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Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Metrics You Might Miss: Downloaded Content

Posted on March 31, 2014 by Chris Bucholtz

If you run a partner portal,  you have something that marketers on the Internet dream of: the ability to follow your partners as they move through your content. You can see the things they download, the sequence in which they download them, and correlations between content consumption and behaviors.

This is called the reader’s journey. Marketers often hope for content that strikes readers like a thunderclap and drive them to buy, and while that would make their lives considerably easier, that’s not the way it works in most cases. Usually, in this era of plentiful content, customers do plenty of research to understand what they’re buying, especially if the purchase is expensive or complex.

A sequence of pieces of content may educate buyers and make them more confident in the seller’s expertise. This often starts with a fairly general content piece. As an example, imagine a car buyer first looking at an article about this year’s sportiest cars, then going to an auto maker’s site to read about that car. First up might be a piece that describes what the designer was thinking about this year’s model. Next might be a comparison by a third party that ranks the car ahead of its competition. The buyer might then look at the spec sheet and then the options available, and then use a locator to discover where the closest dealership is.

All of this paints a great picture for the seller – the degree of interest the buyer is showing is strong, especially if you know these visits all happened in a short period of time. There’s one problem, however – it all took place on the open Internet, with little ability by the seller to determine who looked at what and when. The seller might put some content behind registration, but this has proven to deter many readers from progressing further.

However, since you have a partner portal, you don’t have this problem. You know who visits your portal – or, at least you have the ability to know that. And you also have the ability to understand the patterns of content consumption, and then correlate that to behaviors and performance.

Is there content that drives your partners to significant additional engagement with training assets? Is there a correlation between marketing tools downloaded and partner performance? Is there a level of content consumption intensity that points toward a partner who’s about to close significant deals?

These are very helpful – but they’re more like the idealized ”lightning strike” than what usually happens, which is a number of pieces of content are consumed and cumulatively result in changes in behavior or performance. Tracking these journeys is very helpful; they indicate how you should position content on the portal, what pieces of content other content should link to, and ideas for duplicating the success of a track of content on another topic on the portal.

Understanding what content is downloaded when is useful, but so is understanding where content is downloaded. It may well be that what’s important in one geography is not as important in another. Similarly, it may prove that you need greater foreign-language support for your content.

Your portal can provide a great service to your channels, but you don’t do it as a public service. You have objectives you wish to accomplish with it, and without understanding how content is being consumed and which content has a result, achieving those objectives will be a matter of luck and not the result of a planned strategy.  

Don't miss the pre-cursor to this blog!  Metrics you Might Miss: Portal Content and Partner Behaviors