Behavioral analytics lets you better understand how many people are interacting with your site. Besides that, you can learn which pages bring them to the site in the first place, and which pages they engage with the most — these also play a part in how Google ranks your page in the SERPs in terms of relevancy.
Marketing Insider Group
For your content marketing efforts to be successful, you must have clear goals and effective strategies. Once your plan is in place, you need to document it and measure your results to know if your efforts are working.
Audience research, content scheduling, and content repurposing are all building blocks that need to stack up correctly. Once you manage to get everything aligned, the results will begin to show. But where will they show? And how will you track them?
In the end, content marketing contributes significantly to the final step (a new sale or lead). But there are other equally important, more revealing, and useful metrics to help you measure your CM efforts to determine how exactly it’s helping your business.
Using the right metrics will help you identify poor-performing content that can be improved. It will also empower you to pinpoint your best-performing content. Data analytics can help you to find the perfect “recipe” for content creation and marketing. Then just rinse and repeat the process to achieve content marketing success.
3 components of the measurement equation
Deciding what to track
Though you can measure just about anything these days, that doesn’t mean you should. Metrics can quickly become all-consuming and confusing – especially if you gauge performance against too many goals. To optimize the time you spend on metrics, start with a few measurement fundamentals, such as:
Inventory and audit your existing assets
If you’ve begun to publish valuable content, the first steps to a formal measurement plan are to identify, qualify, and categorize your existing assets. After all, you can’t measure or set performance benchmarks if you don’t know what content you have.
First, create a content inventory – a quantitative list of the assets published across content types, channels, and distribution formats. From there, you may want to conduct a basic content audit – a qualitative evaluation of your inventoried content – to assess your existing content against your customer needs and your strategic objectives.
Not only can these processes help you understand your content’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall strategic alignment, they can reveal any gaps that might exist in your coverage as well as areas where your content needs an update – all of which could stop visitors from converting.
Measure for priority goals
Knowing where your company’s priorities lie is essential to determine which goals to measure for. You also need to know which metrics to track as evidence of your content’s impact. To give you a sense of the valuable metrics to gauge performance against the most common content marketing goals, CMI’s Vice President of Marketing Cathy McPhillips created this helpful chart:
Another way to approach performance data tracking is to consider the most common key performance indicators (KPIs) for each type of content (e.g., email newsletters, blog/website articles, social media posts, videos). This list outlines some of the most informative data points for analyzing the performance of different types of content:
Content Marketing Revenue
Delivering engaging and exciting content not only lets you drive traffic and engage your target audience, but also enables you to generate revenue. While such financial metrics as sales are not always directly applicable to content, there are several KPIs you should be tracking.
Number of New Leads
Definition: The number of potential clients who have shared their personal details while engaging with your content. You can get them through contact forms, sign-ups for updates and newsletters, downloads of materials, and so on.
Impact: The number of leads indicates the general meaningfulness of your content, i.e. you won’t give your phone number or email address for something you don’t need or are not interested in. It’s also the first milestone towards converting your traffic into contacts and, eventually, revenue.
Existing Leads Nurtured
Impact: It is not enough to simply get a new lead. To achieve your marketing and business goals, it is important to accompany your prospects on their purchasing processes. By analyzing the number of existing leads that interacted with your content, you can evaluate and develop better lead nurturing and assess your current content marketing funnel.
Impact: It helps you analyze the effectiveness of your content marketing funnel. A high conversion rate may suggest that you are targeting the right audience with the right content and positioning, and vice versa. If you adequately aligned your efforts for marketing and sales, a successful conversion rate can closely relate to an increase in your revenue.
Additional Content Metrics to Look at
Though traffic, links to your content, mentions of your brand, etc., all indicate that your authority and online brand presence are growing, there are more KPIs you can establish to develop a more effective content performance tracking system.
Semrush Backlink Analytics compares Authority Score to Authority Score to measure the overall quality and SEO performance of a domain or webpage. The neural network algorithm uses machine learning to measure every domain’s authority based on quality, popularity, and backlink signals.
Additional Content Production Metrics
Content Type Specific Metrics
Social media is an awesome content promotion channel with its unique characteristics. Due to the short format of a post, the metrics we use to measure user behavior don’t always apply, which adds meaning to the engagement metrics.
Email Performance Metrics
- Open rate: This metric gives you a lot of information — first and foremost on the relevancy of the content you’re offering and the intrigue behind your subject line.
- Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of recipients who clicked on at least one link in your email out of the total number of emails delivered reflects whether the text of the email was engaging enough to inspire action. It is one of the important indicators of your MOFU content quality and lead nurturing effectiveness.
- Click-to-open rate (CTOR): the number of unique clicks vs unique opens. It provides additional information on whether the email message truly resonated with your audience.
- Unsubscriptions: A kind of email churn rate that refers to the number of people who decided not to receive your emails anymore. It helps you determine the optimal number of email blasts to avoid overloading your readers and define the right segment for each of them.
In addition to the above, key performance indicators—mentioned earlier—are another critical component of performance content success. You can’t accurately measure content performance without having set the proper KPIs. So it’s important to know which performance indicators correspond to which content types.
How to Measure Content Performance: Establishing and Setting Content Marketing KPIs
“If you are not sure if you are dealing with a KPI or a simple metric, do a simple test: imagine that you can double the value of this indicator. If you expect the performance of the business to be increased significantly, then it’s a good KPI for your business context. If not, then it is a simple metric.”
When you’re planning your KPIs, keep the conversion funnel top of mind; you should be able to measure content performance during every step of the conversion funnel. To help you get started, here’s an illustration showing how Portent breaks down content KPIs according to the different stages of the customer journey and their overlap.
Each goal within these journeys has a few ideal KPIs. Some KPIs can be used to measure success across more than one goal. If you’re only interested in one KPI category, use the jump links in the previous bulleted list to skip ahead.
Content Metrics: Conversion KPIs
Transactions & Revenue
For businesses focused on driving e-commerce revenue and transactions through their website, we highly recommend Google Analytics e-commerce tracking. Within those reports, add the secondary dimension of “landing page” to see how many people purchased after touching a piece of content you produced. This metric allows you to discover what copy has the highest transaction or revenue level.
If you use revenue as a KPI, your findings will vary according to how much a customer spends. If you’re just curious about how many people eventually converted after touching your content, and you don’t care how much they wound up spending, use “transactions” instead of “revenue” as the guiding metric.
If you don’t have enough transactions or revenue to see how those figures interact with your content, you can set goals inside Google Analytics that allow you to track conversions without a dollar value. You can see what URLs accomplished which goals you’ve set. A non-monetary goal might be filling out a form, making a phone call, or joining an email list.
Setting up a performance-driven content model
Performance-driven content starts by setting up content lifecycles so that each can be measured, evaluated and then acted upon. To do so, build the following approach into your content publishing model. (For each of these areas, I’ll paraphrase chapters 7 and 8 of my book.)
1. Identify unique content lifecycles
2. Measure content performance
3. Evaluate your content based on the data
4. Reassess your user journey
What if consumers do view the content but don’t convert or take your desired action? Reassess your user and consumer journeys. Ask yourself: Can the consumer easily complete the next step in a journey? Does the consumer find the content helpful or relevant?
5. Reconsider your goals
If you can’t pin down any major issues with the content or user journey, review your objectives and make sure they’re attainable. Perhaps your content is acceptable but is “underperforming” due to unrealistic objectives set by your organisation.
6. Analyse competitor content
Look at competitive sites to see how they use similar content and how their audiences respond to it. For example, does a particular content type seem to result in tonnes of social shares for competitors? Take note of their strategies and look for performance clues. Then, to finalise your assessment, do user testing.
7. Optimise content for better performance
Performance Content Models: 5 keys to success
Having understood a bit more about the model, let’s turn to five key points to stand up a performance-driven model for success. The first three, which focus on data-driven approaches, come from Tom Redman, author of Data Driven: Profiting from Your Most Important Business Asset.
1. “Cast a wide net”
As Tom notes, many organisations place an emphasis on analytics as a sole input. Yet, your Google Analytics data alone isn’t enough to form a comprehensive picture of how your content is performing and why.
Casting a wide net, on the other hand, means leveraging many inputs, including those outlined above in diagram 1-2. Use them as inspiration to build a well-rounded model (based on all inputs) with which you can regularly and accurately assess your content.
2. Take data out of IT departments
It would be best if you had experts in data—analytics practitioners, content strategists, user researchers, search engine optimization (SEO) experts and social media practitioners—to own the definitions and maintenance of data to ensure its quality and integrity.
3. Place a high value on data integrity
Not all data is equal. You must use relevant, quality data—metrics, analytics, and KPIs—for continued success. Investing in good data involves starting with clear objectives for your content and, from those, defining KPIs to measure success.
Remember, a metric should answer as many of the following as possible: who, what, where, when, why, and how. For example, a well-defined goal might be: to increase purchases via our website by 20% within six months.
4. Use roadmaps and start small
Stewart Pratt, former SVP of Strategy & Analysis at DigitasLBi, rightly noted: "Nothing overcomes organizational rigidity and promotes adoption better than success. Any solid roadmap should have a bias towards action, prioritising low-barrier opportunities and celebrating quick wins."
5. Remember the people element
Additionally, remember that consumers provide the most up-to-date information about their needs and behaviours as they change over time. So follow in the footsteps of Netflix, which has historically used what it calls “consumer science” to test new data-driven content ideas with consumers. Never forget that consumer input is essential for defining worthy content focus areas.
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template showing the most important metrics for measuring your website content marketing performance. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
How To Track Content Performance With Google Analytics? (Unique Technique)
That makes almost half the percentage of your potential customers too. Now, if you own a B2B or B2C whichever business, you cannot simply rely on PPC Ads for leads. You really need to have your organic traffic ready. So how will you survive in this cut-throat competitive environment of organic search ranking then?
Here you need some data analysis. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to be an ‘Analytics Ninja’. You just need to know how to analyze your blog performance in the world’s most lovable analytical tool Google Analytics.
Further, in this blog, we’ll be discussing some important content performance KPIs and blog analysis hacks to measure your content success using Scroll Event. We’ll also provide some efficient ready-to-use resources to make your analysis easier. Stay Tuned!
Google Analytics For Content Professionals Especially!
As we already are aware of the importance of content. But, no one will ever know about it, if your keywords are not suitable and ranking. It does matter “How Good & Informative your Content is?” along with the choice of your keywords. All your efforts and knowledge will go in vain if your keywords are not ranking.
1. Check the performance of your Keywords
a.) Using Google Analytics – How?
Note: if the users are not visiting your graph or if you observe huge gaps between subsequent user sessions, then you can conclude that your blogs are not ranking in the Search Engines and may need to be updated. Optimizing blogs to perform better should be your priority.
b.) Using Google Search Console – How?
2. Analyze the performance of your Keywords: Using Google Search Console
Focus on impressions and clicks of your keywords to analyze their performance. If you witness a good number of impressions but lesser clicks, this indicates the low ranking of your blog on Search Engine Results. Hence, you can optimize your blog or content with more trending keywords to rank better in Search Engines.
In the table, you can check how many keywords are there in your content which are getting clicks & high impressions. Basically, clicks indicate that your blog is ranking somewhere on the first page and that is a good indication.
Why First Click Attribution is Important for Measuring the Value of Content Marketing
This is because it’s hard to measure the effects that content has on brand, word of mouth, branded search, and other things that affect the customer journey. So the number of leads your content produces is usually much higher than what any marketer can actually report on.
Last Click Attribution: A Really Low Estimate
Last-click attribution (also known as last-touch attribution), for our purposes, measures a user converting in the same session as landing on the page. It is what most companies use to measure their performance.
But this isn’t great for measuring ROI from content marketing because it doesn’t align with the buyer’s journey. It’s rare that someone would read one piece of content — especially if it’s top or middle of the funnel — and then convert in the same session.
If you’re measuring success only by last click attribution, then you likely have a warped view about what’s working from a content marketing perspective. There are likely only a few posts on your site that are driving “leads” or “conversions” from a user’s last touchpoint. Or in many cases, there may be none at all.
First-Click Attribution: A Better Measure of Content Conversions
First-click attribution (also called first-touch attribution) means a conversion is attributed to the first interaction a user has with your site. It gets us closer to measuring success from how a customer would interact with your content.
A prospect might find out about your company from reading a piece of content, and come back at a later point to convert. If you were just measuring success by last-click attribution, you’d never know that your content influenced the conversion.
How to Set Up the Model Comparison Tool to Get Multi-Touch Conversion Numbers
First things first, make sure you have Google Analytics (GA) goals set up to track some conversion metrics, whether that be contact us form fills, trial signups, email opt-ins, or whatever. Again, the post I referenced above explains how.
This represents how far back GA will look when computing the first click number. So “30 days” means for a conversion that happened in the date window you had set, it’ll look 30 days back to see what was the first touchpoint for that user.
This part is up to you, but we always compare First, Last, and Linear, because those are the most telling in terms of how content leads to conversions. (Honestly, you could just stop at First and Last and you’d be fine.)
Note : You can do this same analysis across other dimensions, like acquisition channels. So you could see, for example, how many conversions are attributable to social media, direct, organic, and paid traffic depending on first, last, and other attribution models.
Email open rate
EJ Mitchell at LiveCareer shares, “We know that our content program has been successful once we see increases in traffic to a specific page. However, it’s almost impossible to see traffic peaks without reaching out to your target audience. At LiveCareer, we usually send our articles to journalists and bloggers interested in career and HR topics. As we know, journalists are busy people who get multiple pitches each week. For our content to stand out, we need to create compelling email subject lines that will encourage people to read our content. Then, we check our email open rate and see how we can improve our subject lines in the future.”
Daivat Dholakia from Force By Mojio explains how to do this further. “Our business model depends on people going to our website and learning who we are. We aren’t as dependent on social media as some other brands. The people who use us mostly find us through our website. Also, we depend on customer retention more than attracting every single potential customer. We work with a small niche and small businesses with fleet services in need of management. This means that it’s integral that those people are able to find us and know what we do,” shares Dholakia.
Unique success metrics
At the end of the day, the content you create is unique to your business. Because of this, the success metrics you decide to track once your content is live will vary and it’s up to you to decide what is most important.
Spencer Grover from LevelJump shares more on this last point by adding, “Content unites the entire sales cycle – it’s a continuous thread. But that means that you need different pieces of content for different things, and expecting one piece to be great across all stages is wildly optimistic. Instead, choose the primary success metric for every piece of content you produce, then optimize for that.”