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7 Most Important Metrics in Content Marketing

Content marketing can be a highly effective way to generate and convert leads. However, it will only deliver the desired results if it stays relevant in changing times. To get the most out of content marketing, you have to constantly tweak and improve your strategy to meet the evolving needs and expectations of your target consumers. To do this, of course, you need to have the necessary information.

By keeping track of your content marketing metrics, you will obtain valuable insights that can help you optimize your content strategy for greater visibility and higher sales. You will know which aspects of your strategy are working or not working, how your customers are responding to your marketing efforts, and what you can do to get better results. Make a point to regularly monitor and analyze these seven content marketing metrics.

Time Spent on Your Website

Image via Flickr by wwarby

The amount of time your customers spend on your website is a good indicator of their interest in your content. In general, Internet users have short attention spans, making it harder for businesses and marketers to engage and convert them. The longer you can make your visitors stay on your website, the higher your chances of converting them.

If you keep track of your time-on-site metric and compare it across different pages, you should be able to find ways to keep your visitors around longer. If your visitors are spending more time on your website but you are not generating more leads, examine your calls to action to see if there is something you can do to encourage your customers to take the next step.

Retention

Retention metrics show your website’s ability to hold the attention and interest of your audience. The main metric for evaluating retention is the percentage of visitors returning to your site and individual pieces of content. You will also want to keep track of the frequency of returns because it will give you a clearer insight into the relationships you have developed with your customers and your status as a trusted authority. If your customers return to your website after their first visits, they are more likely to become regular visitors.

Total Leads

Lead generation is probably the main reason you invest in content marketing. Monitor your lead metric by looking at the number of leads coming from various kinds of form completions, including email subscriptions, offer opt-ins, and trial signups.

You should also keep an eye on your lead closure rate. If you do not already have one, consider investing in a customer relationship management or multi-touch attribution system that enables you to know which leads specifically result from your content marketing efforts. This way, you can monitor your leads from the time they are generated until the time they close.

Call to Action Click-Through Rates

While knowing where your leads come from and how they close can improve your content marketing results and sales process, you need some additional data to determine where to make changes. If you want better lead closure and conversion rates, take a step back in your marketing funnel process to see if you should start by creating better calls to action. Use the click-through rates of different calls to action to find out how each piece of content is performing throughout your funnel. Also, determine whether they are causing a bottleneck that hinders your customers from progressing through the funnel.

In addition, you should look at how your content is placed in relation to the buyer’s journey and your funnel. Content pieces that are specifically created to acquire new customers should be placed at the top of the funnel, while those meant for building relationships should be in the middle. Make sure your calls to action are appropriate for the final stage of the funnel.

Social Shares

Image via Flickr by Bovee and Thill

It is also important that you track the number of social shares every piece of your content garners. Social media can be a powerful tool for lifting your brand, and this metric is a strong measure of the relevance of your content to your target audience. Use your best-performing content pieces to set benchmarks for new pieces so that you will know what to expect and what your customers like to see. There are many plug-ins and other tools you can use to simplify social sharing and get comprehensive information on your social shares.

Direct Post Engagement

Data analytics may not be sufficient to provide an accurate measurement of the performance of your content. You also need to look at qualitative metrics to better understand what your customers like and dislike, and what types of content spark the best discussions.

To find out what your readers think of your content, look at your content’s direct post engagement. Ideally, each piece of your content should be a gateway to a lively and growing community. Compare the direct post engagement and comment sections of your content pieces with those of other pieces published alongside them. This will give you a better idea of their performance.

Cost

You should always keep a close eye on the return on investment (ROI) of your content marketing plan. To determine the cost-effectiveness of your content marketing efforts, calculate and compare the cost of producing and distributing each piece of content versus the value of each lead when it closes. For more accurate calculations, make sure you take into account intangible costs such as the overhead expenses incurred in using your computer or other equipment and the value of the amount of time spent on creating your content.

While content marketing is often seen as a creative field, it also requires the organizational and analytical skills of a scientist. Though data may not directly touch the hearts of your target consumers, it can help you better understand their behaviors and the effectiveness of your current content marketing strategy. A content marketing strategy with the optimal balance between art and science is the key to achieving business success and growth in today’s multifaceted world.

About the author

John Hsu