Content Marketing: Metrics for Measuring Performance

18 February 2020Reading time: 8 min.

Here’s how you can get a complete picture of the results of your content marketing plan using consumption, engagement, and conversion metrics.

Contentis king. This refrain has been circulating for yearsin 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 isstill 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
  • Improvethe performance of emailcampaigns
  • Addressand develop brand identity.

To do all this, the content obviouslyrequires investment, time, and creativity, or you risk putting irrelevantproducts into circulation with little or no efficacy. What do companies say in this regard?

Is content perceived as effective?

The State of Content Marketing2019 created by Zazzle Media tells us that in 2018 companies basicallyhad one issue: the lack of clarityon the results to be achieved, despite the almost-universal awarenessof the need to do content marketing. 

This uncertainty seemed to have beenovercome in 2019, when 96% ofmarketers said they perceivedcontent marketing as effective for their brand.

The point we want to get at in this blogpost is tangent: what are the parameters youcan use to determine the effectiveness of a content strategy?

Content Marketing Metrics

Most companies face this difficulty,wondering how they can demonstrate thereturn on the investment of their plan? So let’s look at some metricsto consider when measuring the effectiveness of a strategy. They can be groupedinto three sets, each broken downby channels of use.

Consumer Metrics

These are the basic metrics, of a purelyquantitative sort, that give you an idea of how much content is used and by how many people. Let’s just saythese are the metrics you should start with, as they answer the most pressingquestions.

Google Analytics

  • 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 withother parameters:

  • Localization:if you have a blog in Spanish, this helps you understand if the traffic is fromSpain or from South America. This fact will guide your future strategies,leading you to favor aspects for South America rather than Europe, or viceversa.
  • Channel:to understand where the visits to your content come from and understand what toimprove 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 thecontent), or its layout or format.

Segmentation alsohelps you divide traffic results based on the type of content, so as to compareblog traffic with that of your website and get an idea of the proportionsbetween the two to see if there is a concerning under or over-performance ofthe blog compared to the site.

Email

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.

Engagement Metrics

Next step: learn more about theconsumption metrics to understand howyour audience interacts with the content and how it grabs theirattention. This is where the engagement metrics come into play.

Google Analytics

  • 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 valuableindicator for guiding your strategy.
  • Pages per session:this metric returns the total number of pages visited by a user during the samebrowsing session.
  • New users vs. recurring users:this shows you how many new people your blog can attract and how many itre-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 andprompts 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 lattercan be misleading (classic case: the user simply left their PC open on thatpage and continued to do something else), scroll tracking indicates if peoplehave read 25%, 50%, 75 % or 100% of your article. In short, a preciousengagement metric.

Again, remember that you can segment your content to get resultsrelated to a certain topic, format, or length.

Social Media

  • Shares:retweets, re-pings, or any social sharing metric, which reveals how much yourcontent produces engagement and interest.
  • Comments:whether positive or negative, a comment is a strong indicator of how much youraudience is involved.
  • Follower growth:this provides the number of users who voluntarily chose to be reached by yourcontent.

Email

  • Subscriptions:as with follower growth, growth in email contacts shows how people choose toreceive your content in their inbox.
  • Unsubscriptions: theother side of the coin, but equally important for understanding if your plangenerates engagement or not.
  • Email forwarding:rarer than in social networks, sharing an email (via the Send to afriend button or by forwarding via their email client) is an importantindicator of engagement.

Messaging apps

  • 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.

Conversion metrics

Saleslead generation and leadnurturing are among the main objectives of companies, this is nothingnew. However, we know how difficult it is to track the direct ROI of contentmarketing. Let’s try to make some sense of it all.

Google Analytics

Leadgeneration:

  • Number of conversions:by setting goals in Google Analytics, you can measure how many subscriptions toyour newsletter, quote requests, or trial activations your content produces.
  • Conversion rate:calculated by dividing the total number of goal conversions by the total numberof sessions.

Sales:

  • Transactions:lets you know the percentage of transactions coming from the content, and theiramount.
  • Purchase time:shows the total number of days a user needs to complete a purchase followingthe first contact with the content. This metric also provides you with valuableideas for understanding how to improve each touchpoint of your customerjourney.

It is fundamental that these metricsgive you a picture of how usersreach conversion and the percentage of abandonment at each stage of theconversion path, so as to develop strategies to minimize it with furthercontent.

Social Media

  • Conversions:Facebook and Twitter let you measure the ROI, providing the actions performedby users after viewing promoted content.

3 Types of Underperforming Content and Possible Actions

We can identify three categories ofpoorly performing content:

Content that has stopped performing

Some products of your strategy may havebeen popular for a certain period, favoring traffic and conversions, only tothen experience a progressive drop in results.

Whatto do: this is the type of underperformingcontent that lends itself well to updates and renewals.

Content that has never been performing

Which company hasn’t produced contentthat wound up being ineffective? It falls like dead leaves from your plan,content that has had littlepotential since its conception. It could be content on obsolete topics(technologies, habits, strategies, tastes, fashions) that nobody is looking foranymore.

Whatto do:

  • Removeit
  • Redirectall 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 themetrics indicated above and by applying segmentation to understand if contentof the same genre, topic, or theme instead gets satisfactory results.

Whatto do:

  • Writenew articles on the topic
  • Updateand renew the non-performing content
  • Convertthat content into a new format: from blog posts to videos, for example, or aninfo graphic or podcast. The choice will largely depend on your audience’spreferences and how easy and feasible the conversion is.

This article was written by

Andrea Serventi

Andrea Serventi

Editor

I was born in 1986 in Milan, where I graduated in Modern Literature and started writing for online newspapers, magazines and TV news programs. Having now converted to marketing and the digital world, I am a Content Editor at MailUp: I read, listen, collect ideas, and write about what email marketing is and how to use it strategically.

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