Discover our expert guide with helpful tips to drive up customer conversions, increase sales and stay on top of your content marketing metrics.
If you’re considering digging into the data surrounding your current content marketing plan, you’re making a smart move. Content marketing utilizes online material like blogs, social media posts, articles, and videos to reach a target market. It’s on the rise, and as of 2021, 55% of all marketing was digital. Content marketing offers unique opportunities to help you reach your audience in a way that will build trust and keep them coming back time and time again.
After you’ve developed a solid content marketing plan to boost brand awareness, you must use a method to measure whether your efforts are paying off. Analyzing content marketing program metrics can let you know what’s working well in your content marketing efforts and where to make adjustments. Here, we’ll explore what you need to know about content marketing metrics to ensure your digital marketing and advertising efforts are moving your business forward. Check out our round-up of the best content marketing books for more helpful tips.
Why Track Content Marketing Metrics?
You and your content marketing team work hard to develop fantastic content for your target market, and you want to ensure your hard work pays off. When you track your content marketing metrics, you can see which aspects of your content strategy work well and which factors could be improved.
The best content marketing practices change constantly, and keeping an eye on your content’s performance can help you understand trends within your target market. You’ll also be able to ensure a maximum return on investment (ROI) for your marketing initiatives, helping you work to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck from your advertising and marketing campaigns.
When you track your metrics, you can make the adjustments necessary to reach your target market, make the most of your budget, and utilize the best marketing practices to take your business to the next level. Digital marketing trends change constantly, so staying on top of your key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you ensure that you’re working toward growing your business. It can be tempting to disregard your KPIs when you’ve published content that you and your team are proud of, but no matter how innovative your digital content may be, your efforts are for naught if your messages aren’t reaching your target audience and making an impact.
Website Traffic Metrics
You work hard to develop website content that appeals to your target market. Understanding your website traffic metrics can help you learn more about your audience and the type of content that keeps them returning for more. Here are several website traffic metrics that you’ll want to consider when working to boost the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy.
Total Page Views
Before digging into these more nuanced metrics, you need to know how many people view your content. Knowing the total number of visitors your website receives in a given time will inform the next steps in your content marketing plan. If your total visit numbers differ from where you’d like them to be, the other marketing plan steps won’t matter, as your target audience isn’t seeing your content. Focusing on driving your total visit number up is the most important first step to growing your online presence and consumer interest.
New vs. Returning Visitors
An even balance of new and returning visitors indicates you’re doing something right. Seeing new visitors means that your search engine optimization and social media engagement efforts are working, and seeing returning visitors means that you’re creating valuable content that your audience wants to engage with time and again. Loyal audience members will stick around (and there’s a good chance they’ll bring like-minded friends with them!)
We’ve all contributed to the bounce rate of a website. When a person sees a website in their search results, clicks on it to learn more, and then leaves quickly when they realize the site isn’t providing the information they’re looking for, they’ve bounced. If you have a high bounce rate, your search engine ranking goes down, making it less likely that you’ll pop up in the search results for your target market.
Suppose you’re dealing with a high bounce rate and low consumer engagement. In that case, you’ll want to work to optimize your website content, make your site easier to navigate, and provide new content regularly so your loyal visitors aren’t simply bouncing away when they click on your site, only to see that you haven’t added anything new.
Once you know potential customers are coming to your website, the next step is understanding how they engage with your content. Looking at your engagement metrics helps you determine whether the content you’re providing is helpful for your audience.
Average Time per Session
Understanding how much time a visitor spends on your website gives you a clear idea of their engagement with your content. The higher your average user spends on your site, the more likely potential customers will turn into returning customers.
An important note: this measure is only reliable if your website provides them with reasons to interact. For example, suppose you have long articles that don’t require visitors to click. In that case, their average site visit may be logged as shorter than it is, as a lack of interaction with your site may be logged as an inactive user (even if they’re studying a page of your content without clicking anywhere else on your site).
Pages per Session
This metric can be tricky, but paying attention to it may help you understand how likely you are to convert your potential customers into actual customers once they browse your site. The pages per session metric will tell you how many pages your viewers see each time they visit your site (on average). If you’re selling several products, seeing your visitors browsing various product pages is excellent.
To boost this metric, adding a section to each product page that shows what else they might be interested in can be helpful. For example, if one of your for-sale categories includes dog leashes, you should also offer links to dog food bowls at the bottom of the dog leash page.
Comments and Shares
Your customers can be your best advertisements in today’s digital marketing world. Comments and shares on both your website content and social media posts (more on that in a moment) are constructive for getting the word out about what your business has to offer. Be sure to engage with customers who comment on your website content, even if what they have to say isn’t flattering. When you respond to customers, you show other visitors that you’re available, care, and committed to helping customers solve a problem.
Search engine optimization (SEO) involves designing your website to help you rank high on the results page. When a potential customer is searching for an answer to a problem, and your business pops up at the top of their results page, they will be more likely to see whether you have what they need.
Less than 1% of people click through to the second page of Google. If a potential customer searches for a solution and doesn’t find what they’re looking for on the first page of their search results, they’re far more likely to refine their search query than comb through the results to find the information they need.
Optimizing your website by using keywords, headings, videos, white space, and content that’s at a reading level that’s appropriate for your audience (the standard recommendation is to include content that’s at an 8th-grade reading level or lower). Like all digital marketing practices, the best SEO techniques change with time, so staying on top of the latest best practices is key for getting your content in front of the right customer.
The terms you use in headings and body text on your website determine where your site will appear for people searching for terms related to your business. Keyword research is vital in customizing your website content to help boost your page ranking. Going through the keyword research process regularly is an important part of updating your website for your target market. Scheduling a monthly keyword review can help ensure that your content is fresh and can keep your search ranking high.
Some of your visitors will likely come from other sites through backlinks. Backlinks are links on different website pages that direct consumers to your business site. Offering high-quality content that other companies will link to in their own content, like blog posts, is a smart way to boost your backlinks.
Social Media Metrics
Your social media can be a valuable tool to boost your business if you use it correctly. Dig into these key metrics to understand what’s working well on your social media accounts.
Social Shares and Engagement Rates
No matter how impressive your product is, customers are likely to share engaging, snappy content that makes them seem like they’re in the know with their social circle. When you post content that solves a problem (without requiring a purchase), you’ll likely be able to boost your share rate. Posting something slightly controversial, asking customers for their opinions, or launching a new product creatively on social media can all help to drive the comments on your posts or articles.
Engaging with your target market in the comments can be a fantastic way to build trust and boost social media engagement. When your customers see that you’ve responded to a comment they’ve made, they will click to see what you said, making them count as repeat visitors to your post. The higher your engagement rate relative to your total number of followers, the more likely your content will pop up toward the top of your target market’s social media feeds.
Click-Through Rate (CTR) from Social Media Posts
The CTR metric shows how many social media users click through to your website or social media profile. This number can help you understand how your content influences your audience to learn more about your product and which posts are performing best to pique consumer interest.
Lead and Conversion Metrics
Once you have your content in front of your target market, it’s important to understand what pushes them to take the next step. Seeing what type of content pushes your target market to want to learn more about your business can help you improve your content strategy as your business moves forward. Check out our round-up of the best content-writing apps to learn more! A few key lead and conversion metrics include:
- Conversion Rate: Your conversion rate is the number of potential customers who visit your site and respond to your call to action. This could mean that they sign up for a newsletter, provide their information so you can contact them for a consultation, or make a purchase.
- Number of Leads Generated: When customers submit their information to learn more about what you offer, they become a lead. While this is an important metric, you’ll also want to consider your sales conversion rate.
- Cost per Lead: When using paid advertising to help get your content in front of the right market, you want to know that your money is being spent effectively. Measuring your cost per lead can help see which of your advertising campaigns are working well and which aren’t worth the money you’re putting out.
Key sales metrics such as your sales conversion rate and your customer lifetime value (CLV) are vital for understanding how well your business is performing. Your sales conversion rate measures how many leads convert into paying customers. Getting many leads from people who engage with your content is great, but it only matters if they eventually leap to paying for your goods or services.
You’ll also want to consider your customer lifetime value (CLV). Learning how to calculate your average CLV is key to understanding the performance of your business. If you offer a single product that solves a problem, your customers may purchase without engaging with your company in the future. If you provide your customers with a group of related products or services, your CLV may be higher.
Content Performance Metrics
You must know how your website and social content perform with your audience. Two important metrics to consider are most viewed content and content lifespan. Your most viewed content can give you an idea of what resonates most with your audience and help you decide how to drive your content calendar forward. As well as this, your content lifespan measures how effective your content is over time and can help you decide whether to repost old content to drive engagement from a new audience.
Subscriber Email Marketing Metrics
Many of us get hundreds of emails daily, and it’s important to understand what subject lines grab your target market’s interest and prompt them to open the email. Your email open rate metrics show you how many people decide to read your email after noticing the sender and the subject line. Currently, just 21.5% of emails are opened. Your email click-through rate (CTR) tells you how many people open the email and then click on one of the links provided to learn more. Finally, your subscription rate provides information about the growth of your email subscribers over time.
Challenges in Tracking Metrics
Understanding your content metrics isn’t an exact science. It can be tough to figure out why certain posts perform well, and others don’t. It can be even harder to figure out exactly what aspect of your content pushes potential customers to convert to actual customers. Analyze your performance metrics regularly, but remember that the numbers often only tell part of the story.
For example, your conversions after a new product or program launch may differ from how your company performs over a year. Beware of vanity metrics; sometimes, numbers look good but need to be improved for your company’s bottom line. For example, a high level of engagement due to a controversial post may make your numbers look good for a while despite the post’s failure to bring in new leads.
Performance Metrics Tools
You can dig into the data to help you understand what’s working well in your content marketing plan. Several tools can help you understand your performance metrics and suggest how to use the information gathered from your metrics to drive your business in a positive direction. Great performance metrics tools include:
- Google Analytics: This is where you’ll want to start if you’re new to measuring the performance of your content. Google Analytics will provide you with a great baseline. The best part: it’s free.
- BuzzSumo: Once you find that you’re ready to move beyond the insights offered by Google Analytics, you’ll want to set up a BuzzSumo account. Here, you’ll get alerts when your brand or content is mentioned, allowing you to follow the chatter about your business that’s tough to pick up on through customer comments alone.
- Hubspot: If you’re ready to get serious information on your online performance, Hubspot is a great option. This software integrates all aspects of your business performance, from content marketing metrics to customer service feedback.
- MailChimp: When choosing a business email provider, you want to find a company that can provide performance insights. MailChimp doesn’t allow you to schedule when you’ll send your emails. It also allows you to know how many people opened your email and how many clicked the links offered within the body of the email.
- Buffer: This social media engagement measurement tool offers information on how your social media posts perform. You can also use the tool to schedule posts, allowing you to rest assured that your target market is getting regular updates from your company’s social media channels.
Looking for more? Read our guide with the best AI content marketing tools to try.
Check out these resources to learn more about how understanding your content marketing metrics can help you grow:
- Content Marketing Metrics: 4 Key Groups to Measure Your Content Performance (Semrush)
- Content Metrics: Do Better Than Views and Shares (Content Marketing Institute)
- How to Measure Content Marketing Success Holistically (Influence & Co.)
- Top 9 Content Marketing Metrics You Should Be Monitoring (And Why) (DashboardFox)
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