Tom Foremski's Silicon Valley Watcher blog took a look at InPowered (you can read more in the link) this week and it gave me pause to rejoice that someone gets that click bait is a horrible strategy in the 21st century. I'm less than sanguine, however, that the move to engagement as a primary measurement of content success.
Sales people get that clicks and unique visits are useless. That's a good thing. CEOs and marketing executives still haven't read the memo(s). That's where the break in the chain is and that's why click-bait companies are still wildly profitable.
A company like InPowered has the right approach: charge only for engagement. But that means the cost per engagement is going to be huge compared to the pennies charged for clicks. The executives in charge of the online marketing aren't making the case to the CFO that while clicks cost a lot less than engagement, they make a lot less money. What's even sadder is that most companies already make the investment in SalesForce, Hubspot and other sales and marketing automation tools, but few are actually using the technology that will help them measure content engagement and adjust what isn't working.
Footwasher Media has partnered with a couple of automation tool providers and we've been surprised to find out how their customers underutilize their features, basically because they can't seem to understand that the tools don't measure clicks. Sales execuives are one of the few corporate people that understand how useless clicks and unique visits are and they've become use to the data marketing people provide them being only clicks and unique visits, so they dismiss data from automation tools as being only that. It isn't though.
One of our partners has modified its tool with unique technology to filter out useless data and return only interest from live human beings. One client switched over to the partner recently and was stunned at how "little" traffic they were getting... until they realized that they were getting actual business leads.
We are entering a brave new world of marketing and customer engagement, but we're still in the trailblazing portion of the age.