We all know the importance of Content Marketing. We know that when executed well it can help you attract your right target audience and that it can help them turn into leads as a result of your engaging content. But how do you know that you’re on the right track?
Content Marketing Metrics is all about measuring your content and the impact it has on your organisation. It is about measuring the results and taking actions based upon it.
As more and more businesses are getting on board the Content Marketing train and spending ever greater portions of their budget on creating content, they must know that their investments are aligned with their goals with their KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). This is the only way for them to keep their budget secure.
They need to measure what matters, not just what’s easy to track.
In an earlier post, we already talked about getting started with defining your Content Marketing KPI’s. And as you might remember, it starts with determining your business and marketing goals. Based on those you can select the metrics that will be the most effective for you to track your progress towards achieving these goals.
Over the last couple of years, there has been an explosion of metrics and analytics tools, and a lot of these tools might scare off the average Joe a bit. However, as these tools mature and become easier to understand, it’s becoming easier than ever for everyone in your organisation to look into and understand how agile, metrics-focused marketing works.
Below we’ve compiled a list of the essential tools, tactics, and items to measure, so you too can understand better how your content is performing and if not, what to do about it. We’ve grouped them together in the four most important pillars for you to track:
- Consumption Metrics
- Sharing Metrics
- Lead Generation Metrics
- Sales Metrics
For a lot of companies, the consumptions metrics are the most important one. However, on our list, we start with the least important one. Although it is interesting to know how many people consumed your content, this is not a metric that is important.
Of course, if you’re running an advertised based product, this is an important metric to show to your advertisers, but in the end, consumption metrics are just vanity metrics. Metrics that may look important, but if can only move to the right and the top.
Questions you need to ask yourself for these metrics:
- How many people are consuming your content?
- Which channels are they using?
- How frequently and how in-depth is their consumption?
You can gather this data by looking into your Google Analytics for example. Things that are more important than just mere views here are the way people are consuming. In your Google Analytics, have a look at:
- The time spend on site (important to know if they only spent 2 minutes on a page that has an article that typically takes 20 minutes to read, maybe you should structure the article better, include more visuals and subheadings?)
- How many pages are viewed on average
- Crawl rate (how often are the search robots coming back to your website to index you again)
- Bounce rate (how many people visit just one page and leave again, maybe you can include “related articles” in your content, or more internal links to keep people exploring more content)
- The number of Inbound Links (how many people are linking to your website and are thus helping in to bring traffic, you can check this using the Open Site Explorer from Moz.
Once you’ve identified these five items for your organisation though, don’t stop there. The next step is to see how active people are engaging with your content.
Sharing or Social Metrics
Social media, one of those things that can be scary and great at the same time. So much data, you can quickly get drowned. Between engagement, reach, or even metrics like “share of voice”, social media can deliver you a lot of information without you going anywhere.
Just like with consumption metrics, it is easy to lose track as well from the things that are relevant to your business. Having a bunch of likes on your Facebook page, and followers on your Twitter account is nice, but does it matter?
Those people were liking and following you need to do a bit more than just that. They need to engage with your content; they need to share it, they need to respond to it, etc. Those people who liked your page also need to follow your call-to-action (CTA) you put in place.
So just like with the consumption metrics, you need to measure things, which you can attach a meaning to, things that can help you make informed decisions. As Avinash Kaushik puts it, there are four important things to track; conversation rates, amplification rates, applause rate, and economic value.
The Conversation Rate helps you to understand better how your audience feels about your content. It can be defined by looking at the number of comments (or replies) per post. It helps to bring engagement, to nurture your leads, answer any questions that people might have about your product or services and provide support that could then result in user retention.
The Amplification Rate is another one that can help you measure something intangible as brand awareness. It shows how often people like your content well enough, find it interesting enough that they would want their peers to know about it too. It illustrates how often and how far your content gets shared and the reach it gets as a result. Next to that from a direct ROI point of view, it is a great indicator to tell you what content you should be creating and on what channels to focus on.
The Applause rate identified by Kaushik is the number of “endorsements” people are giving your posts. These can be seen as the “likes” on Facebook and Instagram, or the “favourites” on Twitter for example. If you simple measure this it will not tell you that much (on Twitter there are even bots who like anything with a particular phrase in there in the hopes that person or brand will look at their profile and start following you). But if you use this in relation with the Amplification Rate, it can be another indicator of what your community likes and doesn’t like.
The Economic value at the end is showing you what social sites are driving the most traffic to your landing pages for example. Where are they coming from? Measuring this type of behaviour will show you, which networks are converting better than others. After all, according to research done by digital marketing agency ODM Group, 74% of consumers rely on social networks to help them make a purchase decision.
Tools like Buffer and Followerwonk, for example, help you to extract this information from your profiles.
Lead Generation Metrics
At one point in the life of a potential lead, they have to convert. They have register somewhere via a CTA somewhere to read/watch/download your content. Or even via a plain old contact form on your website.
At this point in the life cycle, we can start to put a projected dollar amount on what we’re doing, and we can see if all your efforts make financial sense.
If you’ve got an online lead form on your site, you can measure how long it takes for people to fill in the form from the moment they first visit your website, like we build up visitor profiles here at Inbound Rocket. If your leads are mostly coming in via phone, and you’ve got a modern Voice over IP (VoIP) system with multiple phone numbers at your disposal, you can show a different phone number on various parts of the website. Or even different phone numbers after your visitors took certain actions, like watching a video, downloading a playbook, etc.
The key questions you need to figure out, what is your:
- Click-Through-Rate (CTR). The CTR is used to determine how well your CTA’s are performing. It is expressed as a percentage and calculated by the total number of clicks divided by the total number of views
- Conversion Rate (CR). The CR is used to calculate the rate at which users perform an intended action (for example, make a purchase, download a playbook, sign up for your newsletter, etc.). You then calculate the total numbers of leads by the total number of visitors.
- Time to Conversion. How long does it take from the moment someone sees your content for the first time, to them turning into a paying customer. Although it might not seem that important, it is an important number because it helps to determine the response time of various leads to a particular lead generation campaign.
- Average Close Rate. The final question is about keeping track of the quality of your leads at any given period to help you determine if you’re attracting high-quality leads (with high conversion potential) or not
All the metrics up until now have been working up to the final moment. The time that you are finally making real money and hopefully turning into a profit for your company.
When you’re using Inbound Rocket for tracking your customer, you’re automatically recording all the information you need about these potential leads. What content are they consuming, what types of content do they seem most interested in, etc. This will help your sales team to come up with warm welcome emails or phone calls to your prospects so they can turn them from leads into paying customers.
In return when the sale has been made, and the final dollar amount is known, you can then use this information to put a value on the pieces of content that helped shape the sales. Let’s say someone consumed five pieces of content and the total amount of money spend on your company is $150,000. This then means you can assign a theoretical value of $30,000 for each piece of content. Knowing how much the actual Return On Investment (ROI) of each piece of content is.
Knowing how much content is consumed, and which content is consumed by a customer is crucial for this final step.
If you know the answer to all of the above fourteen metrics, you have a solid overview of your content marketing system. You can use Excel, Google Sheets, or any other tool of your choice to track, record and review over time how you’re doing. Especially the tracking over time is important if you want to adequately judge how your content marketing is doing and which types of content is performing better than others.
You can put a dollar amount per individual piece, as well as an amount of money generated on the total of all your content efforts.
Content isn’t just about creating and waiting for sales to drop in automatically. So don’t only track consumption. The most important thing at the end of the day is that your business is making money, and the only way to grow your business is knowing where to get the highest amount of returns with the least amount of effort.
How are you tracking your performance in your organisation? And how are you keeping track of your progress? Leave a comment below!