Image adapted from
Lucas Hayas' photo on flickr.
Many businesses can attribute increases in traffic and leads to content marketing, but when it comes to measuring the success of a content marketing strategy, it can be difficult for marketers to pinpoint the metrics that drive results. According to
Content Marketing Institute, 33% of B2B marketers and 41% of B2C marketers indicated that their inability to measure their content marketing efforts posed a significant challenge.
Measuring the Wrong Metrics
With a variety of
analytics tools and measurement options available, this can seem a bit surprising; however, the problem is usually not the availability of resources. Instead, it may be that marketers are judging their content on the wrong metrics.
Most marketers tend to look at traffic and sales as the sole indicator of a website's content performance, when in actuality, they should look much deeper at engagement, conversions and trust established over time to ensure your website and blog are on the right track.
Weighing too heavily on any one metric (or worse, the wrong metrics) can cause confusion in your content and website performance. There are simply many more factors to consider. To properly measure what matters, look to incorporate a variety of these metrics to illustrate the success of your website and content marketing efforts.
From a top level view, increases in traffic would appear to be a good indication that your website and content strategy is gaining traction or performing well, but it��s important to note that traffic doesn’t necessarily equate to success. Instead, you should measure each piece of content that you produce individually and against their own performance indicators.
It’s important that your content is being viewed and consumed by your audience, but consumption metrics don’t offer more than what’s available on the surface. Sure, a high number of pageviews may indicate a popular post, but to understand if this content is truly successful in driving action, you’ll need to research if that content is helping move a visitor further along in your funnel or accomplishing other business goals.
Start by looking in your analytics and compiling a list of the most consumed pages, articles,
videos or other content on your website. Use this data to find trends in your content and optimize in the future.
Look at the following metrics to better determine which content is resonating with your audience:
Pageviews: Can indicate how many people consume your content in a given period of time. If you have video or audio content, look to see how many plays they generate. A high number of pageviews could mean that your content is designed around a popular topic or that your distribution channels are performing well.
Unique Visitors: Can help determine the overall size of your audience and how much repeat traffic your content is driving. A growing number of unique visitors can be a sign that your content is reaching a broader audience.
The importance of each metric will ultimately depend on the purpose of the content you are measuring. For example, pageviews may be more important to a publishing company that is interested in selling ad space, whereas a thought leadership blog focused on spreading influence may be more interested in increasing unique visitors over time.
Engagement has been floating around as a marketing buzzword for some time now. It seems that everyone is looking to create content that their audience interacts with, other than just reading it.
Creating and promoting content that engages your audience can increase the likelihood of building
earned media through brand advocacy and driving more organic traffic overtime. To measure the engagement of your content, focus on the following metrics:
Average Session Duration (Time on Site): This can show more details in how your audience is consuming your content. If the average time on page is low, it can be an indication that articles are being skimmed or that the content isn’t interesting to your audience. Let’s say you published a 1,500 word article. Such an article takes roughly six minutes to read. If the average time on that article was only a few seconds, it may be reaching the wrong people.
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Pages per Session: This can be a tricky one to measure. On one hand, you want to have your audience view multiple pages within your site, which could mean that your content is engaging throughout. On the other hand, it could mean that your visitors are getting lost on your site, which could be an example of bad navigation or poor keyword research; the opposite of your goals. Take this into consideration when measuring and if you think you may have visitors getting lost, audit your site navigation and fix any problems as necessary.
Social Sharing: This is a metric worth improving, as it can serve as a form of social proof of your content’s popularity. Measure the number of likes, shares, comments, +1’s, tweets, etc. generated by your website and its content. Any content on your website with a higher number of interactions can be one indication of engagement while concurrently broadening your company’s reach.
Everything up to this point should be guiding your audience to action. At the end of the day, conversion metrics are the most important, but can also be quite challenging to measure. Consider that the longer your sales process or conversion funnel, the more complex measuring can become. To keep it as simple as possible, follow three of the most important conversion metrics:
Downloads: If you have content such as eBooks, white papers, slide decks or videos, you can measure the amount of content downloads. If you keep this content “locked” behind a form, you can also measure leads generated by this content.
Sign-Ups: This could be sign-ups to your email newsletter, a webinar or maybe registration to a live event. Increases in sign-ups can be an indication that the content throughout your website is driving action from your readers and further moving them through the funnel.
Sales: An increase in revenue that you can attribute to your content marketing efforts. This could come from direct sales on your website or through leads that your sales team has closed. Measuring your sales will differ based on your products, services or offerings and the complexity of your conversion funnel.
For example, an e-commerce site may have a short sales cycle that can be tracked entirely through online behavior whereas a SaaS company may have to consider tracking a six month sales cycle with CRM integration, lead nurturing and sales meetings.
Focus on these key metrics when trying to understand the success of content across your website. Every organization’s approach to measurement will be slightly different due to their unique goals, varied forms of content and the nuances specific to their own customer base.
What content metrics define success for your website? What changes have you made with your content based on your metrics? Put your answers and any feedback in the comments below.
Content Analytics in Evoq
Evoq Content features a powerful, yet visually elegant, analytics dashboard accessible from each individual page. Top line metrics like page views, traffic sources, and time spent on page, are tracked and presented right in Evoq. Learn more on our product page.