Content marketing is the fuel that drives your inbound marketing activities. But it's worthless if you're not able to prove whether it's contributing to your overall marketing goals. Without measuring the efficacy and performance of your content, you're running the risk of wasting valuable resources and putting effort into content that falls flat.
For many businesses and digital marketers, understanding how to measure their content marketing is challenging. It's easy to fall into the habit of pumping out a blog post, email marketing campaign or launch a new eBook and then just let it be, and never revisit it to check on performance. This lapse in follow-up can often be attributed to a lack of understanding and insight into which metrics to measure, and how to measure them.
However, without measuring the numbers you won’t have the insights to prove the ROI of your content. Naturally, this will affect the effectiveness of any arguments you might make for marketing budget increases down the line.
Monitoring and measuring your content marketing doesn't have to be a chore, though. Let's take a look at a few of the most critical content marketing metrics that shouldn't be missing from your content marketing strategy.
Winning at content marketing metric measurement with these five specific metrics
1) Consumption and retention metrics indicates how your audience is engaging with your content
Do your visitors keep coming back for more? Paying attention to how your website and blog are performing is the key to spotting areas for improvement and what is working well.
By using Google Analytics, you can gauge your content's efficacy by measuring:
- Page views. This metric indicates which of your content pages are being readily consumed, and how many of them are being viewed.
- The size of your audience and how many of them visit your website and blog repeatedly, can be covered when looking at your user metrics.
- Average time spent on page. How much time are users spending on your content pages? Do they take their time, or do they skip on to something else very quickly?
- Bounce rate. If your website pages or blogs have high bounce rates, it's an indication that your audience is not finding what they're looking for when arriving on your pages.
- Returning vs new visitors. Ideally, you should have a healthy balance between your returning and new visitors. If the balance leans more to one side or the other, it can indicate your content might not be performing optimally. For example, if your returning visitors metric is low, it shows you're receiving new visitors to your website and content, but you're not keeping them interested. And you can gauge you aren't doing enough to draw new visitors to your site, if your new visitor metrics is lower than your returning visitor metrics.
2) Sharing metrics tells you how much your audience enjoys and values your content
If your content is on point, your target audience might share it with their followers and friends on social media, which increases your brand and content reach. People tend to share content they deem useful, informative or entertaining. If your sharing metrics are looking good, it's an excellent indication of your content's performance.
One of the most important metrics to track regarding sharing is the number of social media shares your content has gathered. Your all-in-one marketing tool like HubSpot can analyse your social media and take note of performance and shares. Or you can use a tool like SharedCount, which gives you a consolidated shares statistic across all your channels.
3) Your engagement metrics give you insight into exactly what worked for your audience
Understanding your content's engagement metrics makes it possible for you to plan new campaigns or content with insight of what works for your target audience. Some indications of engagement are:
- Whether they're on social media or your blog pages, comments show what your target audience thinks of your content. They show a willingness to engage with your content and share opinions on it. It's a good idea to keep an eye on your audience's interactions and reactions through the comments.
- Session duration. In Google Analytics, session duration shows how much time your users are spending on your website.
- Page depth and user flow. Page depth shows you how many pages your users are visiting per session, while user flow shows the paths they take when visiting your website.
Using Google Analytics, you can gather data on both to help you gain insight into your content and how your users are interacting with it.
4) Lead metrics prove your content’s ability to generate leads and progress leads through the sales funnel
One of the most important features of content is its ability to generate leads for your business. If your content is performing well, meeting the needs of your buyer personas, you’ll see a steady stream of leads. If you do not see leads, it could mean that your content is not correctly targeted for your personas.
To measure your content's efficacy in generating leads, you should look at answering the following:
- How many leads has a particular piece of content generated?
- Which pieces of content helped move your visitor further along the buyer's journey?
- Regarding the inbound marketing methodology stages of attract, convert, close and delight, which stages are lacking in sufficient content?
Look to your conversion rates on your content and forms to gauge how your content is performing. If you find you lack content tailored to a particular stage of the buyer's journey, then create a new piece of content to address the buyer’s needs.
5) Your cost metrics are how you prove ROI of your content marketing strategy
Understanding the costs of creating content is critical because if you're putting out content that isn't performing well, you've wasted valuable resources without seeing any ROI. You can look at the percentage of sales and revenue influenced by your content, along with the percentage generated by your content to get an idea of your content's worth. Look at the conversion rates on your content, and how often those leads become customers.
Measuring your content marketing is important to ensure you see the right returns for your effort, and ultimately generate qualified leads that result in sales and revenue.
Remember that your content doesn't purely consist of your blogs or eBooks, but also your social posts and website as well as any other material your business chooses to release, like webinars and apps. If you want to know more about building out a content marketing strategy that’ll prove worth, check out our ultimate checklist for business growth.