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With its ability to generate website traffic and engage a wide customer base, content marketing is a smart strategy for many businesses. If you don’t track metrics for your content marketing, however, you’ll never know how much of an impact your marketing efforts have on your business. Learn how you can use some of the following content marketing metrics and tools to measure your success and return on investment, ROI.
Image via Flickr by yukop
When you’re measuring metrics, you’ll gain the most by starting at the beginning. Tracking consumption answers some of the most essential questions about your content, such as how people consumed your content, how many website page views you received, and how many total downloads a white paper earned, for example.
For website metrics, Google Analytics represents the industry standard. To get started with Google Analytics, create an account, insert the tracking code on your website, and start analyzing the metrics.
Google Analytics offers countless ways to track your content marketing success, but most marketers start with the basics. Track page views to understand how your website traffic changes over time and how the content you post influences traffic. Google Analytics allows tracking by hour, day, week, and month, so you can discover the most popular times of day for website visitors or get the bigger picture by looking at page views throughout an entire month. Since Google Analytics allows you to measure views for each page of your website, you can easily track the success of different types of content.
Next, take a closer look at the amount of time that each user spends on your site. If your site attracts many views, but each user spends only a few seconds on your site, your content might not have the effect you want. Along the same lines, the bounce rate reflects the percentage of single-page sessions that your site generates. A high bounce rate indicates that users don’t tend to explore your site beyond their first click, a behavior you may be able to improve with better internal links.
While tracking consumption is only the beginning, these metrics shed light on how well your content attracts views.
For most content marketers, consumption is only one element of measuring content marketing. After all, page views go only so far toward helping you meet your business goals. Start tracking engagement to learn how and why your audience takes action in response to your content. Keep in mind that passive readers may never help you meet your goals, but engaged audience members have the potential to become paying customers or convince others to do so.
When measuring engagement, marketers often rely on social media metrics. On each platform your brand uses, track the number of likes, shares, and comments for all posts. These metrics can help you understand everything from the best times to post for maximum engagement, the types of content that will most likely engage your audience, and the engagement methods your audience prefers to use.
You can measure social engagement for free by using the built-in analytics for platforms like Facebook and Twitter. To track analytics for all platforms at once, or to take a more focused look at certain metrics, consider using paid services such as Hootsuite or Buffer. As your audience grows and your content improves, you should expect to see an overall increase in engagement.
No matter how large your audience is or how often you post on your social platforms, however, generating engagement can be impossible without solid content to share. That’s why partnering with an experienced team of writers, editors, campaign managers, and infographic designers is key. When you work with an experienced team like the CopyPress creatives, you can be assured that great content — ranging from blog posts to white papers and infographics — can improve your brand’s engagement metrics.
While consumption metrics report the size and health of your audience, and engagement metrics chart your audience’s interactions with your brand, conversion metrics divulge how well you’re transforming audience members into customers. After all, you can produce only so much great content before you need both leads and sales to move business forward.
Depending on the goals you’ve set for your business, you’ll want to track a number of data points. To track leads, create lead capture forms that prompt website users to give their contact information. Use Google Analytics to set goals that measure how well the content on your website helps you meet your goals. Set goals like content downloads and newsletter sign-ups; track the tool’s goal conversion rate to get a better sense of how well your website is performing.
Google Analytics is also a useful tool for tracking how well your content contributes to your sales funnel. This tool can also go the extra mile and find ways to optimize your content. For instance, you can track assisted conversions to measure the monetary value of each piece of content. From this point, you can design subsequent marketing campaigns based on your best performing content.
High quality content isn’t free, but once you understand how that content drives conversions, creates leads, and generates sales, you’ll know how much valuable content is worth to your brand. For many businesses, blog posts that are thoroughly researched, well-written, and posted on a consistent schedule are key to driving sales. For B2B brands and companies in a niche industry, gated content, such as an expert level white paper or an in-depth e-book, is ideal for generating leads.
When tracking conversions, remember that metrics can differ greatly from business to business, so it’s important to optimize ROI for your brand. The nature of your business, your audience composition, the goals you’ve set, and the value you’ve placed on each conversion should inform your metrics and guide your content marketing strategy.
Great content can help your business build its brand, meet its sales goals, and more. In order to build a successful content marketing program, however, you’ll need to know what you’re measuring first. Start tracking consumption, engagement, conversion, and ROI to make sure your business achieves the success you’ve projected.