No matter how large or small your marketing budget is, if you want to optimize marketing spend, it’s vital that you measure your content marketing performance. Measurement allows you to see what’s working and what isn’t, empowering you to make educated decisions about the future of your campaigns. Below, we’ll discuss how to develop content marketing metrics and key performance indicators, or KPIs, that help you adequately measure your content marketing campaign performance in order to adjust your tactics for improvement.
1. Start by identifying your content marketing goals.
Many marketers jump into measurement without a clear idea of what exactly they would like to accomplish with their content campaigns and assets. Ultimately, this can lead to using the wrong content marketing metrics, which can be a waste of both time and resources. To set your organization up for success, you’ll want to first identify what your content marketing goals are and then tie these specific goals to content KPIs and metrics.
According to Content Marketing Institute, 85% of marketers says that lead generation is one of their most important business goals. If you want to measure how well your content is working to generate more leads, look to the following metrics:
- Click-Through Rate: Click-through rates help you better understand how your content is generating and converting leads. Each blog post should include a clear call-to-action that leads readers to take a desired action. Whether the CTA asks readers to view another web page, download gated content, call the company, or some other desired action, looking at the click-through rates for these CTAs will allow you to determine how many leads each post is generating.
- Conversions: You can go beyond click-through rates to see how many of the leads become qualified and convert into paying customers. Looking at conversions allows you to see which pieces of content are not only generating the right types of leads but generating leads that are most likely to convert.
Brand awareness itself is not a KPI, but it is a goal that many brands hope to achieve with their content marketing. To measure how successfully your content is generating brand awareness, you might look at the following KPIs:
- Article Views: Though it may be difficult to determine this metric for content that is not housed on your site, it’s quite easy to access analytics for owned media on your brand blog. Looking at the number of article views can help you better understand how many people are viewing your content.
- Social Shares: Social shares is another KPI that you can use to determine your success in generating brand awareness. Measure how many shares each post receives to better understand which types of content are most successful at engaging your audience and creating awareness for your brand. The more content your audience shares, the more your online reach increases.
Once you build brand awareness, you then have to engage the followers, leads, and fans that have started to take notice of your brand. Though general brand awareness can help you gauge how familiar consumers are with your brand, genuine audience engagement helps you better understand how consumers feel about your brand. Not to mention, engaging with your audience can help you get to know more about them. To track how successfully your content engages your audience, take a look at the following metrics:
- Click-Through Rates: If your content is compelling readers to click on your link, then you know that it has been successful in attracting their attention. By monitoring how many people click on your content and what types of content they are clicking on, your brand can get a better idea of what is interesting and useful to your audience.
- Social Shares: The number of social shares can help you understand how many of your readers have found your content valuable enough to share with their friends and family. However, you’ll want to go beyond the number of social shares and monitor who is sharing your content. Identify how many people within your target audience or influencers in your industry are sharing your content to get a better idea of its value.
- Comments: Though not all comments are valuable, you will want to monitor your comments section for engagement and feedback to see who is contributing to your content. You will also want to see which types of content are generating the most engagement.
While lead generation, brand awareness, and audience engagement are great content marketing goals to track each month, you also need to be aware of sales. Content marketing can be a valuable tool for moving your leads through the sales process. If you want to track your success in using content for sales enablement, monitor the following metrics:
- Sales Conversion Rate: Leads that receive your content on a regular basis through the various content channels will often convert at a higher rate. This is because as leads consume more of your content, they start to trust your brand more and learn all of the ways that your company’s solution meets their needs.
- Length of Sales Cycle: Measuring the length of your sales cycle helps give you a better idea of how well your content is working. Great content helps your brand decrease the average sales cycle length. If your content is effective, you should see that leads who consume your content regularly close at a faster rate than those who do not.
- Contract Size: Effective content should also make it easier for your brand to sell more to each lead. By comparing the contract size of clients who were nurtured through targeted content marketing vs. those who were not, you can see how well your content marketing is working to build trust, answer your leads’ biggest questions, and address their concerns.
2. Make distinctions and connections between on-site and off-site metrics.
When you are measuring your content marketing campaign success, you will need to distinguish between your on-site content assets and those that are off-site. For instance, your on-site content assets are platforms such as your website and blog where you have complete control at the domain level. Whereas off-site assets are those pieces of content that appear in areas such as guest blogs or social media sites, where you have less control of the asset.
There are areas where these assets will overlap and interact with one another. For example, you may drive traffic from your social media profiles to pieces of content that are housed on your website, such as a blog post or e-book. You will want to make sure that you measure this overlap to have a better understanding of the relationship between your
3. Remember that establishing content marketing metrics and KPIs is an ongoing process.
Even after you have identified which content metrics you’ll use to measure your specific business goals, you are not quite done yet. Your organization’s needs will develop and change over time, meaning that establishing content metrics is not a one-time event, but rather a fluid and ongoing process. If you want to continue to optimize your marketing budget, it’s important that you assess the data, look for important insights, and find new stories within the analytics to help you better measure performance and understand where you are in achieving your organization’s overall business goals.
Marketers should evaluate content marketing metrics and KPIs for relevancy for each unique project. Being flexible in how you measure the results of each content marketing campaign will open new opportunities to help you grow your business goals and achieve maximum performance. For instance, in reviewing your metrics, you may see that the findings that suggest there are new areas that you should emphasize in your content marketing campaigns. Once you adjust your campaigns to account for these new topics, you will also want to review your metrics to ensure that you’re still using the best KPIs to measure success.
As time passes and you make changes to your campaigns, you will want to revisit your KPIs and metrics. If you are still using the same KPIs that you were when you started using content marketing, then you may want to ask yourself why and consider whether or not they are still valid for effectively helping you measure success. There is a good chance that as you develop your content marketing campaigns and make changes to your approach that you will need to make changes to your KPIs as well. The same is true as you begin to increase marketing spend.