Blogging is the most pervasive and arguably most important form of mass communication in the world today. Consider these stats: In 2014, 555.7 million blog posts were created on WordPress alone, and as of August 1, 2015 Tumblr hosts 248 million blogs. Yet despite the overwhelming numbers, there hasn’t been an independent study to uncover the lifetime value of a blog post—until now.
A new study commissioned by IZEA and carried out by The Halverson Group, called the The Lifetime Value of a Blog Post, has discovered the lifespan of a post is nearly 24 times the currently accepted measurement of about 30 days—revealing that measurement practices are imprecise, and are significantly under-valuing the performance of a blog post.
In addition to lifespan, the study reveals that a blog post goes through three distinct ‘life phases,’ which further contradicts the historical use of a 30-day measurement period. Lastly, the study uncovered an important metric to calculate an accurate lifetime impression value.
- A Blog’s Post’s Lifespan:The study found that by day 700, a blog post will receive 99 percent of its total impressions. A 700 day lifespan indicates that blog posts, and by correlation things like content marketing, are an annuity that provides value over a significant timeframe. This is an important data point for both blog owners who are looking to monetize their blog content, and marketers who are looking to maximize return on their marketing spend.
- A Blog’s Post’s Life Cycle:The study determined three distinct life phases a blog post cycles through, which are categorized as “Shout,” “Echo” and “Reverberate.”
- Shout:The “Shout” phase yields an initial steep spike in impressions that occurs within the first week to ten days, when 50 percent of a blog post impressions are generated.
- Echo:The “Echo” phase begins shortly thereafter and lasts until day 30 when 72 percent of blog post impressions are realized.
- Reverberate:The third, and likely least studied, phase in a blog post’s life cycle is the “Reverberate Phase.” This phase makes up the 28 percent of remaining impressions and lasts from day 30-700. The Reverberate Phase is important for both content creators and marketers as that is where the long tail value occurs. It is also the phase that most blog post impression metrics fail to take into account and quantify.
- Metric for Calculating Lifetime Blog Post Impressions:Perhaps the most actionable outcome of the study for bloggers, marketers and the analytics community is the metric it produced to enable the calculation of the true lifetime impression delivery of a blog post.
To calculate the lifetime value of a blog post, one should multiply the post’s monthly pageviews by 1.4x.
This metric allows for a foundational accurate lifetime impression number, which other formulas and metrics can be based upon. It also helps to reinforce the longevity that blog posts, and by correlation, blog content marketing programs, have.
“Long-form content, such as blog posts created by influencers, are one of marketers most effective and cost-efficient tools today. This study has pulled back the layers so that both content creators and marketers alike can realize the full value of this content and contrast it against the other mediums in which they invest,” said Ted Murphy, CEO of IZEA, in a news release. “With life-span nearing two years, blog content and content marketing programs that leverage blogs have an evergreen value affect—especially when compared to volume-based media, such as display or search advertising, which stop delivering value as soon as the campaign investment ends.”
“Marketers have consistently shared how important it is to consider the lifetime value of a blog post,” said Ryan Rasmussen, study lead and senior director at The Halverson Group, in the release. “Unlike other forms of more traditional media, blog posts have an innate permanence that contributes value to marketers well beyond their initial posting. The Lifetime Value of a Blog Post study provides quantitative proof to support this long-standing belief held by the industry.”
As part of the study, The Halverson Group evaluated 62,863 blog posts generated between August 2010 and February 2012, and from there randomly selected a quantitative sample of 500 unique blog posts, sourced from IZEA’s Creator database, to study to ensure the results were both defensible and reproducible.
Source: IZEA; edited by Richard Carufel