Content Marketing Metrics: How to Measure Performance

Kristin Crabb
By Kristin Crabb

‘You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.’ – Daniel Keys Moran

The key to raising brand awareness is a competent and intelligent marketing strategy. This is why marketing and advertising agencies exist. Today, with the rapid evolution of digital marketing, the game has changed. To keep ahead of the competition companies need to be more creative, dynamic, and diligent than ever before.

To speak on the former, outside of authentic and engaging content, tracking a company’s marketing activity is imperative to its success. With an influx of content, digital marketers, and companies crowding the marketplace in an attempt to build their brand, a company needs to know how well their content is placing on the internet.

While the first piece of the puzzle begins with methodology of the content itself (why it’s initially produced, the target goal, etc.), the second is meticulously analysing this content’s relationship with the marketplace and, more importantly, your desired audience. This is where content marketing metrics come in, which is a discipline used by digital marketers to evaluate the activity inspired by their content.

Getting Started

In the world of content marketing metrics there is no definitive. Due mostly to the fact that nearly 70% of content generated online has no real ‘purpose’ to it, companies often don’t know what to look for in terms of activity because they don’t know why they’re posting content. If you don’t know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish with your content, how are you supposed to know how to measure its success?

Related: How to Measure the Success of Your Content Marketing Campaign

Generally digital marketers are looking to create brand awareness, higher customer retention rates, higher conversation rates, and upselling.  The most common tool used for content marketing metrics in this space is Google Analytics. You should know there are also other programs out there favored by others.

When it comes to implementing these metrics at first glance they can be overwhelming. This is amplified if you’re one of those companies that doesn’t have a crystal clear agenda for the content they’re producing. In which case we’ll introduce consumption metrics to you first.

Consumption Metrics

The goal of consumption metrics is to measure how many times your audience viewed or clicked-through your content. The below are taken from Google Analytics and are commonly used across all metric systems.

Pageviews: These views are specific to certain pages. It’s the accumulative total of how many times people viewed certain facets of your website. This could be your blog page, homepage, or any other page from your platform.

Users: This provides insight into how many specific users have accessed a certain page on your website. Rather than the ‘pageviews’ this generates a total based off people’s landing spots.

Unique Pageviews: This is particular to a user and totals the amount of pageviews they contributed to each given session. It’s important as you can see where the user navigated and how far they went into your platform (thus identifying their general interest).

While these three metrics are the most rudimentary within the consumption branch, they give an overview of how many people are visiting your site and which pages are most popular. This will allow you to differentiate between pages that are preferred or ignored and gain a basic understanding of your website’s traffic rate.

Traffic Catalyst: Now that you’re familiar with the number in which your website is frequented, identifying the primary catalyst for that traffic will allow you to optimize your successes. Perhaps you have a social media campaign as well as an email one. If you discern that 80% of your traffic comes from Facebook, it’s probably time to reevaluate your e-marketing strategy.

Related: Understanding the Many Different Types of Content Marketing

Location: ‘know thy audience’ is one of the most fundamental disciplines of marketing. A large factor of that is knowing where your audience is most prominent. Identifying which territories are generating the most viewership might allow you to focus your marketing efforts with higher precision.

We think you have the gist here. Consumption metrics generally outline incoming volumes of traffic and where those viewers are coming from. But outside of views and landing users, what are those people doing once they’ve browsed your content? How are they interacting with your content?

Sharing And Social Media Metrics

Sharing metrics should be somewhat self-explanatory. These metrics measure how willing or active your users are in sharing your content. Being that most of the time your content is going to be shared on social media networks, often both ‘sharing’ and ‘social media’ are clumped into one category.

Social Shares: This metric assesses the total amount of shares your company receives on social media. Being that social media networks take the number one seat for all referral traffic, it’s vital to understand how well you’re placing within them. This is everything from Retweets, shared posts, Repins, and more, meaning you can dictate which specific platform is performing the best for you.

Comments: Certain metrics can assess where your content is being most commented upon. This is a strong indication of community engagement as the amount of time it takes to ‘like’ something versus commenting—let alone the time to articulate—is vastly different. These can measure where your content is gaining the most comments too.

Follower Tracking: Despite the likes, shares, and comments your posts are receiving, what’s most important is your follower record. You want people not only to show interest and engage with your content but to make a commitment in so that you have a larger user base in the future. This type of metric will not only show your total accumulative followers as a whole, but where you’re being most followed, which will allow you to dictate what social media networks are proving to be the highest performing for your brand.

Related: Why You Need to Integrate Your Content and Social Ad Strategy ASAP

Engagement Metrics

As you can deduce, these metrics measure how engaged your user is with your website. Once they’ve landed there, how long until they leave? Where do they go first? Do they ever return after that first glance?

New versus Returning: As you can deduce, this is the total number of new visitors on your website in comparison to those that are recurrent. It allows you to differentiate between cold traffic and those that continuously return. Are there more people returning to your website than visiting it? What does that say about your marketing campaign?

Pages/Session: This allots the accumulative total of how many pages users visit when they’re browsing. It’s a strong measurement for how engaged a new user is when they first interact with your website (brand & content, essentially).

Average page time: What if one of your page’s average time spent on it was around 10 minutes? How about a page right beside it only 30 seconds? That would be a strong indicator that one of your pages is massively underperforming and needs to be revamped, right? This is often considered the most important segment of engagement metrics.

Bounce Rate: It’s accurate to suppose at one point or another you opened a website and then left in seconds. If that’s the case, you would’ve contributed to the negative ratio of that company’s bounce rate. As you can deduce, the bounce rate is how quickly your newcomers ‘bounce’ out of there. It can be measured as an accumulative total or by specific pages. It is commonly agreed upon that this is one of the most important facets of content marketing metrics; if you’re capable of streaming large amounts of traffic to your website, what success is that if your potential customers aren’t staying?

Exit Pages: Don’t confuse these with the bounce rate, as the exit page is exclusive to the last page a user visited before leaving your website. While this can be somewhat of a nuisance to keep track of—and sometimes not that relevant—this metric is valuable when there’s a huge offset between certain pages. What we mean is perhaps there is one page that takes the huge majority of ‘exit pages.’ This could be indicative that whatever content is placed there needs to be changed.

Lead Metrics

Qualified Leads: This metric identifies the amount of qualified leads onset by your content. It does not surpass the ‘lead’ stage, meaning it doesn’t account for conversions (that’s the next one). Regardless, it is vital as a company to know which facet of your website opened that door for your sales team. You want every door to open that way.

Conversions: Piggybacking on the last metric, this measures how many of those leads converted. We all know the end goal is to make a sale, despite your company selling a product or not. Knowing exactly where those leads are converting (in terms of content) is crucial to improving your marketing.

Related: How to Drive Revenue With Content Marketing

Content Marketing Metrics

If you’re currently in the midst of a digital marketing campaign, all of these metrics—in one form or another—should be useful to you. To improve campaigns, companies need to understand exactly how their target audience is engaging with their material, where they’re coming from, and where they’re located. In compiling this data, if you are indeed in the midst of raising brand awareness, you will expose all of your strengths and weakness, therefore laying the groundwork for you to adapt to the market.

Kristin is a Content Coordinator at Power Digital. She was born and raised in San Diego but headed down south to attend the University of Alabama. With a degree in Communications and Advertising, she enjoys creating valuable and engaging SEO focused content to drive traffic and increase revenue for her clients. Roll Tide!