Learn How to Measure Content Marketing Metrics & Performance

Content Marketing Metrics

An effective content marketing strategy has always relied on clearly defined goals and constant analysis of each initiative’s results. Determining campaign success starts with analyzing key content marketing metrics that matter most. These metrics AKA content marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) are the lifeblood of your campaign.

In addition, monitoring content performance allows you to create more of what works – the content that truly resonates with your audience.

So, how do you use content analytics to achieve your marketing goals? In this guide we'll explore the four primary content marketing KPIs, how to analyze them and reveal how you can use the data to your advantage.

Content marketing metrics infographic

1. User Behavior Metrics

Simply put, user behavior metrics help you understand how users interact with your website or application. These metrics include:

Page Views

These show the number of times a particular page was visited. Page views give you a general understanding of how effective the content was in comparison to other recent posts. This allows you to see what topics resonate best with your target audience and see what impacts the overall content cluster success.

Unique Visitors

This metric indicates the number of visitors who viewed a website page, but it provides more accurate insights than page views. Examining the unique visitors metric gives you a wider scope of your audience.

New and Returning Users

Knowing the number of new visitors allows you to identify potential leads, while the returning user metric reveals whether users like your content. Utilizing a combination of the two metrics is ideal. This means that your content attracts new users while retaining the old.

Page Depth

Page depth indicates how effective your overall content performance. When this number is low, there could be poor content interlinking or a low-quality website design. Use this metric to optimize the most visited pages on your site to attract better conversions.

Average Time Spent on Page

This method of tracking content performance reveals whether readers are actively reading your content or simply skimming it. When the “time on page” on some content is higher than others, it shows you which pieces are more popular. Examine your best-performing content as well as your under-performing pieces. Do they differ by topic, form, or length? Are you using images, video, or infographics? Keep creating what works.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate indicates the percentage of users who left a particular page without exploring the site further. High bounce rates typically mean that something isn’t quite right with the page. This is especially worrisome for e-commerce sites, since it means that the customer is leaving without making a purchase.

If you’ve noticed a high bounce rate, check your loading speed and improve your calls-to-action. It’s also possible that your SEO needs some adjustments, since people are not finding what they need on the page.

Interpreting a bounce rate content performance metric depends on the type of page, so don’t feel discouraged if the numbers aren’t stellar. Blogs often see high bounce rates because returning visitors often read new content and then leave after finding relevant information.

Pages Viewed Per Session

This metric shows whether your content is organized as well as engaging. Does your content motivate visitors to move on to another page? If your blog or website has helpful and well-designed interlinking, users will likely spend some time exploring the site. With interlinking, one article will contain related links within its content. The reader can then click and be redirected to another informative article.

Sources of Traffic

Determining your sources of traffic allows you to see which marketing channels work for your brand – and which ones don’t. Some businesses attract audiences through search engines while others flourish with well-executed social media. Or perhaps your business is already well-known and benefits from direct traffic.

Examining your traffic sources allows you to identify which channels will best distribute your content. You also might find channels with potential that may be worthy of investment. When you know which channels work, you can adjust your strategy and invest more resources into profitable areas.

2. Engagement Metrics

The future of web analytics, engagement metrics show marketers what content fascinates their visitors. When learning how to measure content performance, consider the following engagement metrics:

Social Shares and “Likes”

Social media shares and likes present a clear way to analyze post popularity and content engagement. However, shares often are more valuable than likes because they also expand your content’s reach. To measure these interactions, use a post tracking tool or social media tracker. Many of these tools are free or inexpensive and are widely available online.

Comments

If one of your posts is receiving hundreds of comments, it’s a good sign that it has engaged your audience. In fact, comments often demonstrate the level of engagement better than likes and shares. This is because it simply takes more time to write a comment than to like or share a post. So, if the readers were interested enough to post their opinions in the comments section, it means the content was effective. Keep in mind that this applies to valuable comments – not irrelevant or spammy posts.

Much like social media shares and likes, the effectiveness of the comments session is measured by tracking tools. When you use these tools, you can see the number of comments and replies to your posts on social media. If you have a blog, many platforms allow you to track your comments and online conversations.

Mentions

Mentions provide information on content performance and engagement. Track mentions both in social media and other media platforms, and pay attention to the authors or context. Brand monitoring tools can help you measure mentions by period, source, or backlinks. Plus, some tools allow you to filter mentions by keywords, authors, or competitors.

Republications

When another article quotes your content and refers to it as a source, it can be considered a mention. However, when the full text of infographic, article, or other content is published on another site, it’s referred to as a republication. If you’ve found a republication of your content, make sure the author included a link to the mentioned post. This helps you attract a more target audience to your site.

While you cannot measure the exact traffic coming to your article, you can track the average traffic of your site. Traffic analytics apps help you further understand the potential reach gained by the republication. You can also ask the author to add an utm link to his or her article. These links help you track referral traffic through Google Analytics or other programs.

Incoming Requests

Sites that consistently produce high-quality content often have a steady stream of incoming requests. These could be requests to create new material, conduct an interview, or even film a video.

3. SEO Outcome Metrics

As you undoubtedly know, search engine optimization is an essential function of any marketing team. Measuring SEO outcome metrics allows you to determine the performance of your site in terms of organic search. The following metrics are essential when it comes to your SEO strategy:

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic shows the number of people who found your site through Google or other search engines. When these figures are low, it suggests that the article or page was not optimized properly. To increase organic traffic, you must improve your search engine optimization.

Many marketers choose Google Analytics to examine organic traffic. The app provides information on keywords used by people who found your website. This offers insight into what keywords are effective as well as which strategies require adjustment.

Dwell Time

The average length of time a visitor spends on a page before returning to the search engine results pages is referred to as dwell time. When users return to the SERPs right away, it suggests that they did not find information relevant to their search. This sends a negative signal to the search engine and can potentially lower your rankings.

Measure dwell time by taking a look at the bounce rate, session duration, and time on page. A low bounce rate and a high time on page indicates that users remain on the page or website. This means that the overall dwell time is also high.

Backlinks

One of the most important Google ranking factors, backlinks are links to your website from other sites on the internet. Search engines consider backlinks valuable because they indicate that a website is popular. This makes them one of the most important content performance measurements. Pay attention to the number of links, but don’t include low-quality, spammy links. You should also look at the number of unique domains and the quality of the referring domains.

Keywords

Targeted keywords allow you to check the performance of a particular post. You also can check the number of keywords that your content is ranking for in the Google top 3. Use this data to determine how your page is ranking compared to your competitors.

There are many keyword tracking tools available online, each having unique features. Some tools allow you to add URLs or groups of URLs to determine which keywords rank in SERPs. Position tracking is also available from some apps, which lets you examine the positioning of your target keywords.

4. Company Revenue Metrics

Ultimately, the goal of measuring content performance is to determine how you can increase reach and revenue. When measuring your company’s financial performance, these metrics will help you refine your strategy:

Number of Leads

The number of leads indicates how many potential clients have shared their information with your company through your content. These leads are captured through contact forms, downloads of materials, and sign-ups for newsletters and updates. To track these leads, assign corresponding goals in Google Analytics or your chosen performance tool.

Influence on Existing Leads

In addition to getting new leads, marketers must assist them as they navigate the purchasing process. Examining the number of existing leads who interacted with your content offers valuable insight into customer behavior. This allows you to refine your lead nurturing strategy. Measure the influence on existing leads by tracking the number of returning users in your analytics app.

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who took an action after interacting with your content. These actions could be clicks, newsletter sign-ups, or downloads of materials. The conversion rate is calculated by a simple formula:

Conversion Rate = Conversions/Total Clicks from your link, call-to-action, or banner ad

Revenue Influenced and Return on Investment (ROI)

The return on investment is the percentage of revenue taken from different actions and strategies. When it comes to content performance metrics, it’s the revenue related to the content produced by your team.

To determine the ROI, take the profit from the investment or initiative and then subtract its cost. Then, divide the total by the cost of the investment.

How to Choose Relevant Content Performance Metrics

To choose the correct content metrics, start by asking a simple question: What does success mean for your brand? What ROI is ideal? For example, a brand that has high visibility likely won’t need to include web traffic or social shares. Instead, the brand may choose to focus on new visitors and leads generated by content.

It’s also important not to forget the metrics that reveal how well you’re reaching your target audience through distribution channels. If your content simply isn’t working, assess whether your distribution methods are relevant to your audience. You may need to invest in other channels to boost success.

Lastly, don’t use just one metric when analyzing your campaign data. Always consider different data produced by different metrics. When you analyze the data as a whole, you’ll gain a bigger, clearer picture of your content’s results. If you remain committed to measuring your content performance, you can improve your strategy and increase profitability.

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Eric Steiner

Eric Steiner

Eric Steiner graduated with an MFA in professional and creative writing from Western Connecticut State University in 2014. He's worked on a number of professional writing projects with clients such as Pearson Education, WatchMojo.com, and Michael Mailer Films. Giving brands a voice is his passion.