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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Mackay Stokes

Measuring success: our key highlights from BrightonSEO

Updated: May 4

Attending BrightonSEO allows us to keep up to date with some of the latest developments and forward thinking in content marketing. It’s the biggest search marketing conference in the world, but it’s not all about SEO – we heard from experts across a range of industries and specialisms.

We’re excited to embed what we learnt into our day-to-day practice and share ideas with our healthcare clients. Amongst the latest in SEO best practice and content marketing strategy, one of our favourite themes from the talks was measurement and reporting success.

Here, we share our summary of best practice tips to reporting which we’ve chosen because, as an agency, we always need to ask:


  • What does success for our client look like?

  • How can we measure it?

  • How do we best communicate it?


Aligning with business objectives

We know strategic alignment to clear business objectives is critical to success. Amongst the day to day of delivering campaigns, content and communications across so many moments along a customer funnel, it’s important not to lose track of the overall objective and what really matters to the business.

Tamara Novitović, Head of SEO at Bazoom Group, reiterated the importance of clearly defining what matters and keeping that front of mind throughout briefing and reporting. By knowing where our client’s business wants to go in 5 years’ time means we can build monthly, quarterly and yearly goals and strategies to get there. And with those goals, we can set out a structured measurement framework that tracks back to that overall business objective.


Look beyond your own data

One of the first talks of the event was from our friend Tom Vaughton at Varn Health who lamented mediocre SEO. What resonated for us was his point about making sure you compare your growth to market growth and of course, this applies to more than just SEO.

Don’t just naval-gaze at month on month, year on year trends in your own data, but look outwards at how the market is doing and benchmark. If your website visitors are increasing month on month, but if your market size is growing twice as fast, then you’re losing out.

Metrics that matter, not vanity metrics

The butt of many speakers’ jokes was ‘vanity metrics’. In the digital age with so many tools, channels and reporting platforms available, it’s easy to get lost in a swarm of data and distracted by metrics that look great on screen, but don’t actually impact what your business goals are. Avoid these and be honest and transparent about what matters the most.

At Wallace, we take each objective and break them into goals, user actions or behaviours KPIs and metrics that are relevant and meaningful – from year-on-year growth to performance of each interaction, post, page, email or asset.

We often have to work with unsophisticated tech stacks, a slow sales cycle, resource limitations and other challenges that can make it hard to directly correlate some of our activities to the bottom line of the business. But we can still select appropriate KPIs that show a realistic indication of how things are performing against business objectives and help our clients communicate their success to other stakeholders.


Make sure everything has a why

In her talk, Associate Director of Organic Growth at Flywheel Digital, Natasha Burtenshaw-Devries, gave the advice to ask yourself 3 simple questions when looking at data for a report:

  • Why did this happen?

  • Why does this matter?

  • What does this mean for future?

We love these questions because they’re a great way to focus on what’s important, get to the crux of the data story and create an actionable insight. Making sure everything has a ‘why’ helps create clarity and understanding about what the best next steps are.


Data storytelling

Finally, a concept we particularly love as content creators with a scientific heart, is data storytelling. Neil Barnes at RocketMill, whose brilliant presentation delved into the principles of data storytelling, as did many others, defines data storytelling as:

The technique of communicating a compelling story through insights and visualisation of data.

Data storytelling is taking data, making observations and connecting them into themes. From here we conduct our analysis and finally, gain insights that are contextual, purposeful and most importantly, actionable. It’s also about telling the right story, not just the one you want to tell (i.e. vanity metrics).

Neil also talked about the science behind how clearly visualising data reduces cognitive load and increases engagement – a concept we know well of in content design. We’re always telling our clients about health literacy. ‘Data literacy’ is a similar concept and requires us to communicate data clearly in order for people to understand and act upon it.


 If you want to learn more about our approach to measuring success, get in touch.

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