How to Create Data-Driven Marketing Content

By Rhonda Bradley / 12 October 2018

Find out how brands are using data to skyrocket content engagement rates across social media, search engines, and email. 

U.S. marketers spent over 11.4 billion dollars on data in 2018, which is 8.85 billion more than what they spent the previous year.

Why the spend? 

Data-driven content marketing delivers a dramatically higher return than “guesswork marketing.” The data-based approach is especially helpful for improving content engagement rates.

Considering that 39% of digital marketers say they will invest more in content marketing in the next year, it's important to understand the benefit of data when creating content.

What is data-driven content marketing?

Data-driven content marketing is the use of intelligence gathered from data to tailor content and publishing schedules to specific audiences. It’s useful in every area of content marketing, from social media to blogging and email marketing. 

For example, if your email analytics show that readers are more likely to open and click through emails containing coupons, then you can send more emails that have coupons. 

Likewise, if your social media insights indicate that your audience is more engaged when you post videos as opposed to images, then you can adjust your content to include more video.

There are endless ways that data can be used to improve the results of your content marketing.

In this article, we’ll explore 3 different examples of how brands are using data-driven content, and show you how to get started using data for your own content marketing. You’ll discover how to:

  1. Use Data to Boost Conversions Through Email Marketing
  2. Use Data to Improve Search Engine Rankings Through Blogging
  3. Use Data for Higher Engagement Across Social Media

1. Use Data to Boost Conversions Through Email Marketing

When you segment email lists by using data collected at your website, it allows you to personalize email campaigns. The following examples show how 2 brands use data to better serve their subscribers with personalized emails.

When meal-kit delivery service Freshly began working with a marketing tech firm, the agency immediately stepped up their data-driven content marketing

For starters, the agency began to examine the behavior of Freshly customers by looking at:

  • How long customers stay on the website
  • How customers rate their meals
  • What types of changes customers make to their orders

The information helped them better understand what was working. As a result, the brand increased its email marketing efforts. 

Now, Freshly does more than send out promotional emails. They also include recipes and healthy-eating tips that their audience loves.

Freshly email marketing

By increasing their targeted email campaigns from 2 per month to 40 per day, the company’s email efforts began to produce significant results.

Within a year of using data to guide their content marketing, Freshly boosted their weekly order value by 64%. Additionally, the brand increased its lifetime value of new customers by 19% and reduced its churn rate by 22%.

Another brand that uses data to tailor content is Netflix.

Netflix knows what you like. 

If you watched “Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee” 2 years ago, they’re still using that data to pique your interest with tailored email content.

For example, if you take a break from your Netflix subscription, the brand doesn’t try to woo you back with coupons or promotions. Instead, they remind you what you liked about the service in the first place.

Here’s an example of an email they sent based on previous viewing history:

Netflix previous viewing history email

When the above email didn’t work, they followed up with a different approach, using data from the user watchlist. This time, they sent a reminder of a show the reader wanted to watch but never got around to seeing.

Netflix previous viewing history email 2

This type of personalization is an excellent example of how data-driven content can turn ordinary content marketing into extraordinary, targeted campaigns.

Learn more about how to use segmented lists to personalize email marketing.

2. Use Data to Improve Search Engine Rankings Through Blogging

Marketing firm HubSpot examined data from over 13,000 customers to find out how often brands should post blog articles.

Their internal study found that brands who publish 16 or more times per month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies who post less than 4 times per month.

You can rely on HubSpot’s data to set your blogging schedule. However, collecting original data from your own specific audience will give you far more insight into what content your customers want and when. This will help you target more effectively.

Another way to improve your blog results is to incorporate data into the topic-planning stage. 

For example, Google Ads offers a keyword research tool that helps you learn what people are searching for. 

Researching keywords for your industry can help you uncover topics that are in high demand but being underserved.

Or, you can use Google’s suite of tools to learn what topics are currently driving visitors to your website, so you can create more of it.

3. Use Data for Higher Engagement Across Social Media

There are many tools available to help you plan social media content based on data. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube all have native analytic software. 

Facebook and Instagram in particular offer sophisticated tools that help you understand who your most-engaged followers are and when your audience is online. 

Using tools like Facebook Insights can help you increase engagement by learning what your audience responds to and what times of day they’re most likely to interact with brands.

Another helpful tool is social insights software Buzzsumo. The popular program allows you to search keywords and find out what’s trending across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit.

For example, if you use Buzzsumo to search “health and fitness tips,” you get a report that lists the highest-performing related content for each network.

In the image below, you’ll notice that “6 Tips to Build Lean Muscle” is the most popular health and fitness tip content on Facebook. The article received 13.9K engagements on Facebook alone.

Buzzsumo screenshot 1

By filtering the search to find the most popular content on Pinterest, your results change. “An Astonishing Sassy Water and Fruit Bowl Recipe” leads the network’s health and fitness tip category with 823 Pinterest shares.

Buzzsumo screenshot 2

Many social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram offer sophisticated social analytics that are easy to understand. Take advantage of this data to better tailor content to specific audiences across different social media channels.

Consult the Data Before You Plan Content

Today’s successful marketers are fact-seekers who put data first and instincts second. So, if you’re choosing content topics based on guesswork, then you’re gambling with the success of your entire content marketing strategy.

Use data to help develop a content strategy for email marketing, blog posts, and social 

media content. Consult the data before you plan content and you’ll greatly improve your chances of success.

The ways you can improve campaigns through data research are endless. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Learn more about your buyers to create laser-focused targeted buyer personas.
  • Develop topics based on what your audience wants to read.
  • Create the types of media your buyers are most likely to respond to.
  • Write headlines and plan topics that will improve your chances of success in the search engines.
  • Deliver email content and headlines that grab your readers’ attention.

There are many free tools available to help you get started with data-driven content marketing. 

Social insights, email analytics, Google tools, and polls and surveys offer everything small businesses need to get started.

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