We've all heard the phrase "you get what you measure." It's true, and it applies to more than just business outcomes. What gets measured gets done.
Measuring your content marketing efforts is a surefire way to improve them. It's also a fantastic way to prove their value, which may be especially important if you're feeling pressure from stakeholders who don't understand why the company should be investing in content marketing.
So how can you measure your content marketing performance? There are lots of ways to do it, but these five metrics can help you get started:
The most basic way to measure the success of your content marketing efforts is traffic. This can be measured by the number of visitors and views, which determines how many customers view and read your content. However, it's important to note that traffic isn't always the best metric to measure content marketing success; it's a vanity metric (a term used to describe metrics that give you a quick ego boost but don't actually help grow your business). Traffic is an input metric: it doesn’t tell you how much value visitors are finding in your content. However, measuring traffic is fine if you want to gauge whether or not people are even interested enough in what they see on their first visit to come back for more.
One of the easiest ways to measure content marketing success is how engaged a user is with your content. Questions like “Did they read it?” and “How much did they interact with it?” will indicate whether or not you are creating compelling and helpful content that people want to engage with.
To find out whether or not users are engaging with your content, examine things like:
- How long does someone spend on a page
- How many times does someone visit a page
- What actions do they take after reading your content (e.g., sharing on social media)
Shares. Thanks to social media, "shares" is a content metric now, with more and more people sharing their favorite articles and blog posts to the world. Even if you don't have the goal of going viral, shares can be a great way to measure how effective your content resonates with its audience.
In addition to "how many times was this piece shared" (which you can get from a variety of social media analytics tools), consider measuring where it was shared (social networks, blogs, etc.) and by whom (influencers). This information can tell you how successful your content is and help you improve or target future pieces.
Leads and conversions
Leads and conversions are two essential metrics to capture when measuring the success of your content marketing efforts.
The conversion rate is equal to the number of visitors who take a desired action divided by the total number of visitors.
The number of leads per month can help demonstrate how successful you are at generating interest in your product or service, but it won’t tell you where those leads came from.
By understanding how many leads come from each channel, you can better understand which channels are most effective for reaching your target audience and then know where to put more focus after that. This is especially important if you promote your content on several different platforms and want to see which one brings in the most business.
Sales are the ultimate goal of content marketing. If the content is not generating sales, it's not performing well. By measuring sales, you can see what kind of impact your content marketing efforts have on your business.
If you want to measure your success in terms of revenue, look at how much money you're making from selling products and services. In the long run, this is the best way to evaluate whether or not your content marketing is working for you.
In addition to looking at overall revenue, it might also be instructive to look at the number of individual sales made before and after implementing an effective content marketing strategy.
Traffic, engagement, sharing, leads and conversions, and sales are the five main ways to measure content marketing success.
The bottom line is to measure the success of your content marketing efforts, there are five main ways to go about it:
- Traffic. The number of people who visit your website, whether from search engines or other sources. You can measure this with Google Analytics (or another analytics platform).
- Engagement. The number of people who interact with your content on social media and the amount of time they spend doing so. Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and YouTube Analytics are good places to start for measuring this.
- Sharing. The number of people who share your content online, whether through social shares or backlinks (links from other websites that point to yours). You can gain additional insight into sharing by using a tool like Buzzsumo.
- Leads and conversions. The number of leads you generate from specific pieces of content (based on the contact form submissions you receive) or the number of sales you make directly from your content marketing efforts (with help from proper attribution tools).
- Sales. These numbers speak for themselves — if no one is buying what you're selling, there's a problem that needs fixing.
Close out your content marketing efforts with a bang by measuring their success! Testing, tweaking, and tracking the results of your content marketing efforts is key to helping you improve, so you can get better and better at delivering the kind of content your audience loves.