70+ Content Analysis Experts on the Key Metrics to Measure for Content Marketing Success
For years, many businesses believed that content marketing couldn’t be measured. As data and analytics became increasingly widespread and integrated with all things digital – including content marketing – there’s no question that you can prove the ROI of your content, as well as many other metrics. In fact, if anything, marketers may have too many metrics to choose from when determining the best KPIs for measuring content marketing success.
The truth is there are myriad metrics to gauge, from shares and retweets to time spent on page, bounce rate, conversions, leads, comments, visitors, and the list goes on. So what should marketers look to when seeking the most important metric that gives insight into whether a particular campaign is meeting expectations? Is there a single content analysis metric across the board or even for an individual campaign, or is it critical to analyze a breadth of metrics to determine success?
To dig deeper into these questions and find out what KPIs reveal the most insight into the success of content marketing campaigns, we asked a panel of content marketers and analytics pros to answer this question:
“Which KPI or key metric in content analytics should businesses/marketers focus on as the single best indicator of a successful content marketing campaign?”
Find out what our experts had to say below.
Meet Our Panel of Content Analysis Experts:
Baruch Kogan works in marketing for Bontact, a multi-channel communication tool that enables your site visitors to communicate with you through live chat, callback, text, and email.
“From my perspective, the most important metric of a piece of content or a content marketing campaign is…”
Follow-on engagement, by which I mean how many readers/viewers started a conversation, converted to a lead, or bought something?
It is great that a piece of content gets reads, likes, retweets, reads, etc. But these are only tangentially related to its reason for existing. Marketing content exists in order to get people interested in a company’s products and services. What you really want to know is: How many people who consumed your content became interested enough in what you’re selling to ask you a question?
It’s like putting a cool piece of art outside your brick and mortar store. It’s nice that people look at it, but what is really essential is how many of them stop what they’re doing and come inside.
Oren Greenberg is a digital marketing consultant and Managing Director of Kurve, based in London, U.K., which is focused on helping high-growth startups and medium to large-sized businesses with their digital marketing efforts. Previously, Greenberg was the head of search at Wonga.com and a digital marketing agency owner. Today he helps businesses with their search engine marketing, content marketing, and digital strategies.
“Different pieces of content have different purposes depending on the focus on the buyer’s cycle…”
Actually targeting a cost-per-lead or sale value to all pieces of content is ineffective. Using the inbound methodology when you are creating content for users in the awareness phase, you want to consider views and time on page. When looking at visitors in the consideration phase, then lead capture information is the most effective metric. Naturally, content focused on the conversion phase should focus on those. The ROI should be calculated for both the campaign length as a whole as well as individual content pieces. It’s important to differentiate your owned, on-site content from promotional content; although the end goal is the same, the methodology for tracking them should be different. For instance, with external content links SEO is an additional metric to consider as well as social sharing as part of a total share-of-voice in the market. On-site content, on the other hand, is really about pushing your visitors down your sales funnel.
Matt runs sales and marketing at Sauce, which provides customer segmentation and personalization for retailers. Sauce empowers marketers to build advanced segments of customers based on all their data and keep them in-sync with their favorite marketing tools in real-time.
“To really measure the success of your content, it has to be measured by one of two things…”
Either average time on page or conversion rate. If your content is designed to get readers to click, a call-to-action then the conversion rate on that action will reveal the effectiveness of that particular piece of content.
If the content is designed to be simply be read, then the writer should know how long it would take a visitor to read on average. You can measure success against the average time on page, thus showing the proportion of people actually reading it.
All other metrics are vanity metrics.
Jay is the Chief Marketing Officer at Yooniko, a personal branding market network platform launching this year. With 25 years of experience in building brands and understanding important user needs, he focuses on creating satisfying and productive customer experiences. His sweet spot is the intersection of marketing strategy and technology.
“The most important KPIs in content marketing campaigns are…”
Marketers have to focus relentlessly on identifying the best-performing content so they can continually tweak the content strategy and make sure they squeeze every conversion or lead that they can out of the campaign. So while the rest of the business is mainly concerned with the return on the marketing investment dollar, the marketer has to look beyond those metrics that only tell today’s story and carefully track the conversion or leads generated per piece of content.
Marketers use this data to direct future creative development and placement — ensuring that every piece of content gets closer and closer to the ideal state of “I can’t hold back from clicking” content that truly satisfies the customer need. And it’s not as easy as just knowing which pieces convert well but having the insight into your customer to know why they do and how to create more content that can continue to outperform for your customers in terms of utility while also providing conversions and leads for the business.
Dayne Shuda is the Founder of Ghost Blog Writers, which provides blogging services for businesses.
“The best metric for content marketing efforts is still…”
The inquiry. Other metrics can tell you how well various tactics are working to get people to your site. You can track traffic and referrals, but ultimately you’re looking for inquiries. And you can track inquiries and how they found you by simply asking them: “How did you hear about us?” or “How did you find out about us?”
Sometimes you’ll get the answer, “Google.” But dig a little deeper and they might tell you that they searched for your brand name on Google most recently, but you’ll find that a couple of months earlier they downloaded your industry study, read your guest post on that industry blog, or listened to you as a guest on that industry podcast.
Business is about getting new business. All marketing is aimed at getting inquiries, and it’s not that difficult to track if you just ask new inquiries how they found you.
Jodie Shaw is the Chief Marketing Officer for The Alternative Board.
“If I was to choose only one KPI to measure my content effectiveness it would be…”
Shares. The number of shares tells you how valuable and relevant your content is. When someone shares your content, it means your audience found it useful, interesting and worthwhile. They are also telling you they trust you as a source of information – enough to share it with their network. The number of shares also helps drive results, because the more shares the greater the reach and the greater the reach of your content, the more likely it will expose newer audiences to your message or brand. Shares are the equivalent to digital word of mouth – which most marketers will agree is still the most powerful form of advertising you can get.
Leslie June is a content marketer for BlankMediaPrinting.com.
“The best key performance indicator of a successful content marketing campaign is ultimately…”
A conversion, specifically measured through the attribution model and goals in Google Analytics.
The attribution model reveals the steps a reader takes before converting. For example, a user visits a blog you shared through a social network, comes back a few days later from your email campaign, and later that week returns again to directly make a purchase – your goal has been completed, and the attribution model tracks and credits each touchstone in the user’s conversion path.
These analytics are critical in measuring the success, value, and ROI of your content marketing campaign. If your content doesn’t pull in customers, or, worse – if you don’t know how to track which content converts, then you need to spend time setting up goals and viewing the attribution models in your analytics to have a successful content marketing campaign – one that converts.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.
“When it comes to KPIs for your content marketing campaign, there are three major factors…”
Reach, Engagement, and Sentiment. The most critical of the three is Engagement. The goal of a content marketing campaign is to create amazing and engaging content that is beneficial to your audience. The key is to get your audience to read, talk about and then share your content. If you get people to engage with your content, the traffic, sales and grow will happen.
Brian Stumbaugh is the Digital Marketing Manager for Barefoot Solutions, a web and app development company located in San Diego, CA.
“When running our content marketing campaigns, the top three KPIs we focus on are…”
Shares, traffic, and form fills. We focus on each one for a different reason. Shares are measured to find our overall reach for the campaign, traffic is measured so that we have accurate conversion data, and form fills to find if the content actually generated any leads or just drove non-converting traffic. We measure dozens of other KPIs, but we’ve found these 3 are the best indicators of campaign success.
Jean H. Paldan is an American transplant living in Oxford, U.K. where she is the MD of Rare Form, a full service marketing firm that she opened in 1998. Yes, the 90s. She is an avid gamer, photographer, lover of Jack Daniels, reader of science fiction, and digs on shiny new tech.
“What I would consider a very important data point for one client, will be…”
Completely different for another. That being said, there is one data point that I consider the essence of whether an online campaign is working, and that is the bounce rate. If people are coming to your site, and they leave on the first page, that’s marketing gone wrong. The point of driving an online marketing campaign is to get your visitors to take action. If they leave on the first page, you have to change your tactics to make them stay. A sticky website is a website that works.
For example, Widget company wants to get more clients or sell more of a product. They produce a strategic online campaign that is geared at getting their target audience to their website, naturally through SEO, a small AdWords campaign, and using retargeting. Graphics and a language are created, and the online campaign is launched. To track how well it is doing, you can view the number of visitors that are coming, from where, and watch their flow once they are on the site. However, the end goal is always for them to take action once they are on your website. If the bounce rate is high, then that campaign needs to be tweaked and fast. Maybe the graphics and language are not speaking to your audience, and maybe it needs to be more geographically targeted. The bottom line is to make the changes that get people to go past page one, and sell that product or service.
Daniel DiGriz is Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides marketing leadership for brands that want more clientele. Daniel is author of All Marketing is Dead, and is the external Marketing Director for multiple organizations. His ideas have appeared in Inc., SmartBlog, MediaPost, and Success Magazine, and he is a frequent presenter at thought leadership conferences.
“You need a mix of at least…”
Two analytics metrics to draw any conclusions. Ideally, that’s Traffic Sources and Conversions, which amounts to inputs and outputs. Traffic Sources tells you what marketing channels are generating leads and whether the trend is up or down. Conversions tell you the rate of desirable behaviors once they hit your site, and let you look for gaps in getting people to take the desired action.
Properly measuring conversions requires first determining what you want to know, or how much insight you want into your leads’ behaviors and attitudes. There’s some technical configuration between Google Analytics and your website, to attach identifiers those measurable behaviors (e.g. download buttons or links, contact forms, or shopping carts, etc.). You can get a lot of information by comparing multiple conversion measures.
If you track micro-conversions like PDF downloads or items added to a cart, that can give you insights into where the gaps lie in getting people to macro-conversions like completing a checkout or contacting you. The micro-conversions are about positive behaviors that don’t necessarily result in a sale vs. macro-conversions that do. In the short term, if you don’t have the time, strategic guidance, or technical knowledge to set up conversion tracking properly, a simple substitute is Engagement Time. It’s not as useful to know how long people spend on your site but, in the absence of specific Conversion measurements, it can provide some immediate insights. Just make sure to filter for spam referrers which can artificially skew your numbers.
Matt Casady is an Online Marketing Specialist at Big Leap. He has a background in advertising and specializes in local search and content marketing.
“We use two different top indicators to determine the success of a content marketing campaign…”
It depends on the type of content we’re promoting.
If we’re promoting a quiz or whitepaper the data point we use to determine if it’s a successful campaign is how many referrals and leads the piece generates. It’s easy to include lead capture forms at the end of quizzes or with whitepapers, both of which allow us to see how many leads a piece generated and therefore how successful the piece was.
With guest posts and infographics, our top indicator of the success of the pieces is how many new quality links they garner for our client’s site which in turn helps build our client’s overall site authority.
Brett Bastello is an SEO Manager with Inseev Interactive, a full service digital marketing company located in sunny San Diego.
“Being that my team mainly focuses on white hat link building, our number one KPI is…”
Number of LRDs (linking root domain) earned per piece of content.
While social shares and forum posts are great auxiliary metrics, social signals are only a minor factor Google considers when presenting a SERP to a user, as opposed to LRDs, which is the number one influencing factor, as per the most recent Moz study.
Max is the Creative Strategy Director for Online Optimism, a marketing agency based out of New Orleans, Louisiana.
“The number one KPI in content analytics to be considered the single best indicator of a successful content marketing campaign is…”
Shares. The most engaged a user can be with a campaign is sharing. Comments and likes are great KPI’s as well, but they are not the best at segmenting dedicated users. Those who share content are the most dedicated to that content and most loyal to that brand. Why else would they actively share an image, video or other content? By analyzing the demographics of who shared the content, a brand can best focus its efforts to those who are early adopters, influencers, and superusers.
JC Cavanaugh is a conversion rate optimizer who looks at all marketing channels and develops data-driven strategies to increase efficiencies and conversion rates. Find him at CleverConversions.com.
“In content marketing, there are several important KPIs to consider…”
Creating a solid content campaign is a great way to get back links to your website, prove you’re the expert in your niche and add value to your customers. Your content marketing strategy must have specific goals that are measurable and actionable for it to be effective and scalable.
Let’s say you created a content marketing campaign to drive customers to your financial planing business. You pushed out 15 strong pieces of content that covered a variety of keywords and topics, but you need to know which was most effective in growing your business.
One of the most important pieces in a successful content marketing strategy is content promotion and sharing. Promoting your content should take 80% of your time while 20% of your time should be in creating it. Sharing is the single most valuable action viewers of your content can take.
How do you know which content is getting shared the most? Setting up social share buttons can help measure how many times this has taken place. This is a great KPI, which is often referred to as content vitality and velocity.
The more valuable and shareable your content is the more successful your campaign. Content that is shareable often tells an emotional story, is a powerful resource, or adds value to followers of those who share it. BuzzSumo is a great tool to discover what type of content is getting shared and which influencers are sharing it the most.
Nenad Cuk works in-house at Davinci Virtual Office Solutions and focuses on internet marketing. His main focus is on educating entrepreneurs and businesses on the benefits of their virtual office, virtual receptionist service, and hourly conference room rentals. Learn more at Davinci Meeting Rooms.
“One thing I will say we have focused on with our internet marketing efforts is looking at…”
Bounce rates, visit duration, and next page destinations users go to after reading the content. So once we get them on the page we want users to come to, we monitor where they came from and how long they stay per channel. The other piece we look at is if the users click through to another page or if they leave. For those that are going to another page, we want to know where they go and then figure out where they go after that.
Basically, the important piece here is how users perceive the content, and where they are going after reading it (whether they start where we want them or if they are going to other pages).
Sachin is Co-Founder and CEO of Parse.ly. He speaks around the world on digital media and analytics and is a Forbes and ComputerWorld contributing writer.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of a single metric…”
Maybe you heard that the key to digital publishing success lies in increasing the number of page views or decreasing bounce rate. Unfortunately, focusing on improving just one stat is sort of like exercising just one muscle. You’ll have much more success when viewing your metrics (and your muscles) as a single system. Only by using them together can you begin to see real results.
Sam McIntire is the founder of Deskbright, an online learning platform designed to help people thrive at work. The site offers classes on common business skills designed to empower entrepreneurs and employees to achieve career success.
“The most important KPI we use to measure the success of our content marketing campaigns is…”
The number of incoming links to our articles. We use this KPI for two reasons: first, incoming links are a great measure of high-quality engagement from outside parties. More than Facebook likes or page hits, they indicate a positive response from the community and a willingness to share our material broadly. Second, incoming links are an important metric used by Google and other search engines to assess your domain’s credibility. The more of these links our content generates, the higher we’ll rise in search engine results pages due to our work.
Ibanrilin is an experienced Content Marketer and Strategist at WiseCalvin with four years of experience in Content Creation. While her full-time job calls on her skills to drive engagement and create branding strategies, her free time is spent painting or blogging. Her favorite quote is, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
“The best KPI that can best indicate the success of a content marketing campaign is…”
Depth of visit.
This is the ratio of the number of unique page views to the number of visits to a web page. It indicates the target audience’s interest in the content that is provided by the website. The greater the percentage of the depth of view, the greater the indication that people are interested in your content.
Paul is part of Outsprung, a multi disciplinary design and marketing agency based in London. Their aim is simple: to help small businesses and bloggers grow.
“There are so many metrics you can measure and really the single most important indicator is…”
Going to vary from business to business. Some might be more interested in view metrics as their revenue is driven by ads. For others it might be leads as they have a service or product that they sell. For most businesses I would probably say the most common and crucial KPI would be lead generation metrics. A few examples:
a. Newsletter and other registrations through opt ins and lead magnets.
b. Contact form submissions.
c. Comments on your site.
By measuring these indicators you will have a good understanding of how your content is performing and the ROI it’s producing.
Jake is a content marketing expert from the U.K., currently living in Toronto. As the CEO of Contentacle, a content marketing platform, he spends most of his days reading content, drinking coffee, and writing code.
“I run a content marketing startup with a focus on analytics, so I look through a lot of data every day. The most important metric we track for content is…”
The average read time. This is pretty easy using any analytics package, but it gives you an insight into how engaged people are with your content.
For instance, if you write a 1,200 word article that should take an average reader about five minutes to read but your time on page is 10 seconds, you can easily tell you have a problem with your title or introduction. If it’s two to three minutes, you have a problem keeping readers’ attention.
Conor Keenan is the Digital Marketing Manger for Christine Waller Photography.
“We use content for a couple of different KPIs…”
We have content pieces to drive email sign-ups and phone calls, and other content pieces serve as retention models for our social audience.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one magic KPI that shows your content marketing campaign was successful.
The fact of the matter is, one of the beautiful things about content marketing is you decide what goals are important to you and that’s how you determine success.
Content marketing is an upper funnel strategy, most of the time, I’ve seen some very good direct response content marketing pieces, however, every content piece will / should have a different goal, and, therefore, will be held to a different standard.
I would say it’s important that each piece has its own goals, but that they all ladder up to meet the overall goals of the content channel within the marketing mix.
Lisa Hunter serves as chief content architect and marketing director for BrainJocks, an Atlanta-based innovator in web development. With nearly 20 years of experience across all areas of marketing, she is now having the time of her life creating digital experiences that delight customers.
“The success of any content marketing campaign can and should be measured by…”
Relevant KPIs, and these can differ tremendously based on the objective of the campaign. For example, the success of a brand awareness campaign may be most effectively measured via social shares, downloads and video views, whereas a campaign to drive website traffic would have an impact on the number of visitors. There is a common factor across these different kinds of campaigns, though: the best of them typically have a landing page that is customized to what the visitor expects to see or learn based on the call to action (e.g., click this link for more; download case study here; etc.). For that reason, I’d suggest the content marketing KPI that is most universally meaningful across campaigns is landing page conversion rate.
David Ferguson is the CEO & Founder of 5000Fish, a company that enables companies to improve their business processes by leveraging their existing data. David is the Chief Visionary for Yurbi, the dashboard and reporting solution for growing businesses. He has been helping companies convert data into intelligence for 17+ years.
“The key to a successful content management campaign is…”
A trackable conversion activity. Many businesses focus on the number of page views or if a marketing piece goes viral but if those views do not convert into your pipeline it’s not going to contribute to your business growth. The best KPI to track is % of conversions that included the content during the conversion path. The key to this metric is not just to count the conversion that happened directly from that single content article, but to consider all conversions on your site and analyze how many of those visitors viewed that content piece at some point prior to taking a trackable conversion event. The reason this metric is important is that it shows the common content articles that influence a visitor to ultimately convert. Visitors typically do a lot of research on your site prior to submitting their information, a successful content marketing campaign should show an increase in conversion by its influence.
Chris is a digital marketing enthusiast who strongly believes in the power of creating memorable and lasting customer experiences. Currently a digital marketing manager for FlexMR, he regularly writes on topics relating to market research, digital marketing, and innovation in business.
“To measure a single KPI upon which to base the success of a content marketing campaign is to…”
Severely underestimate the broad range of effects it can have on the marketing funnel. However, there is one metric which occupies significant importance: call-to-action click-throughs.
If the purpose of a content marketing campaign is to ultimately move consumers through a marketing funnel and eventually educate customers, then each piece of content should have a well-planned call to action. It might be a direct sales message or a freebie to keep your brand top of mind. But wherever the content sits in your marketing funnel, the number of click-throughs to a directly related offer is the result of cumulative success.
To achieve a high number of clicks, the article must be written well and shared extensively, the call to action must be planned and relevant – but most importantly it must be targeting the right consumers. Only a campaign which hits all of these notes will be successful and reap clicks from content.
Jonathan Long is the founder and CEO of Market Domination Media, a Miami Beach-based SEO and online marketing consulting firm. Market Domination Media also offers SEO coaching programs for companies and individuals that want to learn how to build their brands online using search engine marketing.
“Hands down, the most important content marketing metric is…”
ROI, yet it’s the one that most marketers and agencies avoid addressing. ROI needs to be the focus of every
content marketing campaign. In the grand scheme of things, everything else is useless if the campaign isn’t producing a positive return.
Impressions are great, but if the consumers engaging with the content aren’t converting to customers, then there is a major disconnect that needs to be addressed. If there is a high engagement rate in terms of social shares and comments, yet the conversion rate is still poor, then there is a problem with the offer. When you make ROI your main focus you are able to really dissect all of the other metrics and analyze them in a way that will help you improve the metric that matters, ROI.
What would you rather hear? “The infographic campaign was responsible for 30,000 page views and 18,000 social shares,” or, “The infographic campaign has produced a return of 350% to date.” What feedback tells you, undoubtedly, that the campaign was a success, and it would be wise to funnel more of the marketing budget into this channel again in the future?
Jerry Rackley is the Chief Analyst for Demand Metric, a marketing research and advisory firm, and he also serves as an adjunct marketing professor at Oklahoma State University. Rackley is also the author of Marketing Analytics Roadmap: Methods, Metrics, and Tools (Apress, 2015).
“There are three classes of KPI that content marketers should track…”
1. Exposure: metrics or KPIs such as views or downloads that indicate the rate at which content is being seen. These are relatively easy to track, but they don’t tell the marketer that uses them what kind of engagement is occurring.
2. Engagement: metrics or KPIs such as shares, average viewing duration, time on page and other measures that indicate how much engagement is occurring.
3. Revenue: metrics that help determine revenue impact and ROI, such as attribution to sale pipeline.
For example, late last year I studied video content and found that almost half of organizations we surveyed only use basic, exposure metrics or KPIs, and almost one-fourth track no metrics at all.
If there were a single metric that a marketer could use to measure the success of a content marketing campaign, it would be attribution to sales pipeline. However, no single metric tells a marketer all that is needed to improve a campaign that isn’t performing. Metrics or KPIs from each of the classes mentioned above are needed to manage a campaign to better performance.
Molly Phillips is an Account Manager at GreenRoom Social, a digital PR and social media firm based in Miami. She has more than five years of experience helping companies create and implement content marketing strategies and is an expert on the intersection of content marketing and SEO.
“There is so much interesting data that can be gathered from a content marketing campaign; however, one point that many content marketers overlook that I would argue is perhaps the most important of all is…”
Google PageRank. Content marketing, whether it is working to accomplish increased awareness, increased conversions, sales, referrals or any other marketing goal-also holds the key to modern SEO. Quality content on your website, quality content linking to your site hosted on other sites, and quality content linking to your site shared on social media all drastically impact your website’s ranking in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages). If your content is not helping you digitally, it’s not helping you. Use Moz or a similar analytics tool to see how much traffic your content is bringing to your website, keeping at your website, and how it is improving the overall quality of your site. Implement a successful content marketing campaign and watch your Google PageRank climb.
Janet Driscoll Miller
Janet Driscoll Miller is the President and CEO of Marketing Mojo, a full-service, data-driven online marketing and demand generation agency.
“I think the biggest misconception about content marketing may be how it should be measured…”
And to be sure, measurement is critical to understand if your content and efforts met your goals. With that in mind, each piece of content may have a unique goal based on a number of factors like the spot in the sales funnel where the prospect resides. So first determine what is the goal of this piece of content. Is it to move people forward in the funnel? For instance, if the goal is to move a prospect from consideration to conversion, measure how many became sales leads perhaps. Measurement for content success will be personal to the company, its funnel, processes, and each piece of content.
Tammy Cannon is a digital marketer at Cannon Social Media, an agency which she started four years ago. After serving over 100 in-person clients, she’s taken the majority of her business online, teaching the how-tos of the should dos of social media.
“It can be difficult and take some time to know exactly which metrics indicate a successful marketing campaign, but…”
Optimizing each content factor will help to create a bigger picture. Here are just a few that we think are stellar places to start.
1) Keyword Metrics – It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from, whether via social, keyword search, etc. Make sure content is optimized with certain keywords relevant to your piece, so you can track the efficacy of those words over time. You can do this using Serpfox.
2) Backlinks – Backlinks will indicate how relevant and popular a campaign is based on people who link back to it via their own articles, blog posts and social media. Track backlinks using Ahrefs.
3) Organic Search Traffic – Are people searching for your marketing campaign, your domain or a keyword mentioned above? A spike in organic search around the time of your campaign will allow you to see if your campaign is working. View your organic search metrics in Google Analytics.
Ashley Watkins has more than ten years of marketing communications experience including representing one of the largest non-profits in the world, Goodwill Industries, as well as for-profits, and an agency. She is currently employed as a Marketing Communications Specialist at engineering consulting firm, Trimark Associates, Inc. Ashley resides in the Sacramento, California area.
“I could probably argue for several KPIs…”
Increases in followers, subscribers, etc. is a great indicator because the marketer now knows their content is transcending its current followers. Retention lets a marketer know their current followers are still enjoying the served content, and conversions mean that the audience was not only moved to like, retweet, or comment on content but even donate, register, or do whatever action for which the content marketing campaign was designed.
Ultimately, I believe ROI is the single best indicator of a successful content marketing campaign. For-profit companies have always been primarily concerned with the bottom line, even as more and more of them have incorporated a social or cause marketing arm. And after enjoying a lack of scrutiny in comparison to for-profits, for decades now, non-profit organizations are being held more accountable for how they spend incoming dollars, and often to a higher standard than for-profits. If two months into a campaign’s execution, a company or organization has gained new audiences, retained them, and has converted some, but it’s had to dedicate an exorbitant amount of the majority of its staff members’ time, this is not in line with its business model and an indication that resources were not used wisely. ROI helps marketers determine where to focus and when it’s time to completely change gears. In order to sustain and work to ‘market another day,’ marketers should gauge ROI consistently throughout a campaign. Getting more back than what you put in is the goal in almost any transaction, and marketing is no exception.
Rosemary Brisco founded ToTheWeb in 1995 and since that time has been delivering high-impact results to her clients. She and her team of online marketing experts work with B2B companies in the San Francisco Bay Area to drive more sales leads to client websites.
“If I was to pick the single most important data point it would be…”
The goal completion target for the page of content. Each piece of content can measure a variety of conversion actions such as a white paper download, a visit to an important page or a completed lead form.
Ben Johnson is a Digital Marketing Manager at HA Digital Marketing.
“When it comes to content marketing, if you’re going to focus on one KPI (though there are a lot you should be looking at)…”
Referrals is a great one to look at. Referrals basically come from other people linking to your content. This gives you a good idea of how your content is being received by your audience and if it’s being picked up by thought leaders in your industry. When you create good content and effectively get it out in front of the right people, they will amplify your content which leads to more traffic being driven to your website.
Some related metrics to keep an eye on when looking at your referrals are:
- How much traffic is each referral is driving?
- How long is your new traffic staying on the site?
- Is this a good referral? Check domain authority and page authority.
- Is your new traffic converting? Either a sale or a lead.
If you find a great referral source, it’s a good idea to reach out to them next time you create a new piece of content.
Mike Vannoy is the COO and Co-Founder of Sales Engine Media. Mike oversees business operations for Sales Engine Media and serves as a thought-leader on marketing technology and sales enablement. Having strong Sales DNA in his background gives Mike a unique perspective as a content marketer—because revenue solves all problems.
“We disagree with the premise that there is one KPI from a campaign that is singularly most important, especially since…”
It encourages marketers to look continually at marketing as “campaign driven.” Feeding sales is a process, not a project, and therefore, the most important KPI is total customer acquisition cost. For example, I can look at specific blog posts and campaigns to see what is resonating better than others, and I can also determine which gated content pieces tend to generate more MQLs. But it’s the overall program — how much did we spend on producing content to get X amount of leads, and of those leads, Y converted into appointments, and Z converted into closed business.
Only by understanding these numbers can we identify if we have a marketing problem or a sales problem. Check this article out for more clarification.
Sean Smallwood, P.A.
Sean Smallwood is the owner and founder of Sean Smallwood, P.A., a law firm specializing in divorce and family law in Orlando, Florida.
“In terms of the most important content marketing metric…”
I analyze the bounce rate on each blog article that I write. If it is a successful article, I know that people are not only staying on that page for a long timespan, but they are also visiting other pages of our site.
Diving into Google Analytics and analyzing this information lets me determine whether or not my content is effective.
Adam Capps is a Commercial Department Manager at UB Commercial, the Commercial Division of Universal Builders of America. UB Commercial’s primary focus is on low-slope roof repairs and re-roofing. It was formed in August 2014 focuses on accurate leak detection, smart solutions, and professional installation of a variety of low-slope roof systems.
“The most important metric or KPI in content marketing for us is…”
We look at the conversion rate percentage from our contact form page. There is a direct correlation between the messaging on our site and whether or not this generates conversions via the contact form.
Edward Sturm is a serial viral filmmaker and image producer. He spends most of his time helping his friends with content marketing and SEO and then making fun and interesting videos to share with the world.
“Important content marketing KPIs include…”
Time spent on page and bounce rate are very important to measure for any content marketer. The point of content marketing (and SEO for that matter) isn’t only to attract users to your service, but to keep them there! Are my users leaving immediately? How could I get them to spend more time reading my articles or watching my videos? For this, I rely heavily on the classic Google Analytics. A bad bounce rate and low time spent on page leads me to look at other important KPIs to figure out why I might be losing users.
Ryan Elbaz is the founder and owner of Majesty Diamonds, one of the largest independent custom diamond sellers in the world. The young entrepreneur began selling diamonds on eBay and became the auction site’s number one jeweler in Canada for ten consecutive years. In the first year of business, Elbaz made over $1 million working from his basement before hiring 12 full-time employees and opening an office in the Diamond District of Montreal. Now, Majesty Diamonds sells diamonds internationally online and locally in Montreal.
“The content marketing metric we focus on most is…”
We measure engagement via social media. How well the messaging and imagery performs through a boosted post on Facebook will tell us how successful our messaging is and whether or not this marketing message should be prominently featured on our website and through other marketing channels.
Todd Damon, along with his father, Ron, own and operate Wood Werks Supply, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. For over 25 years, the Damon family has grown their business to be among the largest woodworking suppliers in the nation. They serve customers through a large retail store in Central Ohio and an e-commerce store at thisiswoodworking.com. Todd also owns and operates the Axiom Tool Group, a manufacturer of small-format CNC Routers for the woodworking and DIY industries.
“The key top content marketing success metric for us is…”
We measure success based on the user engagement from our homepage and how this results in sales on our e-commerce site.
We are able to feature different projects and marketing messages on our homepage and change this out based off of our marketing calendar. The click through rate to different product pages and the revenue generated from each homepage promotion truly shows us what is working and what isn’t working.
If we see a certain image or certain messaging is effective, we will then deem this the “winner” and try and outperform this with other homepage promotions and creative.
Brandon Seymour is the founder and CEO of a South Florida-based marketing agency, specializing in SEO, content marketing, and reputation management.
“When it comes to measuring content performance, you’re essentially looking for two core dimensions…”
Visibility and utility. In other words, how easy it for your audience to find your content, and does the content help your audience do whatever it is that they’re trying to do – be it transactional, informational, or navigational. Visibility KPIs include organic search impressions, traffic (website clicks), social media presence, and engagement. But in my opinion, the most effective way to assess visibility is rankings. The other metrics tell you how you can improve rankings, but ultimately higher search engine rankings are the end goal. Utility KPIs include on-page metrics, such as bounce rate, time on page, pages per session, and social shares/referrals, but the most important metric KPI to watch here is conversion rate. Conversion volume is important too, but at the end of the day, your conversion rate is the best indicator of how well (or not so well) your content is performing.
Chad Vander Veen
Chad Vander Veen is the Communications Director for Purchase Green Artificial Grass. Previously, Vander Veen was editor of FutureStructure magazine. He also served as Public Information Officer for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Vander Veen is also host of the podcast SactownPeople.com.
“For us, the most valuable KPI has proven to be…”
Contacts. We create a lot of original content – blogs, videos, eBooks, etc. – and a good portion of that content is designed to encourage people to provide us some basic contact information. We use HubSpot, and our data shows that people who are willing to share basic contact info are strong candidates to become purchasing customers. We understand our product is a want, not a need, so creating content that generates measurable contacts is the single most valuable data point. Content marketing should serve two purposes – generating leads and educating potential customers with something of value to them. Good content creates good contacts – people who are have expressed interest in our product and are willing to be further engaged or educated.
David Waterman is a seasoned digital marketing professional with over 12 years of experience. He works with large brands across various industries to help them establish digital strategies that will grow their business and brand visibility. He is currently Senior Director of Earned Media/SEO at The Search Agency.
“Regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish with your content marketing efforts, if there’s one metric to track to gauge general success, it would be…”
Bounce rate. Bounce rate is a good indicator whether or not your content is resonating with the audience you are attracting. Even if you’re trying to drive leads/sales with content marketing, bounce rate will give you a sense of whether or not your audience is even slightly interested in what you have to say.
Jessica Schweppe is the Content Marketing Manager for HomeBay – a real estate software startup that allows homeowners, flippers and investors to sell properties easily and affordably without a real estate agent. In 2015, Jessica implemented a persona-driven content marketing strategy that grew blog visits for her company from 800 to 20k in just 12 months.
“There are lots of metrics you can look at to identify quick wins – and those are important. But one of the most commonly overlooked KPIs that really illustrates long-term, scalable success is…”
Organic discovery data. Each time you publish a blog post that resonates well and gets shared with new people, you’re opening a door that introduces new prospective customers to your website and company.
Track these discovery points by identifying how many first-time visitors found your site via a search engine link to a blog post. Be sure to make note of which posts are attracting the most new visitors so you can create more similar content to increase future organic traffic and measure the growth of those discovery points over time to see your growth. Doing so will give you a well-rounded evaluation your content strategy’s performance.
Owen Larkin has a background in marketing, finance, and technology. He combines his interests in writing, business, and analytics to grow Snowpak with a focus on content strategy. Owen has an undergraduate degree in English and an MBA from the University of Virginia.
“The most important data point for me is…”
Pages per session for readers who find our site through a piece of content. As a marketing channel for our clients, we do not utilize any display advertising networks and generate revenue on a few specific pages of our site. Traffic generated and time on page are important, but if we get 10,000 visitors to our site, and they all read the content but leave, we do not see a direct benefit to our cash flow from that campaign (leaving aside general awareness and branding). If, however, we get 1,000 visitors, and they all click through to other pages then it is a successful piece of content! Ensuring they get to the right pages is a job for the UX team, but we want readers who explore the site.
A piece of content that gets a lot of reads is awesome, but we want to pull in the type of traffic that can use our site, not just people trying to read an article. Point being successful content is measured differently for each business. The ultimate metric is revenue per user, but that is further down the funnel.
Jenny Illmann is a Senior SEO Manager at Tug in London, U.K.
“As an SEO professional, I look at content marketing with my SEO hat on. While likes, shares, and comments on content are great success indicators…”
They should not be taken as the only indicator of a successful content marketing campaign. It is important to dive deeper into your brand’s/client’s site metrics and analyze metrics such as landing page traffic because if your content marketing campaign is successful, it should make the reader actively want to engage with your brand.
You can look at the visitor number of you’re the landing page the content is hosted on as well as the time on site of a user. If your brand/client is an e-commerce brand, an increase in sales could be attributed to a successful content marketing campaign if you monitor your metrics closely such as where the traffic comes from that converts on your site.
Make sure you have a solid monitoring process in place for your different on-page as well as off-page content. Ebooks, for example, can be measured by their downloads; on-page content can be measured by conversions and time on site.
Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a four-time Inc. 5000 company that helps small-medium sized businesses use the web and content marketing to generate more leads, sales, and raving fans.
“Not only do we use content marketing to help our clients grow their businesses, but it’s also been one of our most important growth drivers. When it comes to evaluating content marketing efforts, we use…”
A funnel model. The metrics that make up the funnel, from top to bottom, are impressions, visits, conversions, and sales.
Ultimately what most business owners want from a content marketing campaign are leads and sales, so these are the most important metrics to measure (thinking back to the funnel concept, leads are a type of conversion). However, in order to get leads and sales, people have to find and read your content. This is why it’s also important to measure impressions and visits. Social shares are tracked as impressions whereas social media likes and engagement are typically treated as a type of conversion.
Ren is the SEO at Photoslurp, a visual commerce and marketing platform enabling brands to collect brand-attributed photos of real users using their products across all social networks.
“The single best indicator of a successful content marketing campaign, or any marketing campaign for that matter, is…”
Conversions. It is too easy to fall into the trap of focusing on impressions or traffic to your site, but no other data point matters if you cannot convince people to buy your product/service or subscribe to your content.
What constitutes a conversion is heavily dependent on your company, and will widely vary between brands. For a blog, a conversion is equivalent to a new subscriber, whereas for a SaaS company, a conversion is a paying customer. To successfully analyze your marketing efforts, it is key to define what constitutes a conversion, i.e., success, and to focus your analytics around measuring that data point, especially regarding other common data points such as traffic to your site.
Derek Gleason is a content marketing strategist at a digital marketing agency, Workshop Digital, that’s carved a niche in B2B clients.
“For a content marketing campaign, we look for an increase in…”
The percentage of returning visitors. This indicates that a strategy isn’t just generating visits — it’s generating loyalty. As an agency that works with a lot of B2B clients with long lead cycles, it’s unrealistic to think a new visitor would arrive on a site and immediately decide to purchase a six-figure software platform. Yet if we see that content marketing campaign generates more and more returning visitors, we know we’re establishing authority, building a brand, and priming potential consumers to take the next step.
Sam Williamson represents SEO Fife, an internet marketing company helping businesses in the East of Scotland to improve their online presence through content marketing and social media.
“The most important content analytics to measure to determine the success of a campaign are…”
Creating viral content that generated thousands of one-off visitors and a handful of leads was once enough to impress your boss and earn the rest of the day off. But as the average internet user becomes overloaded with more viral content than ever, it’s becoming increasingly harder to maintain their interest for more than a few seconds.
Getting people to interact with your brand for only a brief moment is neither valuable nor impressive. Our attention should be focused on monitoring the amount of return visitors that our content generates, and how many times the same visitor returns to your site. Establishing repeat visitors not only certifies that the content you are producing is worthwhile, but it can also help you to build valuable email lists that allow you to build even closer relationships with your visitors.
John Niggl is head of marketing at InTouch Manufacturing Services, a quality control firm in Shenzhen, China. He’s worked in Sales and Marketing at InTouch for two years now, and content marketing is a major part of his day-to-day responsibilities.
“The single most important KPI to focus on would probably surprise most people, including fellow marketers. The performance indicator to look at is…”
Comments demonstrate that visitors to a website are willing to invest in offering feedback, asking questions or otherwise engaging with the content and creator. While many visitors may be willing to click a “like” button for content they found interesting or even go so far as to share the content, putting their own reputation somewhat on the line, fewer visitors will go the extra mile to leave a comment and contribute to a conversation. And that’s why comments are so valuable to great content. They typically give the creator new ideas or advice for improving content to make it even better. Comments are an excellent indicator of content that has successfully provided value to people.
Zach Heller is a marketing professional with years of experience in branding, digital marketing, direct response, and marketing communications. He has entrepreneurial and consulting experience and loves working with small- and medium-sized companies to help direct marketing efforts toward growth. He is currently the Director of Marketing for Distance Education Co. in New York City.
“The most important content marketing KPI depends on…”
The ultimate goal of your marketing efforts. If you are simply going for more brand visibility, then views are a metric you should manage to, aiming for quantity of impressions on your posts. If sales leads are your top priority, then measuring the number of leads driven by each post or conversion rate of viewer to lead is what you should be measuring. The key is to agree on one goal and find the metric that tells you whether or not you’re achieving it.
Grayson De Ritis
Grayson De Ritis serves as Chief Operating Officer and Lead Designer for De Ritis Media, a multimedia design firm based in the Washington, D.C. area.
“The most important content analytics to measure, in my decade plus of experience, come down to two points…”
Average session and bounce rate. All websites receive some form of traffic, so we’re talking about going beyond looking at how many visitors you’ve received. When it comes to content marketing, it’s all about the interaction with the page(s) once these visitors have reached your site. Ideally, you want folks spending a decent amount of time with your content and thus lowering the bounce rate. KPIs will differ with various campaigns as the call to action changes, but keeping eyeballs on the content and seeing engagement (clicks, scrolling, sharing, etc.) is where the true indicators of success lie.
Danni Eickenhorst is the CEO and Chief Strategist at Blank Page Consulting, a St. Louis agency offering personalized creative and business consulting services.
“Measuring marketing success can be overwhelming, but if you simply remember that…”
Your business goals should be directly tied to your marketing goals; the process becomes a whole lot simpler. For example, if you’re looking for brand awareness, consider measurements such as page views, Facebook likes, shares, and Twitter retweets. If If your primary goal is sales, then having your Google analytics goals configured will be key. Always revisit your goals and measure only those that matter most.
King was a pioneer of the digital age, leaving the “traditional” side of marketing communications to found his own digital agency in 1995. Over the next 16 years, his firm represented clients ranging from Visa to Goodyear to Nestlé and teams in the NFL, MLB, and the NHL before being acquired by Marcus Thomas in 2011. Today, King is one of the agency’s leaders in Content Marketing, directs agency marketing, and is a digital strategist helping the agency’s clients use technology to make human connections online and in-person.
“The most important KPI is the one that best indicates…”
How effectively your specific tactic serves its master. Because marketing communications, including content marketing, always has a master. Typically, it’s increase sales or increase market share. But to do that, are you using content marketing to build awareness? Grow your contact list? Grow leads? Stimulate demand or curiosity? Identify your specific goal, then look for the KPI that measures exactly that. For example, a KPI for increasing awareness may be a simple measurement of page views. A KPI for evaluating demand gen might be downloads. For lead gen it might be traffic flow from the content to the landing page (to cookie the visitor for remarketing) or to the completed form. In short, don’t worry about measuring how well your content marketing serves its long-term goal (build sales, etc.); measure how well it executes its specific, short-term assignment.
Marin Perez is a Content Marketing Manager at Kahuna, an omnichannel solution provider. Marin is a recovering tech journalist helping brands connect to customers with great stories and effective content marketing programs.
“The best content marketing programs have metrics that are…”
Aligned with the overall business model. If you have a freemium, relatively low-cost service, you want to optimize for volume metrics like traffic and conversions. A high-touch, B2B SaaS product may want to have more focused consumption metrics — you’d rather five of the right people read that content than 5,000 non-relevant readers.
Anna Kayfitz, MBA is a consultant for StrategicDB, a consulting company focused on adding insights to your marketing.
“The most successful KPI for content analytics is…”
Revenue (if it is being measured) as this will ensure that content is actually selling the products or services that are being written about. However, to judge the content of the article you can measure the number of shares and comments. It should be used along with benchmarking data to compare different content. For example, if this week’s blog post received five shares and ten comments, and last week’s got two shares and zero comments, then you can see an improvement. Most people look at views; however, that is a measure of how well you are marketing the content and not how engaged your readers are.
Sue Laurent, Owner and CIMO (Chief Inbound Marketing Officer) at NSMarketing, helps non-Marketers Do Marketing. As a business owner, your time and resources are limited – learn how to make the right choices for YOUR business by applying the timeless core principles of marketing that most businesses ignore.
“Content is key to both growing traffic to your site and educating, engaging, and eventually converting prospects. Because of this…”
ENGAGEMENT is the most important KPI. When your engagement levels are high (shares, retweets, comments, likes, etc.), then your content will be shared across the web. Once something is online, it never goes away – so the engagement that you receive when you first post a piece will go on forever – if you have the right content.
It’s important to note that ENGAGEMENT doesn’t come free. Yes, it will bring you free traffic/prospects when it’s done right, but proactively pitching your content to targeted sites, bloggers, etc. will ensure that your content gets noticed by people that will take the engagement levels higher. For example, an Infographic about the ‘Best Dogs For Families’ could be used to promote your online dog-training business, and you can pitch that Infographic to be referenced by pet bloggers, mom bloggers, etc. (Make sure you reference your site clearly so that when your content is shared, the traffic comes to you.)
So how do you write content that will result in explosive engagement? Know your customers – and know them well. So many businesses and marketers skip right to writing content without first trying to figure out what their customers worry about, their goals (regardless of whether or not it’s related to a business’ product or service), etc. Once you do the work to develop accurate and complete Buyer Personas, you have a better chance of creating content that’s going to be engaging to your prospects and customers.
A veteran journalist, Amy Vernon was named the 15th most influential woman in tech on Twitter by Business Insider and Peer Index. She is sought-after for advice on how to navigate the social web and an inaugural inductee of the New Jersey Social Media Hall of Fame. She teaches Social Media in the graduate program at New York University.
“When it comes to content analytics KPIs that are most important for measuring campaign success…”
There is no one KPI or data point that everyone should focus on. It completely depends on the goal of the campaign. If the goal of your campaign is to get eyeballs for traffic goals, then traffic is the KPI. If the goal of your campaign is to sell tickets to an event, then the ticket sales that came via the campaign is the KPI.
Roger Wu is the co-founder of sponsored content marketplace, Cooperatize, where YOUR content is guaranteed to be read or your money back!
“The best KPI for content is…”
Time spent on page multiplied by number of visitors to the page. Marketing has changed drastically with the advent of smartphones. Since we can now get anything we want at any time, the key becomes how to get into the heads of our customers when the time is right for them to buy. CTR does not work for content because the mobile experience is horrid. A more concrete metric for content could be an increase in Google Queries, but this only works with a large enough spend.
Paige Weiners is a Corporate Marketing Specialist at Blue Fountain Media.
“When looking at the effectiveness of content marketing campaigns, it’s important to consider…”
Pages per session as the key performance indicator. Typically, the objective of any content marketing campaign is to engage your users with content that is incredibly relevant to their unique needs. The more pages that a specific user is visiting on your site is generally indicative of them finding what they’re reviewing as valuable. As they move from one page to the next, absorbing more and more content, they’re moving further down the funnel and getting closer and closer to a conversion. Examining your pages per session can be incredibly telling with understanding how resourceful your potential or existing customers are finding your content.
Chris Boulas has built businesses from $5 million to over $30 million in revenue by successfully operating against progressive digital marketing strategies. He currently runs a successful digital marketing consulting company focused on both demand gen and marketing operations, day trade in the stock market, and shares contrarian views on business that aren’t normally seen in present-day business culture.
“The single most important metric for marketers to measure in content marketing is…”
The ratio of known people that engage with a particular piece of content relative to the number of people that later become part of your sales team’s pipeline and new revenue. It’s an important metric because all prospects will be exposed to multiple content touch points along their buyer journey, so it provides an excellent measure of the content’s influence. Marketers should be able to identify the number of people who saw a piece of content, and compare it against the subset of people who later became part of the sales pipeline. Marketers can then better plan their content strategy around topics that are best likely to facilitate funnel velocity through to sales pipeline and new business.
Laura Noll is the snowboarding superwoman at MARKETMOX. Focused on marketing and creative strategies for global brands, startups, and small businesses, she’s built a one-of-a-kind agency aimed at achieving growth in the digital space. Marketer meets designer meets developer in her holistic and thoughtful approach to amplifying your success.
“When it comes to how you measure success online, the options are…”
Virtually limitless. We have tons of options for what data we can collect in the digital space. The metrics you choose to focus on will depend highly on your goals and the tactics you’re leveraging to promote your site. That being said, examining engagement, conversion and growth are my go-to stats for monitoring performance on my sites and clients’ sites at a high level.
Rachel recently moved to Charlottesville, VA, but is originally from Fairview, TN, a small town on the outskirts of Nashville. Rachel graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) in 2010 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications, Public Relations.
As it turns out, Rachel was much more interested in marketing than she was PR, so she started working in the marketing industry. Although this was her second time working for a marketing agency, her duties at Marketing Mojo and the company services have a different focus than her previous agency. Each day, she has the opportunity to improve her writing skills, learn how to develop better media relationships for clients and make informed decisions based on data and, in a lot of ways, psychology.
“Evaluating the success of a content marketing campaign begins with…”
Identifying a realistic and measurable goal. Your key performance indicators (KPIs) should be metrics that are relevant to each goal and may change with each campaign. For example, if you want to evaluate the performance of a new white paper you created to generate business leads, you want to focus on your landing page’s conversion rate, not the traffic generated from your campaign. While sessions (how Google Analytics refers to the number of visitors engaged on your website over a specified time frame) and pageviews may be indicative of a successful traffic-driving campaign, they alone cannot tell you if the visitors are relevant to your business. However, if you are running a brand awareness campaign, measuring sessions from different traffic channels is helpful for evaluating which sources are most effective for each content type. Overall, there is not a single metric that applies to all websites, but if a website’s overarching goal is to attract and convert customers, businesses and marketers should focus on the number of online customers or leads generated for the sales team.
Reid is a web marketing expert from Pittsburgh who specializes in holistic, data-driven organic search marketing (AKA SEO 2.0). His latest/greatest job title is SEO Analyst at Pam Ann Marketing.
“The most important KPI for content analytics is…”
Total Value. ROI is always the best KPI, but it isn’t exactly something that comes from an analytics package out of the box. However, few people realize how easy and beneficial it is to get estimates on web content’s return.
I always recommend setting up web analytics to estimate the Total Value of Conversions.
In Google Analytics for example, you can enable the reporting of the total conversion value for a given set of web pages by following these four steps:
1) Track – Track all conversions that lead to revenue (subscriptions, completed forms, email link clicks, phone calls, etc.) as Goals (and set up eCommerce tracking, if applicable).
2) Value – Assign a numerical value for each conversion. Value has two variables: Likelihood of Sale x Value of Sale (or Customer Lifetime Value, if you want to get precise).
3) Group – Assign the web pages in the content campaign to a Content Group.
4) Analyze – In GA, Page Value x Unique Pageviews = Weighted Page Value = the Total Value of Conversions.
Even when you lack the data to determine absolute value, you can still determine a campaign’s return relative to other campaigns. So give it your best guess and perform this basic process – track and value conversions, then analyze the total value of content campaigns – and you’ll have one metric to tell you which content performs best.
And if you want to kick it up a notch, track the costs of producing your content campaign (labor costs, outsourcing fees, promotional costs, etc.), and then estimate ROI by dividing return by costs.
Mark Alves is a digital marketing strategist who helps companies and associations find their digital mojo so they can engage larger audiences. Based in Arlington, Virginia, he’s worked with organizations ranging in size from small non-profit to Fortune 50.
“The best KPI for a content marketing campaign? It’s…”
Revenue per session. If your content isn’t making you any money or, even worse, if you can’t measure the money then you are wasting your time.
To calculate this KPI, take the revenue generated by your content then divide by the number of visits. Your revenue total should include any direct sales that result from a visitor engaging with the content, such as buying a related product or enrolling in an affiliated program.
If you run banner ads on your site, add in the marginal revenue from the additional page views of your content.
Next, assign a dollar value to micro engagements that result from visitors engaging with your content. Examples are users sharing the content on social media, signing up for an email newsletter and printing the content. Since some of these minor actions will eventually lead to more sales you need to capture that value.
So how does revenue per session tell the real story of your content marketing? Let’s say your content goes viral, but no one engages further with your site. It’s one quick glance, and these visitors are gone. In that case, your revenue per visitor will plunge. Your numerator will barely creep up as your denominator skyrockets. While going viral may seem like a victory, the revenue per session KPI isn’t fooled.
Pro Tip: Measure gross and net revenue per session for your content marketing campaign. The net rate will reflect the deducted cost to acquire the traffic. These expenses include paid search, promoted posts, hosting and even the expense of creating the content.
Someshwar Chidurala is a Digital Marketing Analyst with Orchestrate Technologies, LLC, a U.S.-based business process management organization with headquarters in Dallas, Texas.
“There is enough content on the Internet. Most of it is hardly read by anyone. So how do you know your content is any different?…”
Measure your content’s KPI – not just any KPI but ones that give you a realistic picture of how your content is faring. There could be many indicators like the ones related to views, time spent, shared, action taken and ultimately sales achieved.
So what is your best bet when it comes to gauging your content? It depends on your business segment and what your content is intended to do. Having both unique and returning visitors is proof that your content is being viewed and probably liked. This is good for business blogs. If customers are taking action, then it shows user engagement and can help in lead generation and nurturing.
Finally, the best indicator of your content working is when users turn into customers.
Steve Radick is VP, Director of Content Integration and Public Relations at Brunner. Previously, he led the PR team at Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago and spent nine years at management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.
“To determine the best KPIs for content analytics, you should…”
Tie your KPIs to your business goals. Very little in life can be measured in a vacuum. A home run is better than a single, right? Then why not fill your team with bruisers who can crush the ball every time up? If home runs is your KPI, that makes a lot of sense. In winning baseball, not so much. In business as in baseball, your KPI needs to measure progress towards your ultimate goal, which is wins, not home runs.
If your goal is to increase e-commerce sales, show how much traffic is coming in through your social channels. If your goal is to increase awareness, point to the total number of mentions across all media channels.
And what if your boss is pressing you for more likes, comments, and pins? It’s up to you to show him better metrics of success. Just because that cat GIF you posted reached more people and had more likes than the post where you talked about your organization’s community service efforts doesn’t mean it was more successful. Your social media content and conversations are not banner ads, so stop evaluating them that way.
David Dykes is the Media Director at Baldwin& (named Best Small Agency of the Year by Advertising Age and Best Small Agency Body of Work by the 4As). He has over 15 years’ agency experience working in media and sports and sponsorship marketing for brands including Audi, Verizon, American Express, Krispy Kreme, and Cree LED Lighting.
“With so many different tactics under the ‘content marketing’ umbrella, there are quite a few…”
Relevant KPIs that can be examined, in aggregate or individually, depending on the tactic(s) used. Organic web traffic, time spent on site, social engagement, higher conversion rates, and increase in leads/sales are all great places to start. Whichever you choose, though, it’s critical that you give them some time. Positive results are rarely seen overnight. There has to be a commitment beyond short term KPIs to produce and distribute the content. Don’t make long term decisions based on short term metrics.
Tom Geary is creative director and cofounder of School of Thought. Previously, he led creative for some of Microsoft’s most successful viral projects, including MsDewey.com and the immersive, months-long, real-time Holomove Project game. Tom was also creative director at Adobe and has worked at agencies including Goodby, Ogilvy NY, BSSP, McCann, and AKQA. He is a Cannes finalist and a Haas School of Business lecturer.
“The most important KPI when it comes to content analytics for measuring campaign success is…”
Shares. What we’re aiming for is engagement, and while there are a number of ways to track engagement, in our view, shares is the most meaningful.
Why? Because if you share content, that means it has made an emotional impact on you. So much so that you want to tell people about it. This is the holy grail of marketing. A share is, in effect, an endorsement.
More fundamentally, though, don’t let any KPI be your focus. Focus on making content that is truly engaging. Meet a need. Address a truth or a pain point. Ask yourself, “Will anyone care?” Do that and you’ll get your fair share of shares, and the brand will make a real impact.
Frank Klesitz is the founder of Vyral Marketing, an Omaha, NE based digital marketing and social media company. Vyral Marketing creates marketing solutions for Real Estate, Financial, and others in professional services. Frank is a graduate of the University of Nebraska.
“When it comes to KPIs for measuring the success of content marketing campaigns, you should…”
Focus your results on sales, consumption, and links…..
1) Sales – how much money in the bank has a specific piece of content brought in? You can measure this with tracking links in your article or when you get a sale, asking the new client or customer what motivated them to contact you.
2) Time on page or length of video watched, since those who are most likely to work with you will consume your content in-depth. I would much rather have ten people watch an entire 60-minute Google Hangout interview with a client about their success than 1,000 people who watch the first 30 seconds of a video and then proceed to watch videos about cats on YouTube.
3) Links to your content. If your content is truly good, other websites will link to it. That provides you with a steady flow of traffic from a quality source that will help you grow your business. It’s hard to measure success by views or hits since traffic comes and goes from many sources, and you have no idea if it’s good quality or not.
Jonathan Cooper is senior vice president, content, social and public relations at Philadelphia-based advertising agency LevLane. Previously, he has held communications-based executive positions at digital content services Digital First Media and Journal Register.
“Content KPIs vary depending on…”
The type of content, publishing platform, and most importantly, marketing objective and message. Identifying goals in advance is key, whether the focus is on story comments, content sharing, or link activation. All of these are measures of engagement. but all represent different levels of interaction with the audience.
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