Content marketing can be daunting because it doesn’t necessarily result in direct, tangible results. By defining and tracking essential metrics, however, content marketing can become a great indicator of the success of your online presence.
Content marketing often doesn’t result directly in leads and sales, making it difficult to fully understand your reach and the importance of your efforts. Indeed, many companies fall into this trap, declaring their content marketing efforts a failure when they do not appear to be yielding conversions. But by monitoring key metrics, you can gather a complete picture of how people are responding to content on your website, email campaigns, and social media.
In order to help you understand the value of your content marketing efforts, we’ve compiled the 31 metrics that actually matter. These metrics will help you assess both how consumers are responding to the content you’ve published, and how to improve your content to better reflect your brand and encourage engagement with your products or services.
1. Page Views: How many people are visiting the pages on your website? Knowing this number will help you to understand which pages are attracting the most visitors, and therefore what types of content are most successful.
2. Visits/Sessions: Visits are “sessionized” into 30-minute segments, meaning that one visitor can engage with multiple pages on the site over that period. Visits are a useful metric to compare engagement with your site from different sources, such as via search engines or social media.
3. Unique Visitors: In contrast to measuring the number of page views or visits you’ve received, measuring the number of unique visitors will aim to sessionize that data according to individual user metrics, reflecting the size of the audience viewing your website and providing an estimate as to the actual number of people on your site.
4. Return Rate: Measuring the number of people (unique visitors) who return to your site will offer insight into how successful your content is as a whole and provide insight into brand loyalty.
5. Average Time on a Page: Are visitors skimming your content, or are they actually consuming it? The more time people spend on your website or on a specific page, the more engaged they are. These people will be more likely to respond to a call-to-action.
6. Bounce Rate: When people land on your page, do they read your content and leave, or do they stay and visit additional pages? This measurement will help you judge whether people are interested in more than one piece of content you’ve produced.
7. Pages Per Visit: Considering how many pages individual users are viewing on your website each time they visit and how deeply they delve into your site will help you determine each user’s level of engagement.
8. Asset Downloads/Form Completion: If people are filling out forms and downloading content from your website, you have a more engaged audience, which is a great indicator that your content is doing its job.
9. Session Duration: How much time are people spending on your site? What pages are they looking at? Are there some pieces of content that people are devoting more time to than others?
10. Funnel Conversion Rate: Perhaps a particular content piece has proven to draw more leads than others. Which piece helped funnel the most leads deeper into your site?
11. Revenue Influenced: Through this metric, you’ll be able to tell exactly what content helped generate and reel in leads, and how many pieces of content were consumed before the deal was closed.
12. New Leads Generated: By tracking your visitors, you can often see if there’s a particular piece of content, or even a specific type of content, that’s drawing new leads.
13. Conversion Rate: When you post a call-to-action, measure how many website visitors respond, to what content most people responded, and whether that type of content tends to compel more action than others.
Social Media Metrics:
14. Followers: How many people follow your page, and therefore see your content on a regular basis?
15. Shares: Measuring the number of shares per content piece will help you see both how many social media users are engaged with your content, and what content pieces resonate most with users.
16. Likes: Similar to shares, keeping track of the number of likes a particular piece of content receives will help you pinpoint what types of content are most successful.
17. Content Click Throughs: Which of your content pieces drew people to your website? Tools like bit.ly help measure how many users click the links on your post.
18. Conversion Rate: When you post a call-to-action, how many visitors respond? What types of calls do social media users respond to?
19. Reputation: What people say about your business online is becoming increasingly important. Engaging with reputation marketing platforms will help you monitor your online reviews, and respond appropriately.
20. Comments on Your Posts: When people comment on your content, they are engaged and interested in what you’re sharing. Engaged followers mean more potential traffic to your social media pages, and hopefully your website.
21. Feed Subscribers: Like measuring your email subscribers, monitoring how many people subscribe to your feed helps you measure what content is attracting more eyes.
22. WHO is Sharing Your Content?: Carefully monitor and track who is sharing your content. Are other industry experts retweeting your articles? What are people saying about your content on the sharer’s page?
23. Distribution Costs Per Post: Measuring your reach and the metrics that come with promoting posts on social media platforms can provide important insights. When your posts are sponsored and have a wider reach, are more people engaging with them? What type of content is more compelling to your audience?
24. Referral Tracking: There are programs available that will keep track of the people who link to you online, and where their links lead. Who is linking to you, and is there a particular piece of content that is receiving more linkbacks than others?
25. Subscribers: Monitoring the size of your email list helps measure how many people are interested in the content you’re publishing. These subscribers have “opted in” to receiving messages from you, which is extremely valuable.
26. Opens: Just because they’re subscribed, however, doesn’t meant they’re engaged. Keeping track of how many of your subscribers are opening your email will give you an idea of what content draws the most eyes, what time works best for sending emails, and what subject lines are most engaging.
27. Clicks: Which of your links are the most clickable, and which content piece is most popular? Keeping track over time will help you understand what type of content is most engaging, and how many people are clicking through to your website.
28. Un-subscribers/Opt-outs: This metric helps track retention. If people are unsubscribing from your newsletter, it’s probably time to rethink the content you’re publishing.
29. Forwards: Though this particular metric can be difficult to measure, if people use the “Forward to a Friend” button on your email campaigns, you can track the number of people who are actively engaging with your content.
30. Shares: Are people sharing your emails on social media? Email marketing platforms such as Emma and Constant Contact are fitted with an option that will allow your audience to share your content on their social media page.
31. Response to Calls to Action: If you ask your subscribers to do something — either fill out a form, contact you, or click through to your website — and they do it, take note of what types of content are encouraging the action, and use it to your advantage in the future!
Establishing a content marketing strategy that will yield the maximum reach and engagement can be challenging. With a holistic approach that integrates these 31 essential metrics, you’ll be better equipped to gauge — and increase — your success.