Content marketing campaign failures: How to recover from them

Woman holding a first aid kit saying 'Content marketing recovery'

There is no doubt about it: a failed content marketing campaign can sting, and with good reason.

It can feel as though you have poured a lot of time, energy, and resources into creating your campaign, only to see no benefit.

However, a failed content marketing initiative can be an invaluable learning tool for creating successful strategies in the future.

While you may feel like you want to give up, the best course of action is to find out exactly why your campaign failed and how you can avoid making the same mistakes again.

Keep reading to find out how to do exactly that…

How do I know if my content marketing campaign has failed?

A clear warning sign of your tactics failing is when you are not seeing the results match up to the KPIs you built out prior to working on your campaign.

You can use tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console to identify where your efforts may have missed the mark.

General signs of a failed campaign include:

  • High bounce rate
  • Low website traffic
  • Minimal engagement
  • Poor conversion levels
  • Lack of return on investment
  • Negative reviews from users
  • Generating mismatched leads
  • Low average time on page

While the ‘F’ word can seem scary, it is important to know that you are not alone and that every business has experienced failure at some point.

A famous campaign failure you may have forgotten about is Pepsi’s famous commercial featuring Kendall Jenner.

The commercial sees Kendall run over to a police officer amid a protest and hand him a can of Pepsi, seemingly ending the protest all together.

The ad received a lot of backlash and was seen to be belittling protests and the real reasons behind them.

How can I recover from a failed content marketing campaign?

After a failed digital content marketing campaign, it can be tempting to jump straight back in and start again.

However, by doing this, it is likely that you will repeat the same mistakes again, leading to another failure.

Instead, you can use the following tips to guide you and set your content marketing on the path to recovery.

Carry out a thorough analysis

The first and most important step to recovering from a failed initiative is identifying what went wrong in the first place.

An effective way to carry out a self-assessment of your campaign is by using the SWOT analysis method.

This will help you identify what worked well, where your shortfalls were, any potential new opportunities, and potential threats to avoid.

SEMrush states that using a SWOT analysis can help you plan, make smarter decisions, and achieve your goals faster.

Rebuild your audience personas

During a deep dive into your campaign’s metrics, you may have noticed factors such as lack of engagement, low average time on page, or no conversions at all.

One of the most common reasons for efforts failing is that businesses have not taken the time to understand their target audience.

So, it is time to go back to the basics and rebuild your audience personas.

To create a detailed audience persona, you need to carry out effective research to find out more about your audience and their demographics.

An efficient way to gain a greater understanding of your target audience is to actually hear their wants, needs, and pain points by carrying out interviews and surveys.

Check out competitor campaigns

Recovering from a failing digital content marketing campaign can be aided by looking at your competitors’ output.

Analysing your competitor’s campaigns can help you answer questions like the following:

  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • Is their campaign missing anything?
  • What is their content like?
  • Does their initiative meet the target audience’s needs?
  • How frequently are they promoting their campaign?
  • What is their audience interaction like?
  • Which channels are they using to promote their efforts?

You can use tools such as SEMrush and BuzzSumo to gain further insight into the figures and metrics of your competitor’s campaigns, which can help you decide how you can move forward with your own.

Review and create new content

Once you have gained a greater understanding of your competitor’s performance, you can focus on creating and optimising content that is going to add value to your audience.

Before you begin, start by auditing the content from your previous campaign and look at why it did not perform as well as it could have.

You can do this by using Google Analytics, which allows you to home in on the finer details, allowing you to track your contents performance and user behaviour.

The Path Exploration tool offers a detailed insight into how users are interacting with your content and navigating through your site, allowing you to see if there are any regular drop offs at certain points.

If you find that this is the case, this could indicate that your content may include broken links or that users did not find this particular piece of content relevant.

Delve deeper by analysing individual page reports, which detail the number of page views, average time on page, engagement rate, and conversion rate, all of which can highlight if your content is not performing as well as it should be.

After looking at the numbers, you can decide the best course of action to take with your content.

You can revamp your content using any of the following ways:

  • Repurpose content into other formats, such as written content into a podcast
  • Include a variety of multimedia in your content, such as webinars or quizzes
  • Utilise user-generated content to improve credibility
  • Turn high-performing content into gated assets
  • Use customer questions to inform your content, such as an FAQ page
  • Create infographics to illustrate more complex information

Revamping your content is a fantastic way of setting up your content marketing strategy for success and increasing the likelihood of increased audience engagement, higher conversion rates, and expanded reach.

Do not be afraid to experiment

It is completely normal to feel apprehensive after a campaign has not quite performed how you had hoped, particularly when you are creating your next content marketing initiative.

However, this can easily be solved by introducing your efforts to A/B testing.

A/B testing allows you to test two variations of one piece of content on two audience groups to see which one performs better.

However, you should only test one single variable at a time to avoid confusion and unclear results.

Hubspot states that A/B testing can add value to your marketing efforts, as it allows you to see how your audience behaves and how what works for one company may not necessarily work for yours.

Promote and engage

Thanks to the work you carried out on audience personas earlier, you should be fully aware of where and how your audience consumes their content.

Your previous campaign may have failed due to being promoted on the incorrect channels.

For example, if you publish your content marketing campaign posts on Twitter but the majority of your audience uses Facebook, you are likely to see minimal results, if any at all.

One of the best things you can do to help your digital content marketing efforts succeed is engage with your audience.

Forbes states that 64% of consumers would like brands to connect with them and that 76% would choose a brand they feel connected to over a competitor.

Foster a positive community on social media with your audience by regularly monitoring your campaign channels, encouraging discussions, replying to comments and feedback, and helping to solve any queries.

Need help with your content marketing campaigns?

Are you currently recovering from a failed campaign, or maybe you would like to understand how you prevent your content marketing plans from failing in the future? Get in touch today to see how we can help.

Skittle Digital also offers Free Acquisitions Workshops, where you can receive in-depth advice from our experienced marketers, free resources you can use to support your current efforts, and an action plan tailored to driving the results you want to see.


Sophie Brodie

Senior Content Executive

Sophie Brodie is the Senior Content Executive at Skittle Digital. Sophie has worked in digital marketing since 2019. She has produced content for hardback books and magazines for design et al, followed by managing the content and SEO for multiple brands at Sykes Holiday Cottages. She enjoys creating a variety of content across different mediums and working with new clients to achieve their content goals. In her spare time, you will find Sophie listening to podcasts, at a music gig, or absorbed in a book.

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