Game Theory and Content Marketing
Cooperation is key to accomplishing most goals: people work together, and complete their mission. But, is the contribution of each participant the same? Probably not..How important is each player to the overall cooperation, and what payoff can they reasonably expect.
Applying that to content marketing:
A visitor embarks on a journey with your product/brand and eventually converts (i.e. performs an action such as a purchase, requests a demo, engages with your team, etc...). They're exposed to many content pieces and many concepts that represent your brand. What was the true contribution of each piece? What are the top values/concepts that are the main drivers to the conversion?
Some important definitions before we dive in.
Game Theory: A mathematical modeling of interactions, conflicts and cooperations between decision making and decision influencing agents (players)
Shapley Value: Marginal value of the total gains attributed to an agent who participated in winning
Player: An agent participating in the cooperation (in content marketing: brand value, product, specific page, keyword, etc...)
Now, let's apply it to content marketing
We'll use the example of Topics/Concepts representing our brand on the site
1 - A look at the exposure of our audience (in a simplified way)
Say we have 200 pages, blog articles, documents, and we can summarize most of them in 3 categories.The audience can be simplified and represented like this:
2) Simple view of conversions for our different players
3- Get the contribution for each piece of content
From this set of data, we need to derive what is the true contribution of each players/content in these conversions
This is where it becomes a bit more mathematical. We do that, using counter-factual analysis, looking at all permutations, and a little bit of magic...
Basically, we are looking at all combinations to verify the actual impact of exposure to the content on visitors.
Another way of looking at it: They saw this piece, but did that make a difference?
The results will be very different from a classic analytics tool, which gives credit evenly to all participants in the path of conversion (or other pre-determined and static credit distribution methods)
4 - How to use it in optimization
After looking at value of content for different taxonomies (by pages, by concepts, etc...), a wide range of optimizations become more obvious:
- Change a link from a page to content more in line with what your visitor wants
- Make sure your less-performing pages touch on themes and concepts visitors really relate to
- Create landing pages highlighting specific features
- Route traffic based on an optimized path