5 content marketing metrics that matters (and how to track them)

Critics claim that content marketing metrics are not measurable business-wise (such as ROI), and therefore content marketing cannot be a marketing mix centric tool. It is of course not the case. Content marketing and its performance can be measured, at least not worse than any PR campaign.

Any new phenomenon or tool passes some natural stages of maturity. First there is a place for enthusiastic interest, and then for justified criticism. Content marketing is not exception as there is a certain level of sobering up in the marketing professional environment in its regard.

What is content marketing? The major definition is

creation and promotion of information in some form, that is valuable to audience on its own

If there is call to action centric – thats not content marketing per se but rather plain ad copy. Content marketing assume that your brand or product helps target audience with a knowledge or solution making its life easier. In return company gets an exposure, increase potential clients awareness about its own solution etc.

Looks clear enough but how to measure “the easiness of life for the target audience” afterwords?

It is possible to make life easier for a neighbour in different ways: to support him, to help with advice, to suggest a solution to the problem, to educate about something new etc. Content marketing sceptics rightly claim that qualitative assessments downside is their subjectivity.

PR professionals faced same objections. They face them now as well when submit reports only on the number of published press releases in old fashioned way.

In digital world however both PR coverage and other content marketing performance metrics can be measured fairly accurately thanks to advanced analytics tools.

Lead generation metrics

Lead conversion sources are easily set up and tracked in Google Analytics, where form analytics will show in detail what medium and page in particular lead to the desired response.

Often, one of the tasks of working with content is to collect a database of subscribers, which subsequently, along with useful information, unobtrusively offers the company’s products.

For example, you can offer a so-called “white book” – a collection of useful information, recommendations that will be of interest to the target audience, or a free webinar in exchange for subscription or contact data.

Social metrics

In the era of social media, audience interest and content quality can be measured by the number of social interactions such as Like, Share, Retweet. Such data are collected using various monitoring services (YouScan, Topsy, Wobot, etc.) or platforms’ own resources (e.g. Easy Social Shares plugin for WordPress).

It should be noted that despite sufficient adequacy of indicators of social metrics, we do not recommend count on them as macro conversions. However in terms of content marketing they are awesome opportunity to contribute to your micro conversions strategy. The wish to share the information is not always related to content piece quality. Number of studies indicated that many people share information to support their own perceived identity (both private and professional).

I’d also include here metrics such as  ‘views \ read ratio’ popularised by Medium.

Coverage and outreach metrics

One can and should include in content marketing metrics set an indicator of “coverage” – what in PR is called Media Outreach (speculation on number of people reached).

To analyse the effectiveness of given campaign one can study growth of branded traffic from search engines, rate of new and repeated visits over a certain period of time etc. If the target audience has a clear set of characteristics, for example, socio-demographic, these data will also show how effective publications have been placed, their themes, sites and extension.

However, I strongly believe that in terms of digital marketing one should count on

  1. direct leads from publications
  2. SEO impact (more on it in next section)

Views per se is a vanity metrics not worth pursuing.

SEO metrics

One of the content marketing aspects is its influence on search engine marketing. With сукефшт strategies, the impact can be so powerful that content marketing is often called the evolution of SEO.

High-quality content helps to increase: time spent on the site, relevance of content requests, social signals, number of indexed pages, etc.

A large amount of data to analyse the effectiveness of hosted content is available in Google Search Console (can be linked to Google Analytics): the amount of certain search queries, average page position and Click Through Ration. At GRIN tech (company behind the blog) we extensively use Ahrefs alongside with tools by Google.

Blog performance (content interaction)

Sources of visits, bounce rate, time on site and other build-in Google Analytics metrics contribute to overall content marketing metrics a great deal.

One can go deeper via ‘calculated’ metrics – conversions linked to ‘single page creation price’.

To sum it up on content marketing metrics

Today almost any content marketing activity is analysed with the help of free tools, which every online marketer is familiar with.

The main problem in any analyse is not so much the lack of tools as the analyse itself. In most cases, the purpose of content marketing is to kickstart unobtrusive communication with existing and future customers. This is a rather short and very effective way to gain the credibility of the brand. Unlike sales and lead generation, the analysis of goals such as recognition, trust, loyalty, image requires a greater subjectivity and attention from the analyst to understand what indicators are behind them.

Stay tuned

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