So you’re going to spend time and money on a content marketing strategy with no idea if it’s working?
That’s just bad business.
Tracking key metrics is a must if you want your content strategy to succeed. There’s a popular saying in business, “What is measured, improves.”
Where is your traffic coming from and where isn’t it coming from? Which blog posts are engaging with visitors and leading them to click on others? Which landing pages are producing clickthroughs to your offer?
Questions like these need answers to truly understand your content marketing effectiveness.
But before you create a strategy to track your content marketing metrics, start by defining what ‘working’ means for your business.
8 Key Metrics to Measure Content Marketing Effectiveness
Content marketing strategies vary because business needs vary.
For a large consumer goods company, the focus may be on brand awareness. Their goal is to build their brand’s identity so consumers seek out their products on store shelves.
For an entrepreneur offering an online service, the goal is conversions. Their content marketing is designed to get people into their marketing funnel and build a relationship that leads to sales.
Keeping this in mind, we’ve broken down these 8 key metrics into those focused on brand awareness and those focused on conversions.
We’ll start with two brand awareness metrics for measuring consumption and two that measure engagement. After that, we’ll look at two that measure leads and two for measuring sales.
Consumption Key Metrics
This metric shows the total number of times a post, or page, on your site has been viewed. It doesn’t matter if it’s the about us page or a blog post – the pageviews metric includes it.
This metric is great for determining the types of content your visitors are connecting with. With this knowledge, you can create similar pieces of content.
To dig into this metric further, look at sources sending traffic to your most popular pages. Is there an opportunity to capitalize on good organic search results with social media promotion?
Measure pageviews through Google Analytics by selecting Behavior > Site Content > All Pages tab. The data will show you which posts perform best and you’ll see specific URL’s the traffic came from.
2. Time on Site
This metric, also called session duration, measures the total amount of time your visitors spend on site each time they visit.
Time on site is one of the better indicators of visitor consumption. A key to getting visitors to engage with your content is to give them interesting and high-quality content – so they’ll stay around longer.
Tracking session duration across various pages will give you insight into what types of content are holding the reader’s interest. It’ll also show where SEO opportunities exist.
When visitors click more than one page on your site, odds are their time on site increases. Are your blog posts linking internally to similar blog posts or pages?
If not, it’s a simple fix that can increase session duration and optimize the targeted keyword for each post.
Key Metrics for Engagement
3. Pages per Visit
The number of pages a visitor views when on your site is pages per visit. There is a natural relationship between pages per visit and time on site but pages per visit is a more engagement-centric metric.
High-quality content that answers visitors’ questions makes them want to see more. The combination of quality content and proper internal linking is a recipe for increased pages per visit.
As mentioned above, internal linking is an effective strategy for increasing time on site. But it’s a must to take advantage of quality content and get clicks to related posts.
To use Google Analytics to measure pages per visit, select Audience > Overview > Pages/Session.
A share means a Facebook share, retweet, or another social share that means your content had its reach extended by the reader.
You’ll often see likes included in this metric but be careful. A like doesn’t extend your content’s reach. A share does because it means the reader thought enough of your content to extend its reach to their entire network.
Not only is the share itself putting more eyeballs on your content but reader engagement is a component of Facebook’s algorithm. Reader engagement with your Facebook posts determines whether they show up in followers’ newsfeeds.
You can manually check shares across different social media platforms or use an application to view all your social share data.
The consumption and engagement metrics above are big for brand awareness. But they’re anything but irrelevant when your primary goal is conversions. In fact, they’re huge for creating quality content that builds traffic and leads to sales.
A lot of marketing agencies do a great job of building traffic. Only an expert content marketing service focuses on how to turn that traffic into sales.
Here are four metrics they rely on to measure how many engaged visitors are becoming customers.
Key Metrics for Leads
5. Click Through Rate
Shares are a great measure of engagement. But what happens when your visitors’ friends and followers ignore the content that’s been shared with them?
By the same token, having a big email list with a high open rate is impressive. But what happens when your subscribers don’t click the links back to your site?
What happens is nothing. No sales.
That’s why measuring click-through rate is crucial in evaluating your content strategy’s performance.
Click through rate can be measured in many different channels…
- Organic search
- Email campaigns
- Social media
On blog posts ranking for a targeted keyword, measure click-through rates to your lead pages or contact us page. For emails, use one of many tools to measure click-through rates on emails your subscribers have opened.
Various tools allow you to measure click throughs from your social media platforms to your blog posts. A blog post with a high click-through rate means you’ve chosen an interesting topic with a headline that grabbed your followers’ attention.
Conversely, an email with a high open rate but low click-throughs presents an opportunity to revise the content and keep on measuring.
6. Lead Generation
They’re called leads for a reason. They lead to sales and if your content marketing strategy isn’t generating enough of them, your business is in trouble.
Measuring lead generation comes down to answering two questions. Which channels are producing the most leads? How cost-effective are those lead-producing channels?
Measure leads generated from these sources, among others, to see which ones perform the best.
- Form completions
- Free trial signups
- Email subscriptions
- Social media followers
Next, measure how your leads arrived at those sources. For example, what percentage of your form completions arrived via paid advertising versus organic search traffic.
The goal is to increase how many leads are generated from organic search, direct referrals, and social media. These lead sources are more cost-effective than sources like Adwords or Facebook Ads.
One way to increase leads from organic search is to find high-performing keywords you’re not ranking well for. Target those keywords with your content marketing and track your progress.
Target those keywords with your content marketing and track your progress.
Tracking leads generated by your content can be done in several ways with Google Analytics.
Sales Key Metrics
7. Conversion Rate
In terms of key marketing metrics, the conversion rate is near the top of the list. To measure success you must answer certain questions like…
- How much revenue did your new content strategy generate?
- How much improvement was made over the previous strategy?
- How many of your overall visitors converted?
- What specific content generated the most sales?
For example, which pages and posts on your site drove converting traffic to your landing pages? Use these findings to tweak under-performing content and to see what kind of content you need more of.
And while you’re looking at what sources drove traffic to your landing pages, pay attention to external sites. Which external sites drove conversions? Use this information to focus your off-site content marketing efforts.
Google Analytics is a good source to track conversion rates and revenue generated. But there are other effective tools, like KISSmetrics, to help you analyze conversion rates, as well.
8. Lead-Close Rate
An effective content marketing strategy makes viewers more receptive to your marketing message.
To verify this is happening in your content marketing strategy, track the number of leads that close. Programs like Convertro allow you to see which leads are a result of your content marketing.
Granted, the lead-close rate is more a measure of sales than marketing but it’s valuable when determining your total ROI. If your business uses salespeople to follow up on leads, tracking their efforts is vital.
If they’re not closing sales efficiently and effectively, the content marketing leads they receive are useless.
Divide total sales by total leads produced from your content marketing strategy to get your lead-close rate. If it’s low, focus on improving your sales strategies and more effectively leading your sales force.
Making Your Content Marketing Strategy Work
Whether building brand engagement or driving sales is your goal, achieving it instantly becomes easier once you start tracking the right key metrics.
Content marketing metrics tell you where your strategy is succeeding and failing. Armed with this information, you can edit existing content and develop ideas for new content campaigns.
Key metrics also tell you if your investments in paid advertising are producing an acceptable return. If they’re not, it’s time to shift your content marketing strategy towards organic channels.
Implementing a new content marketing strategy is a large undertaking and it starts with an important decision, in-house or outsource?
What does an internal team of writers, SEO’s and social media experts cost to hire, train and lead?
What does hiring a professional, results-driven content marketing agency that guarantees results do for your peace of mind?
The answer is simple – hiring a professional let’s both of you focus on what you do best.