Can AI Solve Content Marketing’s ROI Conundrum?

With most of ad spend on pause in 2020, many a marketer shifted their focus towards mission-based content marketing.

But ROI has long been the bane of content marketing. Marketers know they need it, but understanding how it’s being used and figuring out how it’s moving consumers down the funnel has long been a challenge.

Senior Editor, Lynne d Johnson, spoke with Peyman Nilforoush, CEO and Co-Founder of inPowered about how marketers can solve the long-standing ROI issue with content marketing and where he sees content marketing headed in the future.

Lynne d Johnson: How can AI solve the content marketing industry’s ROI problem?

Peyman Nilforoush: When industry standards for ROI metrics look at only “CPM and CPC,” it’s challenging to gauge tangible business outcomes and real return on content marketing spend. How can true ROI be determined when data lacks anything besides clicks and impressions?

inPowered uses an AI-powered platform to deliver business outcomes with content marketing. We built this company to empower brands to gain measurable data points as to how their content is really resonating with consumers, in order to create highly impactful digital marketing strategies that drive results.

With the simple drop of a Java Script tag across all pages of a brand’s content, our AI-powered Content Intelligence is able to test various calls to action targeted to achieve higher-funnel business outcomes; optimizing the time and placement of an intelligent “Next Action” across all content and driving consumers further down the funnel of consideration to take action.

 LdJ: Exactly, what is Content Intelligence?

PN: Content Intelligence is a unique offering created to solve content marketing’s ROI problem. In March of 2020, as COVID hit, we had somewhere around 2/3 of our Fortune 500 advertising clients essentially pause their campaigns overnight.

This was due to the uncertainty around COVID-19; but it quickly became clear that there would be some time before life returned to ‘normal,’ and our clients had to figure out from a content marketing standpoint how to retool their messaging and entire digital strategy.

They also had to figure out what content is resonating and is most helpful to their consumers during this time of transition, as well as understand what content is driving real ROI and business outcomes. If you’ve done any work in marketing, you know that is already a difficult thing to accomplish—to provide content that’s not only resourceful but driving the real results that your business needs.

In response to this, we developed Content Intelligence, which uses AI to decipher what content is resonating most with consumers, while also driving them down the funnel of consideration to take action and deliver real ROI. Instead of focusing on metrics such as clicks or impressions, Content Intelligence is able to drive larger business outcomes for brands such as positive brand perception, high-value actions taken on site, lead generation and increased user engagement.

 LdJ: Do you have any real-life use cases of Content Intelligence?

PN: On average, we’ve had clients who’ve implemented Content Intelligence see an average of 12% CTR for the content’s call-to-action with some articles driving as high as 40% CTR.

One of our major insurance partners drove 6,000 incremental clicks to their insurance calculator within 30 days and saw a 119X increase in their content’s click-thru rate.

Their agency partner also commented how those clicks are more likely to result in sales because people who have already landed on the insurance calculator are 40% more likely to engage with the next piece of content from the insurer, like a unique quote for life insurance.

LdJ: Where do you see content marketing heading in 2021 and what should publishers be thinking about?

PN: We see three key trends in content marketing for 2021—AI implementation, leading with empathy, and driving business results as opposed to soft metrics. If we learned anything from 2020, it was that consumers won’t pay attention to sales pitches in a pandemic. They engage with brands that lead with empathy and provide tangible value. Brands that have successfully implemented AI to understand the needs of their consumers are able to optimize their content marketing efforts to drive real business results as opposed to clicks and impressions.

We see 2021 as the tipping point for using AI to connect top-funnel content strategies to real ROI and that is a game-changer in a year that every single dollar will need to work harder for companies to hit their goals.

This also includes both B2B and B2C publishers, as AI will also be key for them to scale up their traffic, conversions, and ad revenue.