Effective Metrics to Measure Content Marketing Success

How to Measure Content Marketing Success

how to measure content marketing success

Online marketing has evolved quite a bit since Google released its landmark Zero Moment of Truth study in 2011, proving and defining the discovery and awareness stage of the customer journey.

As marketers flocked to chase sales back then, they soon found it wasn’t enough to simply create content. They needed to create relevant content, targeted to the right audience, deployed at an optimum frequency. And in order to know if your content is accomplishing its objectives, you need to track how your target audience is responding and engaging with it.

Tracking the right key performance indicators for content marketing

With so much information available today, content marketers can find themselves buried under an avalanche of metrics. Instead of improving productivity, trying to process everything can feel a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose.

A much better strategy is to concentrate on the relevant, actionable, and easy-to-measure stats that matter most to your business. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

Content marketing objectives

content marketing goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-boundBefore you begin any strategy, first define your objectives and be sure everyone on your team — including your stakeholders — agrees on the end result. It’s fine if team members introduce additional goals, but everyone should agree on the order of priority for all objectives before crafting your strategy.

Valid objectives include increasing website traffic, growing your email list, converting visitors to leads, or leads to customers. Newer companies may need to focus on growing brand awareness and building authority. More seasoned businesses may want to focus on customer retention or increasing conversions.

Whatever your objectives are, it’s a good idea to make sure your goals are SMART, which stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

If you make your goals too general, whether you have accomplished them is open to interpretation. A vague goal, such as “increase website traffic,” is hard to quantify. A specific goal, such as “increase blog page views 25% by September 31,” is objective and easy to agree on.

Setting clear goals also helps you determine what kind of content to produce and how frequently you should post it. It also allows you to use key performance indicators for content marketing to determine whether your current strategy is on track to achieve your goals or if you will need to make changes.

General areas for content marketing metrics

There are three general areas content marketing metrics touch on:

  • User behavior
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Sales and conversions

Although conversion is an important end-goal for all businesses, you need to have a sense of the big picture if you want to maximize your content marketing ROI. Knowing your industry benchmarks can also give you a good idea of what’s realistic for your company.

How to measure content marketing: User behavior

79% of top-performing marketers79% of top-performing marketers consider knowing their audience the biggest factor for successful campaigns. consider knowing their audience to be the biggest factor for successful campaigns. And the best way to get to know your audience is by studying their actions.

This includes:

  • Engagement metrics
    Are your visitors commenting on your content? Exploring other posts? Or even sharing or backlinking to your work? That’s a high degree of interaction. Visitors share content that reflects well on them, so if your content marketing metrics indicate they’re sharing, it’s a sure sign your content is resonating. Engagement metrics, such as impressions, unique visitors and page views, are also an excellent way to see if you’re increasing your brand awareness.
  • Impressions and click-through rate
    If you have a high number of impressions but a low click-through rate (CTR), try changing the post title or description.
  • Time on page and return visitors
    But if your content marketing metrics show non-interaction, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your post has fallen flat. If your visitors are spending a fair amount of time on lengthier posts or returning again and again to view content, it may indicate your content has resonated more deeply. If those visits correlate with increased conversions, it’s a good sign your content has touched on something relevant.
  • Traffic sources
    When you get qualified traffic, take the time to find out where they came from. A platform such as Google Analytics can give you information on sessions by source. It will also allow you to track which particular pieces of content perform well with a specific demographic. Likewise, if your content marketing metrics show unqualified traffic from a particular source, try tweaking your title or description to see if you can reduce or eliminate confusion.
  • Bounce rate
    Although bounce rate is an important metric, it doesn’t always mean your content isn’t working. There can be many reasons why visitors leave your website shortly after clicking. If your content marketing metrics show a high bounce rate on a specific piece of content, do a little troubleshooting. Check to make sure the page doesn’t have technical issues. If everything seems ok, try adjusting your CTA or examining the post through the lens of a visitor. If your content is very short, they may also be consuming it as expected and moving on quickly.
  • Exit pages
    If visitors are consistently leaving on the same page, you may need to improve your page’s call to action (CTA) or add more internal site links to keep visitors engaged.

How to measure content marketing: Search Engine Optimization

Is improving SEO your goal? One of the best ways to do that is establish your business as an industry leader. Two content marketing metrics that can show how well that’s working are Domain Authority and Page Authority. Page authority is a prediction of how well your website page will perform in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), while Domain Authority reflects the overall authority of the entire website. Page Authority can benefit from tweaking, but Domain Authority is an aggregate score that reflects changes over a longer term.

The wonderful thing about content marketing is creating posts and pages that perform well with your target audience will both increase organic traffic and build your company’s reputation as an industry leader.

How to measure content marketing: Sales and conversions

At the end of the day, all strategies’ eventual goal is to increase sales. But success in your sales goals can be measures in different ways, including:

  • Click-through-rate
    When your content is working optimally, your potential customers are clicking through to answer your CTA. Whether that click results in joining your email list, subscribing, making a direct sale or something else depends on your goal.
  • Requests for information
    If your potential customers are reaching out to you for more information, your content is working.
  • Shorter sales cycles
    Customers will come to you from various phases of their buyer’s journey. If your content helped them get further down the path, it will take less time before they’re ready to buy.

Essential technology for content marketing metrics

Executives who use an effective Content Management Dashboard help create a rewarding work environment that gives their teams more room for creativity and experimentation and improves their chance of marketing success, according to Hubspot.

There are a variety of dashboards to choose from — and they can be customized to give you the right metrics at a glance. Having key content marketing metrics together in one place simplifies your team’s efforts and allows everyone to stay on the same page as you adjust your strategy.

Ideal dashboards contain only five to nine KPIs, so your team can focus on the areas that mean the most to your company and help make your content marketing metrics more accessible.

Putting content marketing metrics to work for you

Content marketing is some of the most affordable and cost-effective marketing available. But it takes more than just creating content and putting it out into the void. Marketers need to clearly define their goals, create a plan, and carefully monitor the results of their work. Thankfully, there area wide variety of metrics to choose from that can help you reach your marketing goals.

Content marketing in the wild

Content marketing can seem abstract, and having concrete, real-world examples can help you better understand the kind of results you can get from a solid campaign. Take a look at some of our case studies to see what happens when a marketing agency applies 25+ years of marketing experience to help clients achieve their goals.