So, producing valuable content must be your top most priority as a content marketer(and it should be).
But, are you sure you’re doing your best? Is your content performing amazingly enough to get people down the sales funnel? How do you find out if the content you’re producing is effective and top-notch?
Well, if you’re clueless, you are definitely not the only one. Even though content marketing is trending more than ever, marketers still seem to be stuck in the Stone Age when it comes to measuring the effectiveness and impact of various forms of content.
The numbers prove why: about 65% of B2B marketers admit being uncertain of what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like. In fact, it is one of the top challenges faced by them.
Fret not, that’s where we swoop in.
In order to measure the content marketing performance, there are certain metrics you should be tracking, also referred to as Key Performance Indicators (KPI). We’ll walk you through each of them, one at a time.
By the end of the post, you’ll have a better understanding of how to evaluate your strategy. I know the industrial jargons might sound intimidating, but once you have the right tools, it’s a piece of cake!(well, not really)
Let’s dive in!
Content Marketing Performance: What Metrics to Track?
Let’s start with some basic questions you should be answering:
How many times people have viewed your content? How long are you keeping the visitors engaged? What sources are they finding you through? How is your content performing on social media? What geographical areas shows maximum consumption of your content?
And hey, most importantly, how many visitors are you able to convert into subscribers and paying customers?
Sounds intimidating? Don’t worry, we’ll help you figure these out.
Looking at metrics as a whole can be a teensy bit daunting. So, to make it easier, we have broken them down for you in distinct categories:
By combining several important KPIs under these categories, you can get an overall picture of the progress of your content. Let’s have a look.
How many people have consumed your content and how?
#1 – Page Views:
A very basic yet necessary one – the metric which just about everyone should track.
This number simply tells the number of times a particular page on your website, be it a product page, or a blog post, is viewed, in total. I say “in total” because Page Views include both the visitors who have viewed your page once and those who did a multiple of times.
With help of Google Analytics, you can keep track of the views on all your content over a time period you choose to select. I’d suggest looking at it once a month.
GA also has provisions for finding out views based on an individual piece of content. This will let you know which of your posts are getting more traffic than the rest, which will eventually help you understand what content your audience fancies.
Track this metric, but don’t put too much emphasis on it.(Focus on the next one instead)
#2 – Unique Visitors:
Page Views can sometimes be misleading. The number will keep increasing even if the same visitors are checking out your content multiple times in a month. Increased page views don’t mean new visitors.
That’s where our current metric swoops in – “Unique Visitors”, which is definitely more reliable. It records the exact number of individuals who have viewed your content in a given time frame(which obviously is for you to select).
This way you know if your marketing efforts are actually getting results(or not). Obviously, the higher this number is, the better.
If the number of page views is higher than the number of unique visits, it may be a possibility that readers are finding your content interesting enough to explore multiple pages.
#3 – Location:
Jimmy Choo, the British high fashion house used Twitter to geolocate upscale stores featuring its shoes, which resulted in about 33% increase in their sneaker sales. Moreover, there was 40% increase in positive tweets and mentions about the brand.(Source: QuickSprout)
Now that’s called smart and easy marketing!
My point here? Understanding where your content is being consumed is important. Having an information of where the majority of website/blog traffic comes from, will give you a clear and better idea of where to allocate your time, budget and resources.
GA helps you track this metric quite effectively as it gives page-level details of geographic information on consumer consumption.
You can analyze these consumption metrics, and combine with some additional insights Google Analytics provides:
- Source/Medium: Gives information on what channels are being used by people for consumption of your content. You can focus on channels which are bringing in the majority of traffic.
- Mobile: Provides you with the number of people consuming your content using mobile phones and similar devices. This can help you while redesigning your site as well as content suitable for such users.
Let’s move on to the next set of metrics now.
How much and how long are you able to engage your audience?
#4 – Bounce Rate:
It refers to the percentage of all the visitors that enter and exit on the same page, without visiting any other pages.
Simply put down, when a user visits your website but navigates away from the page he entered (also referred to as entrance/landing page), and doesn’t check out or click on any other pages, it will count as a “Bounce”.
Why is this important you ask? Well, Bounce Rate affects your website’s search engine rankings as it is taken into consideration by Google as one of the factors to rank a site. Needless to say, you’d want to be in the good eyes of Google, right? In that case, you should be working on keeping a low bounce rate.
It is a measure of visit quality. So, a high number would indicate: either the users didn’t find what they were looking for or the content wasn’t interactive or engaging enough for them to stick around. It might be a symptom that you’re not attracting right customers or you don’t have an alluring landing page. If that’s the scenario, you really need to reconsider your strategy to give an enriching experience to the user. Make it worth their while. Because ultimately, it all comes down to user experience!
But wait, there’s a slight twist! It’s possible that the visitor comes to your site, reads the whole thing, or may as well be satisfied with the content, and then leaves. That too will be considered a bounce, and it may mislead you into interpreting it as a disinterest or dissatisfaction of the user.
Despite being a key metric, you shouldn’t take big decisions based on this number, because it is a vague indicator indeed. That’s where the next metrics can help!
#5 – Session Duration:
How long do you keep your audience engaged? Is your content effective enough to hold their attention?
Google Analytics’ “Average Session Duration” metric helps you just about alright in tracking the (average) time an individual spends on your site. It is the average length of visitors’ sessions.
Again, longer sessions mean users are more engaged with the content. You can use this metric to find out which page can be the best starting point for users by checking out which landing page has longest session durations.
If you haven’t been monitoring this, consider yourself among majority because less than 30% of marketers actively track and monitor the length of content engagement. That number will surely increase if more marketers knew that visitors who engage with content for at least three minutes were twice as likely to return to their sites.
#6 – Heat Maps and Click Patterns:
Like we saw, metrics like mentioned above can be confusing to figure out what your audience resonates with the most. Maybe heat maps and click patterns will give you a deeper understanding of the same.
There are plenty of tools out there, and one such is Hotjar, which allows you to create heat maps (where visitors click), helping you understand user behavior and know what sections of a page is getting most viewed. Alternative Tool: Crazy Egg
A metric like this can be useful when you want to redesign your website.
#7 – Opt-in Percentage:
Content marketers dealing with blog content share the most common goal of converting readers into subscribers.
When people fill in opt-in forms, it tells you they find your content useful and are willing to stay updated. It counts as a direct “yes”. So, you should keep a track of the rate at which you’re getting leads through the opt-in forms. Also, it can help you figure out which type of content is working best in your favor in terms of conversions.
Using Google Analytics you can monitor the conversions in an easy manner.
#8 – New Subscribers:
This gives you an idea of the users that have actively chosen to receive emails and more of your content.
When a reader becomes a subscriber, it’s a concrete indication of their interest in your content and services. You can consistently keep them in the loop, and send new content and emails which increase their chances of moving down the sales funnel. It serves as a strong lead having the potential to be converted into paying customer in future.
Again, Google Analytics’ goals section can help you measure the gross number of new subscribers you get on a daily basis. Or you can take insights from a rather more accurate source: your email provider.
How often do visitors share your content and on what platforms? How much do they respond?
#9 – Social Shares:
The type of content people “like” or share on any social media platform, outlines their personality in front of friends and followers. It goes without saying that they share things which they find valuable and useful, or simply “relatable”; sums up to high-quality content.
If your content is getting noticeable or rather a good amount of likes and shares; give a pat on the back to yourself! It simply means that users find your content enjoyable and convincing enough to vouch for it and recommend it to other people as well. If they recommend you, they trust you.
You wouldn’t want to ignore this metric to monitor the performance of your content on various social media platforms because it comes off as an evidence directly from your audience.
Keep track of what type of content is getting more shares, likes or tweets. Find out your best performing content and set benchmarks for any new content you create. You can deliver better when you know what your readers fancy.
The easiest approach to measuring the likes, and tweets etc, is using social media management tools like Buffer, which automatically gathers all the data for you. Alternative tools: BuzzSumo, SharedCount (it’s free!)
#10 – Comments:
Every content marketer knows getting readers to comment is a tough row to hoe. It is much bigger of a deal to them than a share or a like, as it represents genuine interest and commitment.
Tracking the number of incoming comments is a great metric to measure whether your content is engaging enough or not. Getting a comment on your post is a downright confirmation that the reader not only went through the whole thing but also found it moving or impactful enough to take action.
So, write this number down once in a while, and be regular about it!
[Tip: you should be careful about how to respond to the comments; both positive and negative. The way you respond to them and how frequently you do can highly affect your image among your audience. You should keep an open mind to all views and opinions as it will make you understand a reader’s perspective and problems faced by them and what they really expect of you.]
When competition is so fierce and at an all-time high, you must track your content marketing performance to stay ahead.(and for a reality check as well)
That way, you know whether your efforts are actually bringing in some fruitful returns or just eating up your time and resources. It gives you chance to improve and step your game up a notch.
These metrics are nothing but feedbacks using unbiased numbers. And as Ken Blanchard once said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” So, pick the metrics you find most relevant to your business and get going on the road to success.
What metrics do you use to measure your content marketing performance? Is there any metric you particularly like and feel that should’ve been included? Let us know in the comments section. We love to hear from you.