Tracking your content marketing performance is a serious business.
According to Content Marketing Institute, at least 5 out of 10 marketers are either unaware or unsure if the effectiveness of their content marketing strategy.
Even though content marketing itself isn’t ‘measurable’, you can actually measure the ROI of your content.
But how do you know if your content marketing strategy has been effective?
Looking At The Playing Field
There are of course a number of soft content marketing metrics. These include things like page views and shares, but these methods don’t actually dig very deep into the data and aren’t a great indicator of how your campaign is actually doing.
In fact, many content marketers have a difficult time explaining what a successful content marketing program looks like, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Only 62 percent of those surveyed in a 2017 study said their organization’s overall approach to content marketing was more or somewhat more successful than previous years.
That means that more than a quarter of those surveyed were doing the same or worse than in previous years.
Those who were successful largely attributed it to a well-planned content marketing strategy, and the study showed that those top performers delivered consistently. This comes at a time where the world needs more content.
In fact, 71% of buyers will not make a purchase without consuming relevant content. Let’s be honest, unless you have a breakout brand, no one really cares about your products, so if you don’t create customer-centric content that people find useful, they will be an easy snatch for your competition.
The Metrics To Look At
So, it’s clear that there’s a large audience to aim your content marketing strategies toward, but once you’ve deployed the strategy how do you measure its effectiveness?
There are eight key metrics that any content marketer should be looking at. These will help you answer many of the most important content marketing strategy questions.
Major Metrics first –
Consumption metrics asks a few important questions, including:
- Are people consuming your content?
- How many people are going through your content?
- On which channels are they finding your content?
- Will your content move your readers to act?
- And what are these people’s consumption preferences and general behaviors?
Content marketing experts generally agree you should be using different metrics for different channels.
A blog, for example, would be used to keep track of unique users and page views. In this instance, trends are more important than absolute numbers – what type of content is causing shifts in either direction to your traffic.
Downloadable content like eBooks or white papers you should be concerned with conversions and finalized sales.
If people are paying money you can keep it behind a paywall, but if they don’t seem interested you can make it free and see if it generates more activity.
Google Analytics provides a tool for this. Head to Audience > Overview to get an overview of all you engagement metrics.
It digs into which of your content pieces are being passed on to other users, who exactly is sharing them, how and why they’re being shared, and how often they’re being shared.
Ultimately, people share content because they find it entertaining, informative, or generally useful.
They also really only share content if it makes them look good, so if your content is being shared around the web it should come as a good indication that you’re already producing content your audience is interested in.
If you’re looking to track sharing of blogs, social posts, and sites, the metrics to watch are basically the same. The key here is the social media shares metric.
With a tool like SharedCount, you can look at unified and/or consolidated statistics of the number of times your content was shared across all networks.
That number is provided whether the user shared it directly through their social media channel, liked, or re-shared someone else’s post using a share button on your content, or made use of a meta-sharing option like Buffer.
A good SEO analyzer can also help you track these numbers. Not only it gives you a picture of your social score but keeps you updated on stats like keyword analysis, page ranking etc.
Meanwhile, look at how the content is supporting lead generation and lead nurturing. These are meant to help you measure activity mid-way through the sales funnel. They allow you to determine which leads in your marketing automation system came from which specific pieces of content.
Forget what they say about traffic being a vanity measure. It is important that you get eyes on your content.
You can track your organic clicks with Google search console. This tool helps you to keep track of your overall traffic movement (rise, drops, and spikes).
You can also use a tool to set up an automated report that will track your specific keywords or you can do it manually with an incognito window.
Once you have these, you can easily spot your best lead sources, analyze the differences in campaigns and know what to prioritize.
Looks at how your content influences sales results, in which ways your content drives revenue, and how your content interacts with the sales pipeline.
Of course, Google Analytics helps track these numbers. On the Analytics site simply navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All pages and enable eCommerce.
From here, the Page Value column will show you the average value for a page visited by the user before they completed an eCommerce transaction.
This helps generate a general picture of what pages are contributing the most to your site’s overall revenue.
It’s important to note that this only tracks conversions that happen during a session. Content marketing is rarely ever that simple.
Say a visitor reads a blog post located through a Google search, then they leave the site to do some comparison shopping and a bit of research, and finally return to your site a day later to make the final purchase.
To measure activity like that you’ll need a more robust tool.
Fortunately, Google Analytics has a feature called Assisted Conversions. This measures the number of conversions that the entire channel assisted in making, through any point along the consumer’s journey.
Simply go to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions and click on a channel.
Then look at the Lead or Click Direct Conversion Value column to get a picture of how much money has been generated either directly or indirectly.
Let’s look at the minor metrics now –
Consumption, Sharing, Lead, and Sales metrics make up the bulk of where you’ll want to direct your energy. But there are a few more metrics that are at least important to consider.
You should also be aware of your retention metrics, engagement metrics, production metrics, and cost metrics to get a fully holistic view of your return on investment (ROI).
This is important for determining the return on your investment. If you don’t know your overall content marketing costs it’s going to be impossible to measure how much profit your making.
You should be looking at your overall costs, your costs per piece, and your cost per creative resource. This can usually be measured with a simple Excel or Google spreadsheet.
These measure how effective you are at holding a visitor’s attention past the initial point of contact.
Keep track of the number of opt-outs on your subscriber’s list.
Use Google Analytics users flow report option to understand why your visitors are leaving.
The longer your audience stays on a page, the better this metric will be and the higher likelihood you have of turning that page view into a conversion.
This metric interacts with the consumption and sharing metrics and looks at how they translate into engagement. Essentially, whether your content encourages users to take some sort of action.
It also looks at what type of action they’re taking and how frequently or consistently they are taking that action.
How do you measure users’ engagement?
From your dashboard, track the types of comments that your readers are posting and see which type of content generates the best comments.
Other ways to check engagement metrics include monitoring pages per session, click-through rate, and social media engagements.
These are used to measure and assess your team or an individual’s performance.
If you’re working alone this may just be a measure of yourself. But it’s important to look at exactly how you, your co-worker, or your whole team is performing against the deadlines, goals, and targets you have set.
How long does it take for your team to turn an idea into publishable content? How much content is published at regular intervals? And how much time is being wasted through various time-suckers?
Knowing which metrics to look for is important, but it’s a moot point if you don’t have the right tools to dig into the data.
By keeping track of how much money is going out versus how much is coming in, you can ensure your business continues to thrive for as long as you’re willing to invest in it.
– Post by Roberto Garvin at Mofluid