How to Measure Content Marketing Effectiveness
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As a business owner, you know that content marketing is important.
It helps you build trust with potential customers and establishes you as an authority in your industry. But how do you measure the effectiveness of yo
ur content marketing campaigns?
In this article, we will discuss key performance indicators to use when measuring the success of your content marketing, as well as the best tools to use for content marketing analysis.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating valuable, informative, or entertaining content to generate leads or customers.
Your content can take many forms, including blog posts, infographics, ebooks, social media, guides, white papers, email marketing, webinars, podcasts, and more.
Aim to keep any form of content informative and interesting to your target audience.
Why Is Content Marketing Important?
There are many reasons why content marketing is important.
For one, it helps you build trust with your customers. In today’s information age, consumers get bombarded with content from all sides.
Many people in your target market find it hard to know who to trust.
If you provide helpful content, your audience will begin to see you as an authority in your industry. It is essential for creating the trust required to produce leads and sales.
SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
One of the most important ranking factors is content. Creating high-quality content can improve your chances of ranking higher, resulting in more website traffic.
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What Are Content Marketing Metrics?
Creating content in and of itself shouldn’t become your goal. You need to understand how to measure content marketing success.
Ask yourself this question: is my goal to create content or to generate leads and revenue for my business?
While the answer is obvious, too many business owners go down the rabbit hole of creating content without taking the time to measure their content marketing ROI.
There are eight categories of content marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) to consider measuring as you work on your content marketing plan.
1. Brand Awareness Metrics
Content marketing includes working toward building your brand awareness. One way to measure this metric is by looking at your brand’s organic search growth.
You can measure this by looking at the number of times the SERPs mention your brand divided by the total number of searches conducted during that period. Another way to measure brand awareness is by looking at social media metrics such as shares, likes, and comments.
2. Website Engagement Metrics
Website engagement metrics measure how people interact with your website after they land on it from a search engine or social media platform. You can measure this by looking at things like web pages per session and bounce rate.
3. Lead Generation Metrics
You can measure the number of leads generated from your content marketing efforts using lead generation metrics. You can define a lead as someone showing enough interest in your product or service that they opt into your email subscriber list.
4. Social Metrics
Social media metrics help define the engagement and reach of your content on social media platforms.
You can measure this by looking at things like shares, likes, comments, and views. If you see your content getting shared a lot, it’s a good sign that it’s resonating with your audience.
5. Cost Metrics
Cost metrics reveal how much money you’re spending on content marketing. It includes costs like hiring writers, designers, and editors. Don’t forget the indirect costs, such as the opportunity cost of your time spent working on content.
6. Consumption Metrics
Consumption metrics measure how much content your audience consumes. You can measure this by looking at metrics like pageviews, unique visitors, and time spent on the site.
If you see that your audience is spending a lot of time on your website, it’s a good sign that they’re engaged with your content.
7. Sales Metrics
Use sales metrics to understand how many sales your content marketing efforts produce. Look at the conversion rate and the number of sales generated from each piece of content.
8. Revenue Metrics
Calculate the total revenue generated from your content marketing. Continuously create experiments that increase the number of sales and overall revenue generated.
Website User Behavior Metrics
We briefly mentioned website engagement metrics above. Let’s dig into more details about what to measure in this all-important area of your content marketing strategy.
At the end of the day, your website is the most vital Internet asset that you own and control. Even if you place content on third-party websites such as social media platforms, you need to measure how well your marketing efforts produce results on your website.
Zero-party data will become more important as we enter the age of Web 3.0. You can no longer depend on Facebook or Google, for instance, to supply you with user data as more people close down how much information they share on an iPhone, for example.
Search Engine Optimization Metrics
Merge your content marketing data with search engine optimization (SEO) metrics to show how well you produce leads, sales, and revenue.
A high bounce rate indicates that people land on your website and leave without taking any desired action. A low bounce rate means people stay on your website and interact with the content.
You can measure the bounce rate of individual pages using Google Analytics or other similar tools. To improve your website’s bounce rate, look at your website’s design, user experience, and the quality of your content.
Using pageviews, you can gauge how much interest your content generates. More page views mean you’re getting more people interested in what you have to say.
To increase your overall website’s page views, promote your content through email marketing, social media, and paid advertising. Those methods will get additional traffic to your website.
Use internal linking strategies to encourage visitors to visit additional pages within your site relevant to their initial reason for visiting.
New and Returning Visitors
A high number of new visitors means your content resonates with your target audience.
You’re most likely doing a good job with your title and meta descriptions. You know this because you’re getting more Google visitors to click from the SERPs to your website.
If you see a lot of return visitors, it’s a good sign that they find value in what you’re offering. They like your content so much that they come back for more.
To increase the number of new and returning visitors, focus on creating evergreen content that answers common questions in your industry. That way, you can attract organic traffic from Google over the long term.
You should also focus on building a strong email list to keep in touch with your audience and let them know when you’ve published new content.
Pages per Session
This metric measures how many pages people view during a single session on your website. The more pages they view, the more engaged they are with your content. A low number of pages per session indicates that visitors decide to leave your website quickly.
You can do a few things to increase the number of pages per session:
First, make sure your website’s design is easy to navigate.
Second, create interesting content that is relevant to your target audience.
Finally, use internal linking to encourage visitors to explore more of your website.
Use the traffic sources metric to see where your website’s visitors come from.
The three main traffic sources are organic, direct, and referral.
Organic traffic comes from Google or other search engine searches.
Direct traffic occurs when someone types your website’s URL into their browser or clicks on a bookmark they’ve saved.
Referral traffic happens when people click on a link from another website that leads to yours.
Average Time on Page
The average time on page metric measures how long people spend reading your site content. The longer they stay, the more engaged they are. A high average time on the page means you’re producing quality content that resonates with your audience.
You can do a few things to increase the average time on the page.
First, make sure your content is well-written and free of errors.
Second, use strong headlines and subheadlines to grab people’s attention.
Finally, include images, videos, and other multimedia content to break up your text and keep people engaged.
Backlinks are links from other websites to yours. They act as votes of confidence and can help improve your website’s authority and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
To increase the number of backlinks, create high-quality content people want to link to.
Think strategically about the types of content that generate passive links. You won’t typically get other bloggers to link to your “best of” posts or product reviews. That isn’t content other website owners find valuable enough to link their visitors to read.
On the other hand, here are content types that will generate backlinks on autopilot for you.
- Calculator pages
- Statistics posts
- Data studies
You can also reach out to other website owners, develop partnerships, and ask them to link to your content. Remain strategic in this area. Don’t perform ineffective methods like shot-gunning emails to people with a template.
One way to get started is to guest post for other websites. That way, you can connect with other websites from which you want to generate backlinks. Send them an email asking if they would like a backlink from one of the websites you write for.
Be willing to give something first.
Many website owners will want to reciprocate after seeing that you gave them a backlink without asking for anything in return.
Find 15 to 20 partners like this and watch your backlink profile rise monthly.
Everyone in today’s content marketing world knows how to write excellent posts and optimize title and description tags. You will see encouraging content marketing data if you combine well-placed backlinks with content and SERP strategies.
Your keyword rankings measure how well your website ranks for specific keywords on SERPs.
The higher you rank, the more likely people will find your content.
Google Search Console provides critical keyword data for specific keyword phrases that your site is ranking for.
Some important metrics include the actual queries, the monthly average search volume, their search trends, impressions, and clicks.
Include relevant keywords in your title, meta descriptions, and headings to improve your keyword rankings, impressions, and click-through rate (CTR).
The website metrics detailed throughout the above section represent critical aspects of content marketing that you need to measure. Use the data to make ongoing adjustments to your content marketing strategy.
Tips for Effective Content Marketing Measurement
Now that you know the basic data you need to pay attention to inside your content marketing plan, here are tips to help you maximize content marketing results.
Consider Your Brand’s Higher Purpose
Before you measure anything, take a step back and consider your brand’s higher purpose. What are you trying to achieve with your content marketing?
Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Generate leads? Drive sales? Improve customer retention? Your answer will help inform the goals you set and the KPIs you track.
Set Clear Goals
Once you know your overall content marketing purpose, you can set clear business goals. Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
Some examples of SMART content marketing goals could be the following.
- Increase organic traffic by X% in the next six months
- Generate X new website leads in the next month
- Increase conversion rate by X% in the next three months
Track Your KPIs
Now that your goals are set, it’s time to start tracking your KPIs. These benchmarks will help you measure your progress and determine whether or not you’re meeting your goals.
For example, if you’re working to increase organic traffic, you’ll pay attention to the following KPIs.
- Website Traffic
- Search engine rankings
- Number of backlinks
- Social shares of your website
On the other hand, if you’re trying to generate new leads, you’ll track KPIs like the following:
- Traffic to lead conversion rate.
- Number of leads generated from the website
- Website form submissions
Talk to Industry Peers and Learn From Them
Don’t forget to talk to your industry peers and learn from them. No one has all the answers, but we can all learn from each other. Attend conferences and webinars, read trade publications, and follow thought leaders on social media.
Create relationships with other leaders. Take time to brainstorm and collaborate. These relationships will help you measure and improve your content marketing strategy.
Be Ready To Adapt
Finally, remain prepared to change course if necessary. Things change quickly in the world of content marketing. It’s important to be nimble and adapt as needed.
That might mean changing your goals, trying new content formats, or using different distribution channels. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to scrap it and start over.
The most important thing is that you’re constantly learning and growing. You’ll stay on the right track as long as you do that.
Content Marketing Tools
Plenty of tools exist to help as you work to measure content marketing effectiveness. Define your goals and KPIs first. Then, select the content marketing tools that will help you keep track of your data appropriately.
Google Analytics will show you how people find and use your website. The platform offers tons of data, including information on website visitors, traffic sources, page views, and more.
Google Analytics is a quality tool for measuring organic traffic. You can see how many people visit your site, where they come from, and which pages they view.
The collected data will help you understand the most popular content and how to improve your website traffic.
Ahrefs or Semrush
HubSpot is an all-in-one platform that offers digital marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software. The platform can help you measure website traffic, qualified leads, customers, and conversions. You can also use HubSpot for content creation, automation of marketing tasks, and more.
ClickFlow is a tool that helps improve content performance by optimizing your website for Google. The platform allows you to A/B test your title and description tags. It will monitor two versions for 30 days so you can select the winner that gets the click. Getting more clicks from Google’s SERPs will slowly increase each page’s organic ranking.
SurferSEO will show you the semantic keywords to use as you create blog posts. Use this information to ensure you’re giving each post the best chance to outrank already-existing competitor articles.
As a content management system (CMS), WordPress is a popular choice for businesses of all sizes. The platform offers a wide range of features, including plugins and themes to help you customize your site. You can also use WordPress to measure your website traffic with Google Analytics.
OptinMonster is a tool that allows you to create pop-ups and forms to capture leads on your website’s landing pages. You can use OptinMonster to measure conversion rates through the buyer’s journey and the number of leads you can generate with your content marketing campaigns.
HotJar is a platform that provides heatmaps and session recordings. These features can help you understand how visitors interact with your website. You can use HotJar to measure the number of clicks, scrolls, and form submissions on your website.
Email Service Provider
An email service provider (ESP) is a platform that allows you to send and manage email campaigns. You can use an ESP to measure the number of email subscribers, open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates. Consider using an ESP like Drip, Mailchimp, or ActiveCampaign.
Emplifi provides social media analytics. Use the platform to measure your comments, likes, and other social signals.
BuzzSumo offers a way to find the most engaging content and outreach opportunities on social media and search engines. With the help of the platform, you can find out about trending keywords, current topics, and consumer challenges while monitoring what’s most essential to your business.
CoSchedule helps you organize your content marketing efforts in one place. It offers a content calendar, editorial workflow, and social media management features. You can use CoSchedule to measure your content marketing productivity and performance.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that allows you to measure your social media metrics. It provides insights into impressions, reach, engagement, and more. You can also use Hootsuite to track your social media ROI.
Grammarly is a tool that helps you proofread and edit your content. The platform can help you measure the quality of your writing and improve your grammar skills.
Airtable is a cloud-based software that allows you to create, manage, and share databases. You can use Airtable to keep your marketing team on the same page.
Trello is a project management tool that helps you organize and track your content marketing tasks. The platform offers a Kanban-style board where you can add labels, due dates, and comments. You can also use Trello to measure your content marketing productivity.
Don’t forget about your images as you work on your content marketing plan. Canva helps you create professional-looking images for your blog posts, social media, and email campaigns.
Ensuring Your Content Marketing Works
As business owners or as B2C or B2B marketers, measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing campaigns is essential to determining whether or not your efforts are paying off.
In this article, we’ve outlined key performance indicators you can use to measure the key metrics of your content marketing efforts.
We’ve also highlighted some of the best tools to use as you work to measure content marketing. By using these KPIs and analysis tools, you can fine-tune your content marketing strategy to ensure that it delivers the results you need inside your business.