Here’s how you can get a complete picture of the results of your content marketing plan using consumption, engagement, and conversion metrics.
Content is king. This refrain has been circulating for years in companies and marketing offices, and its basic truth remains intact.
What changes are the methods, strategies, and formats, but people are still interested in stories, information, and ideas that can either entertain them or be useful. In short, content is still a very effective lever for companies that want to:
- Increase visits
- Generate leads
- Improve visibility and positioning on search engines
- Increase conversions
- Cultivate brand awareness
- Improve the performance of email campaigns
- Address and develop brand identity.
To do all this, the content obviously requires investment, time, and creativity, or you risk putting irrelevant products into circulation with little or no efficacy. What do companies say in this regard?
Is content perceived as effective?
The State of Content Marketing 2019 created by Zazzle Media tells us that in 2018 companies basically had one issue: the lack of clarity on the results to be achieved, despite the almost-universal awareness of the need to do content marketing.
This uncertainty seemed to have been overcome in 2019, when 96% of marketers said they perceived content marketing as effective for their brand.
The point we want to get at in this blog post is tangent: what are the parameters you can use to determine the effectiveness of a content strategy?
Content Marketing Metrics
Most companies face this difficulty, wondering how they can demonstrate the return on the investment of their plan? So let’s look at some metrics to consider when measuring the effectiveness of a strategy. They can be grouped into three sets, each broken down by channels of use.
These are the basic metrics, of a purely quantitative sort, that give you an idea of how much content is used and by how many people. Let’s just say these are the metrics you should start with, as they answer the most pressing questions.
- Users: provides the total number of unique visitors to a particular site or blog page.
- Page views: records the total number of times a particular page is viewed.
- Unique page views: records page views generated by the same user during the same session.
You can then cross these metrics with other parameters:
- Localization: if you have a blog in Spanish, this helps you understand if the traffic is from Spain or from South America. This fact will guide your future strategies, leading you to favor aspects for South America rather than Europe, or vice versa.
- Channel: to understand where the visits to your content come from and understand what to improve and integrate.
- Mobile: to understand if your audience uses your content more from desktop or mobile. The results will then orient certain structural aspects (the length of the content), or its layout or format.
Segmentation also helps you divide traffic results based on the type of content, so as to compare blog traffic with that of your website and get an idea of the proportions between the two to see if there is a concerning under or over-performance of the blog compared to the site.
Email is a fundamental medium for the transmission of content. So don’t neglect the essential metrics of email marketing:
- Open rate: even the subject of an email is content. It tells us how much that theme and that way of presenting it causes interaction among recipients.
- Click rate: this is a particularly useful metric when your newsletter has more than one type of content: the quantity and distribution of clicks will reveal which topics are of greatest interest to your audience.
Next step: learn more about the consumption metrics to understand how your audience interacts with the content and how it grabs their attention. This is where the engagement metrics come into play.
- Average time spent on the page: to understand what content leads the user to linger, to learn more information, and which instead fails to attract his or her attention, which is a valuable indicator for guiding your strategy.
- Pages per session: this metric returns the total number of pages visited by a user during the same browsing session.
- New users vs. recurring users: this shows you how many new people your blog can attract and how many it re-attracts after the first visit.
- Referral traffic: this gives you an overview of the sites that share and link to your content. Good referral traffic indicates that your editorial product is relevant and prompts people to use it as a reference.
- Scroll to bottom tracking: this metric has deeper value than the average time on the page. If the latter can be misleading (classic case: the user simply left their PC open on that page and continued to do something else), scroll tracking indicates if people have read 25%, 50%, 75 % or 100% of your article. In short, a precious engagement metric.
Again, remember that you can segment your content to get results related to a certain topic, format, or length.
- Shares: retweets, re-pings, or any social sharing metric, which reveals how much your content produces engagement and interest.
- Comments: whether positive or negative, a comment is a strong indicator of how much your audience is involved.
- Follower growth: this provides the number of users who voluntarily chose to be reached by your content.
- Subscriptions: as with follower growth, growth in email contacts shows how people choose to receive your content in their inbox.
- Unsubscriptions: the other side of the coin, but equally important for understanding if your plan generates engagement or not.
- Email forwarding: rarer than in social networks, sharing an email (via the Send to a friend button or by forwarding via their email client) is an important indicator of engagement.
- Subscriptions to the channel: if you use Messaging Apps and do conversational marketing, the number of new subscribers to your Facebook Messenger or Telegram channel is a clear indicator of how much people appreciate your content, so much so that they want to receive it on the most “intimate” platforms of today.
Sales, lead generation and lead nurturing are among the main objectives of companies, this is nothing new. However, we know how difficult it is to track the direct ROI of content marketing. Let’s try to make some sense of it all.
- Number of conversions: by setting goals in Google Analytics, you can measure how many subscriptions to your newsletter, quote requests, or trial activations your content produces.
- Conversion rate: calculated by dividing the total number of goal conversions by the total number of sessions.
- Transactions: lets you know the percentage of transactions coming from the content, and their amount.
- Purchase time: shows the total number of days a user needs to complete a purchase following the first contact with the content. This metric also provides you with valuable ideas for understanding how to improve each touchpoint of your customer journey.
It is fundamental that these metrics give you a picture of how users reach conversion and the percentage of abandonment at each stage of the conversion path, so as to develop strategies to minimize it with further content.
- Conversions: Facebook and Twitter let you measure the ROI, providing the actions performed by users after viewing promoted content.
3 Types of Underperforming Content and Possible Actions
We can identify three categories of poorly performing content:
Content that has stopped performing
Some products of your strategy may have been popular for a certain period, favoring traffic and conversions, only to then experience a progressive drop in results.
What to do: this is the type of underperforming content that lends itself well to updates and renewals.
Content that has never been performing
Which company hasn’t produced content that wound up being ineffective? It falls like dead leaves from your plan, content that has had little potential since its conception. It could be content on obsolete topics (technologies, habits, strategies, tastes, fashions) that nobody is looking for anymore.
What to do:
- Remove it
- Redirect all the backlinks acquired over the years to pages with greater potential.
Content that is not performing, but with potential
How can you know if content has unexpressed potential? By observing the metrics indicated above and by applying segmentation to understand if content of the same genre, topic, or theme instead gets satisfactory results.
What to do:
- Write new articles on the topic
- Update and renew the non-performing content
- Convert that content into a new format: from blog posts to videos, for example, or an info graphic or podcast. The choice will largely depend on your audience’s preferences and how easy and feasible the conversion is.