6 Important Metrics When Measuring Content Marketing Effective
Content marketing is a tactic used across industries to create awareness and educate audiences, but many organizations are still figuring out how to measure the real success.
According to a 2020 study, 80% of promising respondents use metrics to measure performance. But that number drops to 65% when asked if they have KPIs to measure performance and even to 43% when asked if they measure content marketing ROI.
As any marketer will tell you, the time and resources needed to drive success with content marketing are critical. Manufacturing is only part of the puzzle — you need to consider the costs involved in creating the strategy, distributing, and promoting the final product and associated software.
Marketing teams will need to demonstrate resources to create high-quality content. Therefore, having those metrics and being able to measure against set KPIs is crucial.
In this post, I’ll discuss some metrics to help your team demonstrate the value of content marketing. And why goal setting is such an important step in the process.
Web Traffic By Source
For many content marketers, website traffic is an important metric to report time. However, there are a few different ways to look at traffic metrics. If you’re new to measuring content performance, use the Channels report to see where your blog traffic is coming from.
Are users reaching your content organically? Or are they being referred to your content from other sites (ie social)? Probably most users navigate to your blog from the monthly email newsletter. Whatever it is, understand how people are actually accessing your content.
You can also look at traffic metrics in more detail using the Sources/Mediums report in Analytics. Maybe your team has focused on optimizing content for search. Look at organic traffic versus monthly or yearly to measure success.
Instead, the focus is on distributing content on social networks. See how referral traffic has improved over time and/or which channels bring the most users to your site.
[+] Tools to use: Google Analytics / Other Analytics Platforms
[+] How to view: Acquisition > All Traffic > Sources/Media and/or Channels
On their own, user behavior metrics don’t tell you much. However, when combined with other metrics (such as traffic performance), they can provide marketers with directional insights into reader engagement and performance, and content capacity.
I want to track the following metrics in Google Analytics:
- Time on page
- Bounce rate
- Number of pages/session
- New/returning visitors
While these aren’t the ultimate metrics, they can (and should) be used as supporting characters to help tell the story of your content’s performance.
For example, you can determine if a blog post matches searcher’s intent. Based on the fact that it gives the user a natural and they are spending a significant amount of time on the page reading it.
[+] Tools to use: Google Analytics / Other Analytics Platforms
[+] How to view: Behavior > Overview and/or Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
Impressions & CTR
Besides traffic and user behavior, you should track impressions and click-through rates in Google Search Console. This will give you insight into whether the keywords your content is ranking for are actually converting to impressions and clicks in organic search.
It won’t be a complete picture of performance, but it can tell you if your content is doing well (high impressions and CTR). Or whether it needs to be adjusted (low impressions, low CTR, or a combination of both).
In Google Search Console, filter by a specific landing page and then look at the queries associated with that page to really drill down and gauge the content’s performance.
[+] Tool to use: Google Search Console
[+] How to view: Performance > Search Results > Queries
Content Sharing & Backlink
The overarching goal of any content asset is to provide value to the reader. While there’s no single metric that can illustrate this, social shares and backlinks show people’s willingness to share your content with their individual audience. .
Let’s say you have a blog post that has been shared more than 100 times on social media or an infographic curated by some of the top industry publications. These content metrics are important, especially if you have awareness-related goals.
Social Sharing: See how your content resonates with your target audience by seeing how many times it’s been shared on social:
[+] Tools to use: BuzzSumo
[+] How to find: Search by URL (e.g. specific content URL or /blog/), sorted by most shared content.
Backlink: Measures the value of content by how often it is linked to and referenced on other websites and sources:
[+] Tools to use: SEMRush, BuzzSumo & others
[+] How to find: Search by URL > Backlinks
Make sure to track your core keywords and look at rankings monthly. Of course, this requires keyword research to establish the priority keyword targets you’re aiming for. We like to use SEMRush to track keywords for our client programs, but there are plenty of tools out there to use.
Improving ratings is a great way to announce how your content program is doing. Especially if there are competitive, high-value keywords you’re targeting. Showing improvements over time can get stakeholders excited about the progress and want to keep moving forward.
[+] Tools to use: SEMrush, Google Search Console
[+] How to find: (SEMrush) Search by URL & (GSC) Performance > Search Results > Queries
Last, but certainly not least – content marketers need to consider how many leads their content brings in. For many marketers, demonstrating that content drives the goal of attracting and/or nurturing leads is critical to securing a budget.
[+] Tools to use: Google Analytics
[+] How to find it: Conversions > Goals > Overview
The first step to measuring this is to set up goals in Analytics. Common conversion opportunities include requesting a demo, contacting us, and downloading content. Teams can then use Analytics segments to determine how many conversions are coming from the blog or resource center.
Along with the number of conversions and leads brought in through content, with CRM integration, marketers can look at the quality of those leads. Of course, bringing in a certain number of sales or marketing-qualified leads carries more weight when measuring success.
The Importance Of Setting Content Marketing Goals
Your team can look at 100 different metrics related to your latest blog post, new landing page, or recent email campaign. But they don’t really matter unless you have goals to measure performance.
When setting goals for your content marketing program, the most important part is setting reasonable expectations. If you had 1,000 organic visits to your blog in 2017, can you hit 10,000 organic visits in 2018 without increasing your budget? Nothing is impossible, but let’s be real here… it probably won’t happen.
Focus on historical data to find out which goals fit your budget and team. Better yet, set or review these goals with your executive team to make sure you’re on the same page. That way, there aren’t any surprises when it’s time to report quarterly or annually.
Most B2B marketers focus on top goals like brand awareness, education, and reputation building. That doesn’t limit you, though — teams are also finding success using content to generate leads, attract subscribers, drive event attendance, and generate revenue.
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