Content Marketing Metrics that Digital Marketers Should be Tracking

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Web content is at an all time high. By 2020, the digital world will expand to cover up to 40,000 exabytes worth of data. That’s 40,000,000,000,000 (trillion) gigabytes or 312.5 billion 128GB iPod Touches.

This sudden and engulfing influx of data comes as no surprise because according to IBM, 90% of today’s digital data has been produced in just the past two years. And most of these are user-generated.

That being said, a large majority of businesses are starting to take notice of this on-going trend, and the potential it brings to supercharge their marketing efforts. 1 in 6 enterprises spend more than $10 million for just their content production only.

Name brands such as Disney have Babble. Red Bull has Red Bulletin. GE has GE Reports. Intel has IQ. P&G has Everyday.

So it’s becoming clear: the value of high-quality content is on the rise. Thus, marketing and customer engagement has changed.

All these look good, feel good, and sound good. But if isn’t reflecting on the bottom-line in such a way that it warrants the attention, what’s the point? At the end of the day, does it contribute to the overall effort of getting to that sweet, sweet ROI?

We’re Producing. But are we Measuring?

It was Vince Lombardi, the man they named the Super Bowl trophy after who said:

The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.

We have plenty of content, but are we measuring it? In a recent survey done by CMI, less than 25% of organizations successfully track the ROI of their content. 15% of B2B marketers say that they do not track at all, and another 10% would rate their tracking attempts as not successful.

Measuring metrics and tracking your performance is important because only data can tell you the real story behind your campaign’s performance. Is it on course in delivering what it’s meant for?

One of the most telling performance indicators is traffic. Traffic can come from many sources: organic, e-mail, referrals, paid, and social. Organic traffic account for 51% of B2B and B2C website visitors, that’s why it’s important for these businesses to get their SEO strategies together to rank in search engines. Users rely on search to discover relevant content on the internet and find the answers to their questions and needs.

But traffic isn’t the only metric that you must closely observe. To get traffic, one must be able to grab the attention of users. One of the more popular and most effective ways to do this is through content creation, because competition is fierce and you must be able to stand out above the rest.

To accomplish this goal, you must invest your time in measuring content metrics that matter. Let’s take a look at one: engagement.

In the study made by BrightEdge, they found out that despite millions of content swimming around the net, only 20% of consumers are engaging—1 in 5 B2C brands gets engagement on content . By the way, engagement means liking, commenting, sharing, and linking content on channels.

content marketing metrics

But engagement doesn’t stop there. A piece of content might do well, it might even become viral, but if it doesn’t do what it’s made to do (convert or funnel in leads), it simply becomes a vanity trophy.

To identify the right metrics, you must first determine what your goal is for the content. Are you looking to increase traffic and brand reach? Are you primarily concerned with leads? Identify the metrics that will matter most to you.

There are several types of metrics you can use to gauge your content performance:

Website Metrics

  1. Traffic: Monitor the number of people who come to your website and what they do when they get there.
  2. Bounce: See how engaged people remain when they arrive on your website. Do they remain long enough to read your content, or do they click right off?
  3. Conversion rates: How many people who arrive on the website to read content end up converting? This typically does not happen the first time a person arrives on the website, so you will have to monitor return customers and how they interact with the brand each time.
  4. New vs. return customers: How many visitors are seeing your site for the first time? How many customers are returning?

Content and Engagement Metrics

  1. Length on the site: How long to do people spend on the website when they arrive? Do they spend enough time to read the content in full? Do they look at other parts of the site?
  2. Sentiment: How do people feel about the content? Do they share it with others? Do they take the time needed to comment and offer their feedback?
  3. Amplification and social impact: Are people sharing your content online? How is this sharing impacting the other metrics?

Brand Metrics

  1. Sentiment: Are people saying nice things about the brand online? How many followers does the brand have?
  2. PR: Do your content marketing efforts bring in journalists and influencers? How often are articles bringing in people interested in speaking about the brand?
  3. Reach: Is the content produced expanding the brand reach and awareness?
  4. Competitors: How is your content performing compared with your competitors? Are you a leader or a follower in the industry?

Business and Engagement KPIs

  1. Leads and sales: Where are your leads coming from, and what percentage convert? How much are people spending? How has this affected your overall cost-per-lead and cost-per-sale?
  2. Email subscribers and members: How are your email lists performing? How many people are signing up for accounts on the site?
  3. Retention: How many repeat customers do you have? What type of content appeals most to your most loyal customers? What type of content appeals most to the top one percent of your customer base?

You must be able to incorporate these metrics in your overall marketing strategy to be able to make better decisions moving forward. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Identify the end goals for your content. These goals should be shared across all the platforms where the content will appear.
  2. Develop a content strategy with these goals in mind, understanding that organic is the largest driver of traffic.
  3. As your content is published, monitor the content’s success according to your preferred metrics. Share the content across the various social networks and promote it as much as possible. See how well the content is received by the audience and what is engaging with the target audience.
  4. As you gather your necessary data, use it to refine your content campaigns. Scale content according to the response. Adjust your marketing content and strategies to improve your weaker metrics.

Once you have established the most important metrics for your content, you then have the tools you need to identify the types of content that are reaching your intended audience and what they are responding to.

The internet will become increasingly saturated with content, there’s no doubt about that. The challenge now is to be noticed. To be successful with content, you need to know exactly how your content is performing and what type of content is engaging with your target audience.

Kevin Joshua Ng
Kevin Joshua Ng
Kevin is Content Marketing’s humble scribe. He has no doubt in his mind that Content is still king and he will serve it ‘til the day of his demise. He’s known to lurk around the walls of social media, thinking and writing. So follow him on the BuiltbySF blog and on LinkedIn, Twitter.

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