The idea was to dive into the cultural and social history of key digital metrics to understand what they were really measuring, and how we can use them in smarter ways to gauge the impact of our content. But by the time I wrote the last episode in the series, I realised I wasn’t writing a history, but a eulogy – the digital metrics I was discussing were becoming less important as the platforms and audience behaviours they measured changed.
Then, on our annual Storythings strategy retreat this October, we realised it is even more serious than we thought. It’s not just that the metrics aren’t working – content discovery is broken. If you’re a B2B or B2C content publisher trying to build an audience right now, you’ll have seen this yourself. We’d noticed it before, but in the year since our last retreat, it feels like we’ve reached a tipping point, with more and more publishers and commentators saying that algorithmic feeds and Google search are no longer viable ways of building a sustainable audience.