results are pretty funny by modern standards.

The monks’ depiction of a crocodile more closely resembles a scaled tadpole with the head of an angry pug. Their herds of elephants do have tusks, but also blue fur and trunks like the bell end of a trumpet.

And then there’s the famed Indian manticore…


Yikes, right? Well as funny as these medieval misconceptions might be, today’s marketers make similar blunders all the time when they fail to understand their audiences. In fact, research from Content Marketing Institute revealed that less than 50 percent of all B2B content marketers actually have conversations with their customers when planning campaigns.

Thankfully, today’s marketers have more resources at their fingertips than those musty old monks had in their stone sanctuaries. In this edition of the Content Marketing Weekly, we’re going to look at emerging trends in audience research and engagement to learn how to avoid looking similarly silly to future generations.

Can Biometrics Predict a Viral Marketing Campaign?

Setting out to create a viral marketing campaign is a bold endeavor. The internet is a big place filled with users who make choices that aren’t always easy to understand. Why does one meme go viral when thousands of others fail to get shared?

That’s the question Harvard Business Review contributors Jacob Jones, Matthew Gillespie and Kelsey Libert asked when they developed an experiment to leverage physiological markers to measure emotional responses to content.

Using an electrophysiological signal called the galvanic skin response (GSR), the researchers tracked users’ emotional reactions to content, then compared those results to a set of high- and low-performing content campaigns. Sure enough, content that produced a greater GSR response correlated with campaigns that were more viral than others.

Importantly, the researchers noted that GSR readings were more accurate than self-reported metrics. Asking users which content they are more likely to share did not actually correlate with content that went viral.

Check out the researchers’ findings to learn more.

The 2019 Ultimate Guide to Facebook Engagement

In the ongoing effort to better understand what social media users want from content, Buffer and BuzzSumo analyzed over 777 million Facebook posts from 2018. From this huge set of examples, they homed in on the 500 most-successful posts, which accounted for over 1 billion unique engagements.

Unsurprisingly, 81 percent of the top-performing posts were videos, which brought in 59 percent more engagement than other types of posts. Link posts performed the worst, garnering 76 percent less engagement than video posts.

By measuring user reactions to posts, analysts found that the most engaging content was either funny, inspirational or helpful in nature. Facebook’s LOVE and HAHA reactions topped the list of user responses, representing 46 percent and 34 percent of the total reactions, respectively.

Users want to laugh, feel empathy or get practical advice from content. But what makes one audience feel sad may make another audience angry. Marketers need to understand user opinions on content subject matter before they can fully leverage these findings.

Read the entire guide for more insights.

13 Important SEO KPIs You Need to Know

Actual interactions with your audience are one of the best ways to learn about their interests, but it’s not always possible to conduct a survey before every campaign launch. Utilizing data and analytics to gain deeper insights into customer habits and informational needs is key to campaign success.

Search Engine Journal put together a list of the most important key performance indicators marketers can use to inform their SEO strategies. A metric like ranked positions on search engine results pages (SERPs) is useful, but needs context. In fact, it’s becoming more difficult to accurately track keyword rankings as search becomes more personalized. Two users can input the same query and receive completely different SERPs depending on their search history and location.

Separating mobile traffic from desktop traffic is one way marketers can develop a better understanding of content performance, noted digital marketing expert James Brockbank. Optimizing this content for page speed and intuitive user interfaces can supercharge well-performing content for an increasingly mobile world.

Check out all of the KPIs over at Search Engine Journal.

There you have it – there’s no excuse to make assumptions about your target audience when there are so many ways to discover their informational needs. When you understand your customers at a base level, it’s easier to create engaging content that contributes value to your organization.

That’s all for this edition of the Content Marketing Weekly. Now I’m off to the zoo to find this thing…