Content Marketing Analytics: What Should You Be Tracking?
When it comes to tracking the effectiveness of your content marketing, there are numerous metrics you can consider. Some of the most common ones you hear about range from the number of pageviews, bounce rates, and average time spent on page, to social shares, search traffic, etc.
All of these are great tools you can use to track the quality and reach of your content efforts and I do not discredit any of them. In fact, I encourage you to continue tracking these numbers.
That being said, at the end of the day you need to know whether your content is able to make a positive impact on your bottom numbers. Otherwise, why are you expending efforts and paying writers to create content? It may be that you choose to create content to educate your prospects, but that does not change the fact that all business efforts should be contributing in some form to the generation of revenue, the success of your business.
To help you understand the impact of your content, we’ve broken down the key content analytics that impact your bottom numbers into three particular areas: your content’s ability to create leads, to generate revenue, and to yield a return relative to cost. Within each focal point we explore several content marketing metrics that will help you understand where in the funnel your content is having a positive impact and where it could use improvement.
In terms of content marketing analytics, the lead metrics can reveal how well your content is able to generate demand. Specifically, they can reveal how well your content is able to create leads and how well it can nurture those leads.
The ability to generate leads through content efforts can be a huge benefit if you know how to make it work for you. When executed correctly, the cost per lead generated from content is generally lower and the quality of leads generated can be higher than that of paid channels.
Ultimately, the purpose of lead metrics is to track each time a lead can be attributed to a particular piece of content. Depending on the platform you use, there are a few different ways to accomplish this.
If you are a Google Analytics user, you‘ll want to keep track of the number of goal completions. Google Analytics allows you to create goals that can measure the extent to which you accomplish your target objectives through your website’s content.
For example, you can track the total number of conversions relative to the goals you set for newsletter signups, white paper downloads, or blog post views. To calculate the goal conversion rate simply take your total number of goal completions and divide it by the total number of sessions.
For Salesforce users, you can track your content’s ability to generate demand with campaign tracking and reporting. By creating a campaign for every piece of content, you can set your marketing automation system to automatically attribute a lead to a campaign whenever a marketing event occurs.
For example, when you assign a campaign to a blog post, you can track the progress of any lead who opens it as he or she proceeds through the marketing funnel and eventually converts to a contact or opportunity. As such, you’ll be able to track how many leads were generated from a single piece of content and whether those leads resulted in further actions later in the funnel.
In addition, Salesforce can generate reports that further analyze your campaigns. These reports can tell you the number of new and existing leads that are generated from a piece of content, which content helped convert leads lower into the funnel, and if there are any particular areas of the funnel where you do not have sufficient content.
Creating demand is important, but it’s only the half way point. Unless you can show that your content efforts are able to deliver a measurable value to the business, your content marketing team may not make it into next year’s budget. As such, you will want to continue to track your content efforts all the way through to bottom of the funnel activities. To do so, you need to track your content’s ability to generate revenue. The following metrics can help you accomplish this.
As you track your content marketing analytics, make sure you don’t overlook assisted conversions. After a particular piece of content is viewed, consider how many leads and contacts were converted. You can track this on a goal-by-goal basis but for purposes of revenue you’ll want to track how many resulted in an actual transaction. Doing so will tell you the monetary value of the conversions that were assisted by a content piece.
Another way you can think about assisted conversions is by asking how much revenue was influenced by content. You are finding the actual dollar amount, or percentage, of the revenue from closed-won opportunities where one or more pieces of content were consumed by the contact associated with said opportunity before it closed. You can also use this metric to find the number of conversions that occurred where your content was the final interaction.
Pipeline Revenue Generated
Again, this metric narrows your results to only those opportunities that went into pipeline. It is used to find the total dollar amount of pipeline that was generated from prospects that found you through your content. You can also use it to measure the percentage of pipeline for closed-won opportunities that a single piece of content was responsible for.
Time to Purchase
Like the sales cycle, this metric will provide the total number of days it took a user to complete a purchase. Equipping yourself with this metric will keep your content marketers informed as to when certain content should be introduced during a particular stage.
3. Yielding a Return Relative to Cost
In addition to tracking your content’s ability to generate demand, nurture leads, and close sales, you should be tracking certain cost metrics as a way to analyze the production efficiency of your content marketing. In other words, you need to stay aware of the actual financial costs to produce and distribute content relative to how much revenue it is able to generate.
Production Cost per Post
Tracking this metric won’t be difficult if you use freelancers to write content (just look at their invoices). Tracking full time internal staff, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult. You may want to consider salary/hourly pay, number of content pieces produced over a certain time period, employee benefits, office expenses, etc.
Distribution Cost per Post
As we progress further into the Era of the Internet, the amount of content produced online has grown into some astronomically infinite number. The demand to produce more content online has thus resulted in a continuous increase in the cost to distribute it online. Some important distribution costs you should keep on your radar include:
- How many dollars per hour do you pay for time spent promoting content on social media?
- What is the dollars per hour amount that you pay for time spent reaching out to influencers to have them notice your content?
- Don’t forget to factor in costs for any native advertising networks you use.
Return on Investment
Never forget, your ROI is the one metric that matters most to the individuals who control your budget. As such, you need to know how to calculate your content marketing’s ROI so you can be cognizant of which metrics need the most improvement.
To calculate ROI, start by finding the dollar amount of revenue that was generated by a particular piece of content (discussed above). Divide this number by the sum of the content piece’s production cost plus the distribution cost. Ultimately, you want this metric to yield a result that is greater than 1, which means that your content was profitable from a sales perspective. If the ratio is less than 1, however, you may want to consider adjusting the quality or quantity of content produced.
That being said, remember that there are many other variables that can influence revenue. As you measure your content analytics, consider whether your marketing automation system allows for multiple attribution. If more than one campaign becomes associated with a lead record and that lead converts to a closed-won opportunity, that campaign may have only been responsible for a percentage of the revenue generated. Of course other variables can include the experience of your sales team, customer reviews, quality of product or service, etc.
MONEYBALL FOR SALES AND MARKETING
MARKETING CONTENT MANAGEMENT BUYER’S GUIDE
HOW TO BUILD A SALES PORTAL