Let’s say you’ve crafted a glorious infographic or video series that’s been getting a lot of love on the web. Your phone has been buzzing off the hook with comments and shares. Life is good…right? Well not if you don’t know exactly how the content is impacting your bottom line. 

Here’s the thing, measuring your content marketing efforts is paramount in effectively optimizing your content and campaign. What’s working and what isn’t? More importantly, how do you know if it’s working? Understanding all of this is the key to making data-driven decisions and nailing your campaign performance. 

But the truth is, success can take a lot of forms. There’s a plethora of metrics to track and different strategies to try. But there are four basic truths everyone should understand before you can measure success. Once that’s established, there are five key content marketing metrics to watch.  

Check out these resources as you build out your content marketing strategy:

Four Basic Content Marketing Success Truths

1. Start With a Customer-Focused Goal

If you don’t have a goal at the start, there’s no way to tell if what you’re doing is working. You have nothing to measure your efforts. So how do you make quality goals that will help determine your success?

Believe it or not, your first step should not define which metric you want to focus on. This should be a residual effect of a larger goal that is focused on your customers’ needs. The real goal should be something specific, the outcome of your content. Is it reach? Is it clicks? Is it leads? Define your goal first and that will then dictate the metrics to watch.

2. Focus on The Important Metrics

After you’ve established a customer-focused goal, it’s time to focus on quantifiable goals. These will essentially be the measuring stick to see if you’re succeeding in your larger purpose.

But not all quantifiable goals are created equal. “Vanity metrics,” which look good on paper but have trouble proving anything about your ROI, can throw up smoke and mirrors to distract you from your goal. Some vanity metrics include:

  • “Likes” on social media posts
  • Comments
  • Followers
  • Raw pageviews

Meanwhile, there are plenty of genuinely helpful metrics that allow you to make informed decisions about your content marketing strategy. For example:

  • Total page views will tell you which of your headlines are engaging and click-worthy.
  • Total traffic helps show that your content is being found.
  • Engagement time tells you if your content keeps visitors around.
  • Conversions help determine your ROI.

Content marketing entails deciding on a goal and making a strategy to accomplish it. These metrics will help you determine whether or not your strategy is working.

3. Focus On Daily Improvement, Not Mini Successes

Tracking the metrics on one blog post is a sure way to disappoint yourself. Plus, you’re not going to knock it out of the park with every piece of content you produce; some are bound to perform better than others.

Instead, you should focus on those metrics you previously decided on. Ask yourself, “are we doing better today than we were yesterday?” If the answer’s “yes,” then you have no reason to worry.

4. Make Changes Along the Way

Content marketing is not a plug-in-and-play kind of strategy, meaning you can’t expect everything to work flawlessly on the first go around.

For example, say you have a blog post that is underperforming in terms of page views. You don’t just say “better luck next time!” Figure out why no one is seeing it. Are the keywords and meta-data optimized? Is the headline engaging enough to warrant a click? If not, then you should update the blog post until it starts reeling in the results you hoped for.

These metrics help you see what part of your content marketing strategy isn’t working and informs you on what needs to be changed.

Five Specific Content Marketing Metrics to Track

1. Traffic

Sixty-seven percent of companies use organic traffic to measure their content success. Without traffic, there’s no revenue. Understanding where most of your traffic is coming from and the types of content that bring in the most views can help you build a more effective content marketing strategy. 

How to Watch

There are several tools like Google Analytics that provide insight into how much traffic a piece of content is generating for your business. You can also use analytics to look into referral traffic, or where exactly your traffic is coming from. 

2. Engagement

Experiencing a tough crowd? Or are you just killing it with a lot of audience interaction? You can find out how well people are engaging with your content with four key metrics: 

  • Clicks – This illustrates how many times people are clicking onto your links/pages. You can use this to gauge which pages/content piqued people’s interest. 
  • Pages per session – This is the average number of pages viewed during a session on your site. A session is a group of activities performed within a time frame for one user. A high pages per session rate means high engagement.
  • Average session duration – This is the average time users spend time looking at your site/content. The longer they stay, the more interested and engaged they are. 
  • Bounce rate – This is a percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site immediately upon landing on it, rather than continuing to explore. A high bounce rate would indicate low engagement. 

How to Watch

Google Search Console has a “Search Analytics” feature that tracks the number of clicks on each web page. You can also look under Google Analytics’s “Audience” tab for the numbers on pages per session, average session duration, and bounce rate. 

3. Shares

Nearly 50 percent of the world’s population uses social media, so it’s a no-brainer that measuring your social shares is pivotal to your success. A lot of purchase decisions are influenced by peer recommendations and social proof. In fact, 92 percent of online consumers look at a product review before purchasing. 

How to Watch

The majority of social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, have their own built-in analytics system where you can set up campaigns. Other platforms might require using third-party tools like BuzzSumo and Buffer. 

Google Analytics also offers a “Social” feature under the “Acquisitions” tab that illustrates the traffic you’re generating through your social platforms. 

4. Email Clicks & Opens

You’re likely sending out emails to your audience/leads. And if you’re including links to your blog posts, infographics, and videos, you can track how many clicks these pieces of content are generating. It can give your team a sense of how your content is attracting and engaging people. 

You can also use email open rates as a comparative metric, meaning you can compare emails to see which ones performed the best. 

How to Watch

Hubspot allows you to track email clicks and opens. These helpful features are enabled by default in your settings. 

And if you want to really dive deep into the details, you can turn to A/B testing. This allows you to compare two email campaigns to see which one is encouraging the most clicks and opens. Hubspot & Kissmetrics’ A/B Testing Kit and VWO are great tools to get started. 

5. Leads

Stellar content attracts leads, which is why content marketing is crucial for lead generation. Seeing a lot of leads trickle through is exciting but it’s even more exciting (not to mention, helpful and smart) to know where these leads are coming from. Which pieces of content might have compelled them to convert? Tracking leads can also help you decipher why your leads are disappearing. 

How to Watch

You can look up whether your visitors are checking out important pages of your site. This can be your pricing or sign-up page. Google Analytics carries a “Funnel Visualization” tool that illustrates which pieces of content are visitors turn into leads. 

Give Your Content Marketing Strategy the Boost It Needs

You’ve heard it before (and you might hate it by now)—content is king. It’s the bread and butter that drives your engagement and conversions. So take time to check in on your content marketing efforts. How are you measuring? Where can you improve? 

We’re all eyes and ears. Here at Big Leap, we’re champions of quality and can help your business thrive with high-caliber content backed by metrics. Contact us for a free consultation and a preview on the kinds of customized campaigns we can build for you. 

Janet Lee