04 Nov 10 Most Important Content Marketing Metrics You Should be Tracking
Imagine this situation. You’re at your company team meeting, discussing this year’s results. At one point, your CEO turns to you and blatantly asks how effective your content really is. All go silent and look at you. What do you do? It is up to you now to defend the honor of content marketing! Calmly, you present your CEO and everyone at the meeting some important content marketing metrics and get an ovation and a round of applause for it (okay, maybe that’s a bit far, we’re not in Hollywood and this isn’t the Wolf of Wallstreet).
But what content marketing metrics should you measure in order to get a clear picture of whether your content is performing as you intend or not? Here are 10 you should pay the most attention to (in no order in particular):
1. Unique Visitors
The first thing you need to know if you want to measure the effectiveness of your content strategy is how much traffic your content is actually attracting. This means knowing how many unique visitors for a given period of time (month, three months, six month or a year for example) did your site’s content bring.
As a part of this, you should also look at the percentage of new vs. returning visitors that are coming to your site. You should have a healthy mix of these two. On one side, you want to get new users to visit, but on the other, you want them to keep coming for more.
Of course, this is only the start, but it will give you a good indication of how much visitors are interested in your content. Knowing this, you can move on to the other content marketing metrics, such as:
2. Engagement Time
So a certain number of unique visitors are coming to your website. Let’s say 50 each month. But are they actually staying? Is your content good enough to capture their attention and put their “buts in seats”? This is what this next metric will tell you.
Total engagement time will tell you how much time visitors are spending on your site. Logically, you want them to stay for as long as possible, because this would mean that they like your content.
But how do you know the visitor actually “engaged” with your page or post and not simply clicked on it and then went on to do some other things? Engagement assumes some kind of action on their part, such as scrolling through the page, clicking links and so on. A look at Google Analytics will tell you what their time on page is, but not how they actually engaged with it. For this, you can use a plugin such as Riveted. This will allow you to measure how much your visitors are actively engaged with your page. In other word, how much they’re scrolling, clicking or using the keyboard.
3. Traffic Sources
So where are visitors actually coming from to your website? Keep an eye on these four traffic channels:
- Organic, or visitors found you through organic search results on Google and clicked on your link
- Direct. These are people who typed in your URL to visit your site
- Social. They came from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or some other social media platform.
- Referral. These visitors came after following a link from another domain to your site.
Referrals themselves are a good way to find influencers you can reach out to and reveal content curation opportunities, so it’s a very nice thing to know your referral paths.
Don’t neglect your overall traffic as well. This may seem like a crude metric, but you should still pay attention to it. If all your sources (organic, direct, social and referral) are performing well, your website should experience a growth. But if two or more are dropping, it will affect your overall traffic negatively as well.
4. Bounce Rate
Not all visitors will like your content (can’t please everyone). Some will just take a peek and then immediately click away. Those users that don’t visit more than just one page (for instance your home page) represent your bounce rate.
What can the bounce rate tell you? The bounce rate is an indicator of the relevancy of your content. A rule of thumb is that a bounce rate between 25 and 40 percent is very good. Between 41 and 55% is mostly average, 56-70% is higher than average and above 70% is high. If your bounce rate is 70% you should start rethinking your content marketing efforts asap. However, keep in mind that, if you see that your bounce rate is below 25%, that’s going to be unusual and could be the result of either not enough dynamic content on your site or that you haven’t properly installed Google Analytics. You could either have implemented event tracking wrong or have a duplicate analytics code. If that’s the case, ask your programmer to check this and fix the issue.
5. Email Unsubscribes and Opt-Out
While you should look at your email open rates and click-throughs, these two are not enough to paint a clear picture of how users consume your content. For instance, some email clients won’t load images (spam protection) so this means that the open rates will go unreported. On the other hand, CTRs will only show you the number of clicks you had on an embedded link.
For email metrics, it’s much better to keep an eye on unsubscribes and opt-outs. These will show you if your emails and content are relevant enough to users. Also, if you see a lot of unsubscribes or opt-ins, it’s a good sign that you need to sit down and rethink your email marketing campaign.
6. Social Media Shares
With luck, this post will get shared on social media. This would be a good sign that it is relevant to my visitors. Think of social shares, likes, +1’s and so on as signs of approval from your audience. The more of these you get, the higher your content’s standing with your audience is. Of course, not all of your content will be shared equally, so take a look at what were your most shared posts up until now and use this as a goal you want your content in the future to reach.
Of course, to get people to share your content, it needs to either:
- Educate them
- Be useful to them
- Make them entertained
To get an idea of how much your posts are shared across social media, use Shared Count. This will give you a total number of shares for Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and StubmleUpon.
While you’re here, you can also look at who shares your content. Not all shares are equal. A share from an influencer is worth like gold as they can bring in other people to pay more attention to your content in the future. It’s your basic peer approval. If an ultra popular kid in school says they like your shoes, suddenly, everyone else will be gushing about them.
7. Conversion Rates
A conversion is when a visitors to your site completes a desired action such as downloading your ebook, signing up for a trial or when he fills out a form. This means that the visitor, who, at first didn’t know about you, has moved from being a lead to being a full-blown customer.
If your conversions are low, this means your audience is not interested enough or that what you are offering is simply not interesting enough to them. If that’s the case, try to improve your call to action (CTA). You want to make your CTA appealing, strong and clear. The user needs to be interested enough in what you offer, the CTA should be strong and show a sense of urgency (if you let them wait, they’ll probably forget all about it), but it also needs to be clear to what the user is signing for. You don’t want the visitor to think he is being forced into anything.
8. Lead Generation
A very important metric you should pay attention to is how your content is helping you generate leads. These (leads) are the essence of your whole business. Without being able to generate enough leads, you won’t be able to keep your business afloat.
You can measure lead generation by taking a look at how many users subscribed to your email, signed up for trials or opted in some other way. A good CRM will also let you see which leads are due to your content marketing efforts and which are the result of something else.
9. Team Performance
Not all content marketing metrics have to do with the content itself directly. Some, like this one, looks at your team as a whole and individual members and helps you assess their performance for a given period. Your content strategy should have clearly defined goals. How is your team performing towards these goals? Are they able to meet deadlines or are they always missing them?
Is your team productive? How much content is it able to publish withing a month, six months or a year? How long does it take them to take something from an idea to a published piece of content, whether that be a blog post, video or something else?
Finally, this is the metric you should go to when determining your content marketing’s effectivness. They tell you how much money you’ve spend on content marketing for a given period of time and was this worth it.
Content marketers use different ways to measure and calculate their ROI. One way to do it is by first calculating your customer lifetime value (CLV) and customer acquisition cost (CAC) and get the ROI from this. This formula looks like this:
(CLV-CAC)/CAC = ROI.
To calculate your CLV, take the average number of transactions per month (T) multiply this with the average order value (AOV), then multiply both of these with the average gross margin (AGM) and then all of this with the average lifetime span in months for customers (ALM). Or:
((T x AOV) * AGM) * ALM) = CLV
CAC, or customer acquisition cost is easier to calculate. Just divide your total marketing costs (TMC) with the total number of new customers (TNC)
TMC/TNC = CAC.
Another way to calculate ROI of your content marketing campaign is to take the amount of dollars in revenue that was generated by a writer or specific content, and then divide this with the sum or production and distribution costs. The formula looks like this:
ROI (C) = $Revenue Generated by Content X or Writer X/ ($ Production Cost + Distribution Cost)
Are there any other content marketing metrics that are important to track? Let me know in the comments below and please share this post if you found it useful and interesting.