The Future of Performance Content


Post by Jonah A. Berger, VP/Director of Performance Content, Performics Worldwide

“Performance Content” was a recurring theme this year at the Performics SOAR Global Conference held from March 15-18 in Dubai. More than 100 Performics leaders were in attendance, many of whom were witnessing the current and future state of Performance Content for the first time. As VP/Director of Performance Content for Performics Worldwide, I was part of the Day 1 presentation about how the offering is being rolled out to a global audience.

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WHAT is PERFORMANCE CONTENT?
Performance Content is generating a lot of buzz in the industry. It’s an all-encompassing way to look at the value of content through a lens that’s constantly expanding. Remember the days when SEO was enough to optimize a website and place it on Page 1 of the SERP? Now, those days are few and far between. Instead of being narrow in focus, performance marketers and their clients need to be talking about content marketing and user experience as much as they do SEO, and they need to be forming overlapping strategies for each. Marketing channels are integrating more than ever before, meaning that SEO and paid strategies (e.g. PPC, Social, Display) should work together to pinpoint the content and its audience. All stakeholders, whether client or consumer, can only benefit from this approach.

And as performance marketers, we need to continue to think more holistically and across channels and touchpoints, especially in the content conversation. This ensures that audiences are reached at the right time with the right piece of content. Content has to be relevant, drive ROI and be measureable for clients. This is what Performance Content sets out to do.

A LANDSCAPE RIPE for CHANGE
Like myself, a multitude of presenters in Dubai touched on the dynamic nature of Performance Content and how the fast moving performance marketing landscape is ripe for change. By offering clients and consumers end-to-end integrated and optimized experiences across all paid, owned and earned media, the line between “brand” and “consumer” continues to be blurred – in a good way.

Instead of living in a “paid first” world where brands spend millions of dollars to put their products and services in front of an audience that isn’t always targeted appropriately (or the slight bit interested), nowadays the paid, owned, earned model has been turned on its head, tweaked, poked and prodded, with an initial focus being placed on “owned first.” This mindset allows brands to garner a better understanding of where they currently are in the marketplace, how they benchmark against competitors and, most importantly, how they resonate with potential consumers.

In essence, brands need to step back and analyze the content they control, whether on the brand website, in social channels or elsewhere. They need to strategize from an owned-first perspective to learn of content gaps and where their digital marketing focus should be moving forward. Brands may have more owned assets than they realize. It’s these assets that can help fuel any of the four Performance Content practice areas. These ensure that a Performance Content strategy is at first holistic and then tailored to one’s needs. The natural place to start is with SEO, as it allows brands to identify owned assets and content gaps – a “state of the union,” if you will, from a search perspective. The four practice areas are as follows:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO isn’t dead! In fact, it’s very much alive and continues to be the fabric of Performance Content. At Performics, the SEO offering includes technical website structure enhancement and the expanding and optimizing of written page content. Basically, it’s the process of modifying a client’s website for the purpose of appearing in organic search results.

Content Marketing: Content marketing is about distributing content not just from A to B, but to C, D and beyond. It’s making sure that content is seen at the right time and place by the right person. To do this, Performics creates optimized visual, written and interactive content assets, and it can partner with websites of all shapes and sizes to ensure that original content is visible and working hard. Naturally, great content remains a primary influencer in the building of website linking relationships through active online promotion.

Conversion Optimization (CO): User experience has taken more of a center stage in recent years as search engines like Google continue to preach the importance of on-site metrics like engagement, site speed, readability, and content length and uniqueness. CO is the process of increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that completes a desired conversion action. The Performics offering includes active testing of websites, landing page versions and checkout funnels that receive media traffic to find the best converting version. You can imagine how beneficial CO can be to a landing page (and its traffic!) that’s already optimized for SEO and paid search.

Creative & Design: As a longtime SEO, I can’t count the amount of times I conversed with my fellow colleagues about how beneficial it would be to have a team of creatives or designers sitting alongside us as we honed our craft. Imagine that! A team that can not only dream up interactive pieces of content but also design and develop websites. The Creative & Design practice does just that. It uses data insight and performance marketing driven art direction to produce ad units, email, responsive experiences, landing pages, infographics, quizzes, motion graphics – you name it. It also assists in site-wide and content redesigns. This practice area continues to play such a pivotal role in the development of Performance Content and all the cool things that can be executed for clients.

The timing is right for Performance Content to be the centerpiece of any performance marketing conversation. To understand it fully, marketers and their clients need to be aware that it isn’t just SEO, nor is it a one size fits all solution. It’s made up of four practice areas that offer end-to-end integrated and optimized experiences across all media, with higher emphasis being placed on an owned-first approach.

Whether activated in unison or singularly, Performance Content can help push the performance marketing needle in speeds and directions like never before. For some clients, the optimal engagement might involve a mixture of SEO and Content Marketing to ensure that owned content expectations are met. For others, it’s CO that can help drive qualified traffic to a website and keep it there, improving conversion rates and user experience in the process.

Whatever your Performance Content needs, Performics can help you achieve them.


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