Measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy is a facet that every marketer cannot underestimate. After coming up with a marketing strategy that incorporates various aspects, ranging from optimization, customer dynamics, and engagement, you must measure its efficacy and return on investment. Measuring content success is not easy. A single metric cannot give a wholesome conclusion on the success of your marketing strategy. Here are the 8 most important content marketing metrics:
1. ConsumptionThis is the most essential metric. You can derive it from YouTube insights or Google Analytics. The focus is on:
- the number of people who have consumed your content - views or downloads
- the channels they use to consume your content
- the frequency of the consumption
- a) Website/blog- with a tool like Google Analytics you can look at: page views, average time spent on the site, and visitors
- b) Social media-here you can check click-through action using tools like bit.ly
- c) Feeds- check for clicks and views using Feedburner and feedblitz
- d) eBooks and white papers- you can use tools like Pardot, Eloqua, Marketo, and Act-On to check factors like downloads and form completions. Note that if the eBooks or white papers are usually indexed by search engines, users may download them without filling in the form.
- e) Email- check open rates and clicks that result from email campaigns. Use tools like Marketo, Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Eloqua
2. SharingThis metric measures the success of your content in terms of shareability. It tracks:
- how frequently consumers share your content with other people or on the various social media platforms
- the type of content that is mostly shared
- the consumers who share the content, and their dynamics
- the platforms where they share it
- and even how they share it
One of the best tools that you can use to measure this metric is PostRank Analytics. This tool uses a combination of different sharing behavior. The only downside is that PostRank analytics was recently bought by Google. This means that you can no longer use it directly. However, there is a high likelihood that it now forms part of Google’s algorithms. A tool that you can still use is SharedCount. It helps in the quantification of shares, retweets, and likes on social media.
3. RetentionThis metric’s focus on how long your content can hold the audience’s attention. Here is what you can look out for on various platforms:
- a) Website/blog -number of visits, bounce rate, percentage of returning visitors, and pages per visit. Google analytics will come in handy
- b) Email- the people who unsubscribe or opt out from your email content
- c) On social media, just track your followers
- d) Feeds-here, you can quantify your subscriber base
4. Lead generationThis metric measures the financial aspect of your content marketing strategy. This is the middle of the marketing funnel.
If your site has a lead form, you can determine the number of people who filled the lead form after they consumed your site’s content. A browser cookie will help track users who fill lead forms even days or weeks after visiting your site. If you handle leads on phone, a simple script will show a trackable phone number when viewers first watch a video or download a presentation.
The bottom line when measuring this metric is the frequency with which consumers turn to leads. You can also determine the new leads generated, and even existing leads that have been influenced by your content. Some of the tools that you can use here are Marketo, Act-On, Eloqua, and Pardot.
5. EngagementThis metric measures the extent to which your content resonates with your readers. It measures the kind of action readers take after reading your content. Do they even take any action? Here is what to look out for on various platforms:
- a) Website/blog- use Google analytics to measure a user’s session duration, and page depth
- b) Social media-use Disqus to measure comments and other forms of social chatter
- c) Feeds-quantify the subscriber base using tools like FeedBlitz and FeedBurner
6. SalesThis metric is a bit technical. It involves customers at the bottom of the sales funnel. It entails tracking:
- the frequency with which visitors become customers
- the content that a prospective customer consumed before he converted
7. CostThis metric measures your return on investment in content marketing. Look at how much it costs to produce each piece of content, (blog post, email campaign, white paper among others). Cost includes: staff time, stock images, paid distribution channels, freelance budget, and design fees.
8. ProductionThis metric is largely internal. Here, you look at content operations. Some of the factors to consider:
- Whether the content generation team meets editorial calendar deadlines or goals
- How long it takes for a content idea to become publishable content
- The pieces of content published monthly or weekly
You need not measure all these metrics at once. Begin from the top of the sales funnel, and measure one metric at a time. It is advisable to frequently measure the efficacy of your marketing. This helps you make necessary improvements along the way. It also helps you to identify evergreen content, as well as the content that doesn’t work, or even that which is seasonal.