Content marketing has become an indispensable part of any company’s marketing strategy. In fact, 92% of marketers view content as a business asset, and 56% say they want to beef up their content creation budget for 2020 and beyond. With this in mind, there’s no escaping the fact that you need to continually refine and perfect your content marketing strategies to ensure success.
The most reasonable way to do this is to continually track, analyse, and optimise your content’s performance. By doing so, you’ll be able to review your performance year after year and identify which channels are the strongest and which are underperforming, as well as spot more opportunities to outdo your industry rivals, to mention a few.
However, not all metrics are equal. You don’t need to waste your resources on vanity metrics that may not have any real impact on your business’ bottom line. In this article, you’ll find out the key content marketing metrics that you should be paying attention to.
A. Consumption Metrics
Consumption metrics deals with how people have accessed and consumed your content. It is critical to track consumption metrics if brand awareness is one of your primary content marketing goals.
- Unique Pageviews
This metric combines pageviews generated by the same user in a single session, giving insight on the total number of sessions a specific page was viewed. You can easily filter this metric in Google Analytics.
Counting pageviews is an essential metric since it allows you to track web traffic. Unique pageviews will filter out any page refreshes or multiple views from the same user, giving you an accurate snapshot of the amount of traffic you’re racking in.
You want a number that reflects closest to the real thing so you can also gain an idea as to how many people your content is reaching. This also allows you to peek into the mind of your audience. If many people are looking at your content, it’s a sign you’re doing things right.
Where are you getting your traffic from? Knowing the specific channels where most of your visitors accessed your content from can help you identify where to focus your promotional efforts. When you know which platforms drive the most traffic, you can create customised content for that platform to further boost engagement.
Consequently, you can also study the channels where you could be underperforming and devise strategies on how you can improve your presence there.
Nowadays, social media sites are a popular distribution channel for different kinds of posts, whether it’s multimedia graphics or articles. However, some types of content tend to work better on a specific channel. For instance, highly visual content performs well in Pinterest, while article shares do well on Facebook.
- Email Open Rate
Email newsletters are still an effective way to get your content to your desired audience. Open rates signify the percentage of people who opened your email in your campaign list.
Measuring your email open rates will allow you to see if your subject lines are engaging and compelling enough to arouse the curiosity of your email recipients. This is an excellent way to gauge which subject lines work and which don’t, thus giving you pointers on how to optimise them accordingly. You can segment your email campaigns to examine further which subject lines are effective for which mailing list.
- Click-through Rate
Click-through rates are the number of times your readers click on the links, offers, or content in your email, redirecting them to another part of your website. This can clue you in on how effective your copy is in enticing your audience to click the link.
Tip: Google Analytics allows you to add segments on the reporting tool so you can split out and compare particular types of traffic. This is a more helpful view for generating reports or comparing the overall performance of your website.
B. Engagement Metrics
Engagement metrics can paint a clearer picture of how your audience is interacting with your content. Think of this as brand interest for the content you’re putting out.
- Average time on page
How long do visitors spend time on your posts? This metric computes the average time your readers stayed on a specific page. When comparing blog posts during your analysis, it’s vital to note which posts your audience spent more time on versus those that they quickly skimmed through and exited.
This metric can give you an idea of what content your audience is expecting you to produce. Ideally, you should write more about what your readers spend more time reading. If you notice that the time spent on your pieces are too low, you should be reevaluating your content. Having a user exit merely seconds after clicking on your post could mean they didn’t find what they were looking for, or that your post may not be as engaging as they expect.
- Pages per Session
The pages per session metric indicate the total number of webpages a single user visited while they were browsing through your site. This metric shows how effective your internal linking is and if your website’s navigation is optimal.
You’ll want to monitor pages per session because it is a tell-tale sign of whether or not your visitors are engaging with your site by checking out one page of your website to the next. Remember, the more engaged visitors are, the longer they stay in your site and the higher the chances of converting.
If your pages per session are low, you might want to evaluate your site’s navigational elements such as its menu bar, search bar, and related content widgets, to name a few. Are these elements easy to use? Are the pages of your site easy to access? Are your articles linking to one another? If not, it may be time to optimise.
- Referral Traffic
Referral traffic is site visits that are from other sources besides search engines, such as social media sites, email newsletters, banner ads, and affiliate links from guest blogs, to name a few. This metric gives you a better idea of where your traffic is coming from other than organic traffic. Once you’ve identified these sources, check which garnered high referral traffic and focus on distributing your content in those places.
- Social Shares
This covers Facebook shares, retweets, repins, reblogs, and any other social share metric action that a specific channel allows for a particular piece of content. Each social media channel has its analytics dashboards or counters to measure the number of times a piece of content was shared across each platform. You can use this metric to gauge which content resonates most with your target audience on your respective social media channels to help strategise your future content accordingly.
- Email Forwards
You can also keep track of the number of times your readers clicked the forward button on your email campaigns. This indicates that they find your message worth sharing or relevant to other people in their social circles, and so they’re helping spread the word.
Tip: It’s easier to stack up engagement metrics using a tool that can read data from all your social accounts versus having to look them up manually. Some examples of helpful tools are Buffer, Buzzsumo, and Brand24.
C. Lead Generation Metrics
Lead generation metrics determine how effective your current strategies are in transforming website visitors to leads. This can be another form of checking to see how much you can actually hook your reader’s interests, so they convert.
- Email Opt-In Rates
How many of your readers feel they can get valuable content from you on a personal channel? Email newsletter opt-ins indicate that your website visitors think your content is worthy enough for them to give a time of their day. Monitoring your email opt-in rate is an excellent way to assess how well-placed or compelling your website CTAs are that you were able to get readers to opt-in to your emails.
- Form Completion and Downloads
This metric illustrates how many times your forms have been completed and how many times visitors provided their details in exchange for permissions to download a gated piece of content. This is one of the most critical metrics to track since it tells you if your forms are effective in gathering your leads’ contact information.
For instance, if you notice that your landing pages have high page views, but the completion rate is low, you have right to suspect that there might be an error in your forms, or that your forms are too long and complicated that visitors don’t bother filling it out.
Try to troubleshoot it to spot any broken formulas or considering simplifying it by only asking for critical information such as the name, position, and contact information.
- Goal Conversion Rate
Your goal conversion rate is synonymous with your average total conversion rate. You can calculate this by dividing the total number of goal completions by the total number of sessions.
Tip: Lead generation is one of the highest priorities for content marketers since this is the first step to closing a sales deal. In this stage, you want to have wider margins in your success rate. Create reports in tracking critical metrics for lead generation and devise more ways to attract attention to your brand. If you’re doing well with your lead generation efforts, the rest will follow through much more smoothly.
D. Sales Metric
This metric assesses the performance of your sales funnel, i.e., how well you’re encouraging your users to move along their buyer’s journey through your content marketing efforts. Since it’s every business’s goal to sell, you’d want to keep an eye on your performance in this area.
- Assisted Conversions
Assisted conversions measure any interaction besides the last click that led your consumer to convert on your website successfully. It’s also important to check which actions your users are making right before they make a transaction.
In Google Analytics, you can view your assisted conversions based on your content goal, whether it’s lead generation or a purchase. This way, you can see the value of your content, assisting in successful conversions.
Tip: Visualise your sales funnel in your reports. Match the necessary metric to the correct part in the sales funnel to view the progress of each. From here, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture of your buyers’ journey and see the percentage drop off at each stage of the conversion. You can also then create content targeted to that particular stage of the funnel and beef up your efforts.
E. Retention Metrics
Retention metrics track how well the content you create can capture and hold the attention of your visitors. This metric can also help analyse how many users come back to read your posts and how often they come back.
- Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that exit your website after just visiting one page. This means they didn’t navigate to other parts of your site. High bounce rates are usually a sign that your audience is confused with your website layout, your internal links aren’t compelling, or that you aren’t creating content that’s nice enough for them to stick around.
Google Analytics allows you to dig deeper into your visitors’ behaviour, making it easy to check the entry and exit points of a user on the page.
- Percentage of New vs. Returning Visitors
In Google Analytics, it’s possible to check the type of visitor that viewed your page. If the percentage of returning visitors is higher than those tagged as new, then that means your content is doing an excellent job of building loyal readers.
The number of people who unsubscribe from your email lists or blogs shows how well your content is being received by your email recipients. Ideally, you want to keep this number low. If too many people opt-out of your content, this could mean there’s a disconnect between their expectation of the material that you produce and what you actually make.
Tip: Along with consumption metrics, retention metrics are a great way to better understand the behaviour and trends of your web visitors on your site. If you notice that specific pages have high bounce rates or your content suffers from higher opt-out rates after releasing a particular kind of content, then that could mean that it’s time to reevaluate what you’re putting out on your website.
Keep Tabs on Metrics that Matter
Just like any digital marketing strategy, content marketing won’t be as effective if you don’t continually experiment with your strategy.
Google Analytics is probably your best bet in keeping track of these metrics that matter for your bottom line. It’s free, and it works with many other tools that support your business in creating an active digital presence. Besides measuring your website performance, it’s also helpful to have a social media tracker than can summarise how well your social channels are doing.
By looking at the relevant numbers and clearly identifying your goals, you’ll be able to point out both your strong and weak links. This will give you an idea of what tactics you should keep on doing, as well as areas you should improve on, for a more well-rounded strategy. Ultimately, deciding which metrics to track and analyse comes down to what your content marketing goals are.