Content marketing is a smart play in any SEO strategy. After all, it’s a natural way for you to use relevant keywords and it’s how you build an archive of searchable answers. It’s also a great opportunity for you to get in front of your target audience, as content is still the number one ranking factor in SEO. The better your content marketing strategy, the higher you’ll rank in search engines and boost awareness for your brand through organic traffic.
However, content marketing doesn’t live and die on traffic numbers alone. A website that gets thousands of daily visits isn’t successful if visitors just enter the site and leave immediately. Visitors need to take some kind of action for them to be worthwhile visits.
To determine the success of your content marketing strategy, it really boils down to four major KPIs: brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, and sales/conversions.
The Brand Awareness metric tracks how your business is performing on branded search and social media. The thing is, brand awareness can be a vague concept, especially for numbers-driven marketers. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be a guessing game for you to determine results.
To help measure brand awareness, consistently track these metrics:
- Search volume
- Website traffic
- Video views
- Document views
- Social chatter
- Blog shares
- Referral links
Brand recall is a major part that makes up brand awareness, and the metrics above are all good indicators of the overall impact of your content marketing strategy. For instance, referral links bring in new audiences to your site while blog shares help spread awareness about your content.
Whether you’re just writing on-page content or implementing a full-on content marketing strategy, your obvious goal is to not lose your readers because you didn’t meet their expectations when they clicked on your article or case study. Engagement is an important content marketing metric because it indicates that people have a positive impression of your content. When they’re engaged, your content resonates with your target audience and people are taking their time to read articles, social media posts, and other content.
Bounce rate is the most effective KPI to measure how engaged your audience is to your content and how much time they’re actually spending with your content. After all, it doesn’t matter if you have 5,000 page views on your 30-page white paper if the average time spent is only 15 seconds.
Aside from the bounce rate, to check if your audience is engaged, also track the following:
- Likes, shares, tweets, and pins
- Blog comments
These are all good indicators that your content was value-adding, to the point that they wanted to share it with their social circle or they felt the need to inform you. An engaged audience is one that will always find ways to interact with your content after they’re done reading it.
Traffic and engagement provided by your content shouldn’t go to waste. It should move to the next step in the conversion funnel to generate leads and the readers of your content are highly relevant leads for your business.
Top content marketing lead generation metrics to track include:
- Form completions and downloads
- Blog subscriptions
- Email subscriptions
- Landing page conversion rates
Subscriptions enable your audience to view more content from you in the future. When you’re always present in their inboxes, they’ll be more interested to purchase from you in the future. Typically, you create blogs and newsletters to provide readers with free and useful information but when you include CTAs anywhere in your content, readers will click on those when they’re delighted with your content. The more clicks to your landing page, the more leads and conversions.
Sales and Conversions
Of course, the most valuable part of any content marketing strategy is to gain sales or conversions from all of the efforts above. Missing the chord can mean losing the numbers. They matter the most in content marketing, as they ultimately contribute to the bottom line and you prove that content marketing isn’t a tactic that’s just eating into your budget.
For KPIs to track:
- Focus on the sales metrics by keeping track of your e-Commerce system
- Final thank you page conversion rate
- Online sales
- Offline sales
- Manual reporting and anecdotes
Once you measure your content marketing’s effect on sales growth, it will take some initial adjusting to weed out the marketing and channels that do drive sales. However, measuring your sales growth is crucial to the overall and long-term health of your company. Not only is it a good indicator when it comes to strategic planning, but it also allows you to identify growth trends and how you can further improve your strategy.
Other Content Marketing KPIs You Can Measure
1. Number of unique visits
Unique visits are one of the most standard measures to determine the number of individuals who have viewed your content within a given time period. This KPI gives you a good baseline for which to compare various trends and forms of content over time. You can also make better decisions about content strategies for the specific pages they visit and for the visitors themselves.
When measuring unique visits, segment the visitors based on their actions on your site so you’ll know where to focus your efforts when generating traffic. For instance, if you find that your case study pages aren’t getting as many unique visits as you want, step up your efforts to promote them, perhaps by further optimizing the pages or linking them to your social media accounts.
Having a good grasp of where your content is being read is crucial to understand the needs of your audience and how you can further connect with them. For instance, if you have a good chunk of readers from a specific region, you can come up with articles that talk about their locale or recent events in their area. Geographic information also helps content marketers optimize for the locations that are most important to their organization – and ultimately, their bottom line.
3. Mobile readership
Mobile devices generated 51.92 per cent of global website traffic in the first quarter of 2020. It’s great to know how many page views and unique visits your content is getting but it’s also crucial to know how they’re accessing your content. If a good percentage of your readers are reading on mobile devices, then this is a good signal for you to start making your website more mobile-friendly. This allows you to optimize your site’s design and the structure of your content for future posts and publications, allowing your readers to have a great user experience while on your site. If they can navigate your content easily, they’re sure to re-visit.
4. Inbound Links
One of the major goals of content marketing is getting inbound links and emerging as an authority in one’s industry. Inbound links also boost your rankings on search engines, driving free targeted traffic from various different websites.
To gain more inbound links, determine the topics that are important to players in your industry and then craft your content strategy around those topics. This will inevitably result in increased traffic, improved brand awareness, and new high-value leads.
To achieve a high ROI with content marketing, you need to understand your audience, generate brand awareness, produce content that is tailored to your audience, and ultimately make those conversions with your content. An effective content marketing strategy will significantly increase your brand’s reach and position you as an authoritative presence in your industry. Measuring the KPIs above and understanding how each one contributes to your success will ultimately help you generate leads and improve your bottom line.