Creating content can be hard enough, but figuring out how to measure content marketing efforts adds another layer of pressure for marketers.
If you feel this way, you’re not alone. According to Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) content marketing research, 33% of B2B marketers and 41% of B2C marketers cited the inability to measure as a significant challenge.
Some may even bypass measurement all together — which is one of the 7 ways we see B2B companies doing content marketing wrong.
But it doesn’t have to be so daunting.
There are steps you can take to determine the metrics that matter to your business and create a plan to measure them.
Making a plan to measure content marketing
Your plan to measure content marketing effectiveness should outline the following:
- The marketing or business goals you are looking to achieve
- The metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure success or progress
- How you will gather this information
- Who owns collecting, reporting and interpreting the data
Ultimately, your content measurement plan needs to answer two questions:
- Do these metrics align with my goals?
- Can I use insights from these metrics to evaluate and make decisions?
One set of metrics will not necessarily work for every business, campaign or initiative. Take the specifics of each into account when answering these questions.
Additionally, content marketing shouldn’t live in a silo; it should align with other marketing and sales initiatives and can even help with recruiting, internal training and public relations. Your measurement plan may need to take cross-departmental goals and metrics into account as well.
With a good plan, content creators can show how their work impacts the business.
Content marketing metrics, by goal
Metrics can be grouped into several categories, based on the goals they measure. We’ll look at four of these goals and the best content marketing metrics to measure for each.
Goal #1: Brand Awareness
The ultimate goal of content marketing is action, but there are still metrics that align with the awareness phase of the buyer journey and indicate you are on the right path.
Metric: Web traffic
Google Analytics provides a host of details about your website and landing pages. A few key places to look and make note of trends include:
- Traffic report – which pages are getting the most visitors
- Landing pages report – which pages visitors are landing on first
- Navigation summary – a “before and after,” showing how visitors arrive at a content page and where they go next
- Referral traffic – where traffic is coming from
Pages with a lot of traffic aren’t effective by default. Review these pages to make sure they are on-brand, on-message and contain actionable offers.
Metric: SEO performance
Measuring SEO performance comes down to higher ranking and more impressions in search results. Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) ranking is one way to measure this. If your position improves by moving closer to the top of page one — or stays the same, if it already ranks highly — it is an indicator of success for that keyword or phrase.
Google Search Console and other tools can assist with this process.
Qualitative SEO measurements can also include appearing in call-out answer boxes and gaining inbound links to your content.
Metric: Domain Authority
Domain Authority (DA) is important because it contributes to search and content performance and supports a thought leadership position.
Developed by Moz, DA is a search engine ranking score that predicts how well a website will rank on SERPs. A DA score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.
DA scores can improve when high-authority sites link to your content. There isn’t a target DA score, but one that improves and/or ranks higher than your competitors is a good indicator.
Goal #2: Engagement
As prospects move further along the buyer journey, engagement indicators show how they are interacting with your content and responding well to the messages you’re sharing.
Again, Google Analytics can provide key insights into site engagement. Through pages per session, average session duration metrics and bounce rate, you can better understand how long visitors are spending on your site and what content is keeping them engaged.
According to this Brandpoint infographic, the average reader spends 37 seconds reading a blog post. The longer they spend clicking around your site and reading content, the better.
Metric: Social media engagement
Social media is another way to drive engagement with your content — and the community you’re building online.
Engagement metrics on the channels themselves, such as likes or follows, shares and comments, can indicate which content is resonating with your audiences. You can also track the referral traffic from social media sites through Google Analytics to see how individual platforms are impacting your page views.
Goal #3: Lead Generation
Leads indicate that a prospect is becoming more serious about learning about your company and its products or services.
Conversion metrics track the valuable actions visitors take. You can track numbers of actions taken, such as:
- form completions
- content downloads
- blog or email subscriptions
- event registrations
and see how content played a role by reviewing the pages they visited prior to taking that action.
The conversion percentage (number of conversions divided by the number of page views) is also useful. The higher the conversion percentage, the more likely a visitor to that page converts. These pages should be shared and promoted more frequently. (CMI)
Metric: Number and quality of leads
As Optinmonster says, “great content attracts an audience, and an audience can generate leads.”
Tracking both the number of prospects interested in doing business with you and how you are nurturing them from marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads helps validate your content efforts.
There are actions that user take that can identify that they are a quality lead:
- Engaging with a “lead magnet” like a download, subscription or other offer
- Contacting your sales team prior to purchase
- Reading or watching multiple resources within the sales funnel
Gaining access to your customer relationship management (CRM) system is important so you know where each lead comes from and whether they convert. Identify which actions turn people into leads for your business and incorporate them into your content marketing tactics.
Goal #4: Sales
Metric: Online sales
If you have an ecommerce site, you can use Google Analytics to determine Page Value, the average value for a page a user visits before making a transaction. This information can show which content pages contribute to the site’s revenue.
We know people don’t always read an article and immediate move to purchase. For tracking non-linear conversions, look at Assisted Conversions. These measure the number of conversions that a channel (such as paid ads or organic search) assisted with, at any point along the customer’s journey. (Optinmonster)
Metric: Offline sales
It is challenging to connect offline sales to content marketing but not impossible. It requires dedicated use of a CRM system and unique URLs to attribute actions to outcomes. Systems can track which pieces of content prospects consumed before closing a deal, and you can add a value to each component and track it over time.
When it comes to achieving your content marketing goals, it’s important to remember content is the means, not the end.
Content marketing metrics give you the data you need to better understand what’s working and what isn’t. With these insights, you can take action that will make a difference.
Need help with content marketing metrics? We’re here.
If you need help determining the direction of your content marketing strategy, selecting the right content metrics to measure or creating content to meet your goals, you’ve come to the right place!
Contact us to discuss your content marketing needs.