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With the increasing popularity of content marketing over the last few years, it’s a wonder the phrase isn’t on every list of overused buzzwords. In fact, content marketing is becoming synonymous with advertising online. The big problem is that only half of B2C content marketers are confident their efforts are effective.

One of the challenges is that engagement is hard to measure and most marketers are still measuring engagement based on referral traffic, likes and shares. According to Marc Landsberg CEO and Founder of SocialDeviant, a social marketing agency, in 2014 more marketers will be focused on social media as an “activation channel.”

“There’s Net Promoter Score and sentiment that you can gauge,” he says. “But I think what’s going to happen is that engagement will get much more specific.”

To that end, Landsberg sees three big improvements in the way engagement will be measured in 2014:

  1. Engagement will be measured on a micro level. According to Landsberg, engagement will be measured content unit by content unit or campaign by campaign, rather than aggregate measures of engagement. “We try to drive down to the specific units of content and the specific campaigns at a moment in time, versus over time,” he says.
  2. Social content will be linked to business strategy. Whether it’s sales conversions or referral traffic, the goal is to make the connection from social marketing to results. “We’re trying to get really specific about what engagement might mean for a specific campaign or a specific business metric,” he says.
  3. More measurement tools will become available. Landsberg says the tools are on the conversion side and the content distribution platforms will be designed around enabling people to engage. “Social content is going to look a lot like interactive TV did a few years ago,” he says. “I can click, chase it down, and back right up to an ecommerce engine.” He expects that we’ll see new tools enabling this sort of click-to-convert activity.

Landsberg is adamant that engagement metrics will become more granular and conversion based. He has a similar philosophy with regard to the measurement tools, which SocialDeviant breaks into three categories: discovery, curation and production. Landsberg says there are a few companies on his watch-list in each of the categories.

When it comes to discovery, he says Tagboard is great for tracking hashtags and YTVD, which Landsberg likened to a Tweetdeck for YouTube. “It launched as a social web browser, but it evolved to become a great mobile social discovery app,” he says.

On the curation front, Landsberg called out paper.li and Rickochet Media as tools to watch for enabling brands to associate themselves with relevant content. For content production, he says there are a whole slew of tools that enable easier content production. He cited content.ly for storytelling and editorial content beyond articles. “They’re getting into video production,” he says. Another content production platform to watch is Tongal.

Landsberg added that there’s a real need for brands to be able to produce targeted content efficiently. “If content is king, context is emperor,” he says.