Let's talk content marketing. It's no secret that this is a key strategy for growing a business–yours and your clients'. But with so many metrics floating around, it can get a bit overwhelming, can't it?
You've got piles of data from different clients, and your agency's job is to sift through it all. You need to figure out which metrics are the heavy hitters, how to keep tabs on them, and how to show the long-term impact of SEO. That sounds like a lot, we know.
So here's the real question: Which content marketing metrics count when discussing content marketing success? And, more importantly, how do you keep track of these metrics for each of your clients' specific needs?
Don't worry. We've got you covered. This blog post will cut through the noise and show you which content marketing metrics really matter. We'll guide you on how to measure them effectively for each of your clients at scale.
So, let's dive in and make some sense of these numbers.
What Makes A Great Content Marketing Metric?
Content marketing metrics are data points that help your agency understand your content strategy and track its success. For example, metrics can determine the performance of social media posts, how much traffic it generates, and whether those efforts contribute to the sales funnel. It’s possible to track several key metrics depending on the type of content being produced.
The best marketing metrics to track content's performance are relevant, actionable, and easy to measure in most cases.
The Importance of Setting Content Marketing Goals
Content marketing benefits your client's business, including increasing brand awareness and building customer loyalty. However, it can take time to see results. By setting goals, you can help ensure that your marketing efforts for your client are having the desired impact on your business.
Setting clear goals will help you determine what type of content to create and how often you should post. It can also help you track your progress over time to make adjustments as needed.
By determining the goals you want to achieve with your strategy and setting clear benchmarks, you ensure that your content marketing efforts impact your client’s business.
Goal-setting is one of the most important things you can do to set your client up for content marketing success. Without goals to work towards, it is easy to lose sight of what your strategy is trying to accomplish.
For example, if you want to grow your client’s email list, you should aim to create a certain number of engaging blog posts each week. By having specific goals in place, you are more likely to stay on track and achieve the results that you are looking for.
Content marketing provides organic traffic and builds your clients' brand and reputation as a thought leader in the industry.
While many agencies and marketers understand the benefits of content marketing well, the challenge is that it’s a much more long-term strategy than PPC advertising, for example. Unfortunately, this also means pinpointing an exact ROI on your content marketing can be much more difficult than tracking the ROAS of paid ads.
What Are Your Objectives and KPIs for Content Marketing?
Your client’s business objectives will determine the KPIs you should track. For example, you should track metrics like traffic and conversion rates if you’re using content marketing to generate leads for your client. To build awareness, track engagement metrics (e.g., shares).
Depending on your client’s goals, you may also want to track things like domain authority and page authority. Domain authority measures the strength of a website’s domain. Page authority measures the strength of individual pages on the website.
Whether you’re using content marketing for SEO purposes or not, these metrics can help you track the overall health of your client’s site.
KPIs are just an extension of us living out our core values. KPIs keep us accountable. KPIs provide the client transparency into what work we delivery and most importantly, KPIs demonstrate that we are on track and achieving mutually agreed upon goals - this is our agencies true north "results for clients".
David Krauter, SEO Strategist at Websites That Sell
Keep Everyone on the Same Page
Before deciding which content metrics to measure, ensure that every member of your marketing team (and your client) understands the KPIs and objectives of each content marketing campaign.
This is distinct from the overall topic of "How do you quantify content marketing ROI?" (which we answer near the end of this article).
Identifying your core objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) is critical in selecting which content metrics to employ to measure your content marketing activities.
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15 Important Content Marketing Metrics to Track
Content marketing has the dual benefit of providing organic traffic while building your company's brand and reputation as a thought leader in the industry.
While many agencies and marketers understand the benefits of content marketing well, the challenge is that it’s a much more long-term strategy than paid advertising, for example. Unfortunately, this also means it can be much more difficult to pinpoint an exact ROI on your content marketing than to track the ROAS of paid ads.
Despite this inherent challenge, there are a number of metrics and KPIs that agencies should use to measure the performance of their content marketing strategy for a client. This article will discuss 15+ metrics you should be tracking to make content marketing a worthwhile investment for your clients.
User Behavior Metrics
User behavior metrics indicate how well each article or page performs in terms of overall traffic and how users interact with the content based on its quality. One of the best ways to track and measure user behavior metrics is our Google Analytics integration which includes each of the metrics below in a unified content marketing dashboard.
When it comes to content marketing, the first important metric you’ll typically look at is Pageviews, which tells you the total number of times a page has been loaded. Unlike Sessions, GA counts a Pageview as each instance a browser loads a particular page, regardless of whether it’s viewed multiple times by the same person.
Pageviews can provide you with a general indication of how well an article or webpage is performing. However, it must be combined with other content metrics to get a complete picture of performance.
This metric refers to the total number of unique visitors to your website. Unlike pageviews that count a person's visit multiple times, users tell you how many actual people are landing on your website. Users can also be further broken down into returning users and new users based on if they’ve visited your site before.
Sessions represent a single visit to your website. For example, if a user comes to your client’s website and spends five minutes reading one article, that would count as a single session. If that user returns to your site and reads another article, that wouldn’t count as a new user but as a new session.
To find the number of sessions for a specific piece of content, you can simply click on “Pages” and toggle “Sessions” on:
Percentage of New Sessions
The percentage of new sessions is another helpful metric that tells you the number of first-time visitors to your site vs. returning visitors.
The percentage of new sessions is calculated by dividing New Sessions by All Sessions. This metric can be considered an indirect engagement metric. Many returning visitors indicate that people are interested in your content and learning more about your business.
Website Sessions by Source
Website sessions by source is another valuable metric for content marketing. It tells you which channels are performing well and which sources may be an opportunity for growth. Knowing which organic traffic sources perform best can also help plan your content distribution strategy.
Average Time on Page
The average time a user spends on a page is another helpful indicator of content quality and gives you an idea of the type of content that resonates with your target audience.
By determining the pages with the highest time on page, you can look for similarities in the content—for example, if they included infographics, videos, etc. Then, once you know what’s working, you can double down on that type of content going forward.
Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors that navigate away from a site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate can indicate that you need to add or adjust a call-to-action (CTAs) to the post in content marketing.
Bounce rate is important to keep an eye on as it can lead to issues with delivery rates down the line. You always want to sanitize your email lists and make sure you aren't getting high bounce rates.
Bryan Lozano, Vice President of Operations at Ad-Apt
Aside from CTAs, you should also check the page speed and scan for potential SEO issues with a site audit tool to improve the bounce rate.
Pages Per Session
Pages per session are defined as the average number of pages viewed during a single session. This is another valuable metric to get an idea of an article’s level of engagement. One strategy to increase the average pages per session is to use interlinking on your content or linking to other pages with more information on the subject.
Without organic search traffic, there’s a good chance your content won’t deliver how many leads or conversions you or your clients are looking for. This section will look at five SEO metrics related to content performance in search engine results.
Impressions & Click Through Rate (CTR)
Combining these two content metrics can provide valuable insights into search performance. For example, a high number of impressions and a low click though rate (CTR) may mean that you need to change the post’s title or meta description.
You can use our Google Search Console integration to track how many impressions and engagement metrics (e.g., CTRs) your clients' content received. Segment this Google Search Console data based on top queries, top pages, countries, and devices:
Image: AgencyAnalytics Google Search Console Dashboard
Average position is another useful search metric that can tell you which content you should be focused on optimizing for a higher SERP ranking. For example, suppose an article is ranked at position 11 on page 2 of SERPs. In that case, this presents a considerable SEO opportunity as it's estimated that 95% of searchers will never go past the first page.
Here's a tip: use a keyword rank tracker to monitor for changes in the average position in both Google and Bing.
Another useful metric that can influence your keyword rankings is the number and quality of backlinks. For example, with our backlink checker, you can track new and lost links and additional metrics, including Trust Flow, Citation Flow, and more.
Although traffic is a valuable performance indicator, most clients and businesses care more about leads and conversions. Specifically, attributing a monetary value to your content marketing will go a long way to retaining clients over the long run.
Also referred to as conversions, Goal Completions allow you to track the number of specific actions that website visitors take. Goals can range from signing up for a newsletter, adding a product to the cart, or completing a purchase. You can access Goal Completions for specific keywords with our GA integration under the Acquisition -> Organic Search tab:
It is the monetary value associated with completing a specific goal. Assigning a Goal Value is optional in Google Analytics, as not all goals have a clear monetary value. However, if you can assign a dollar amount to goals, you can tell a story about your services concerning their business goals. You can find the Goal Value for specific pages under the Pages -> Landing Pages tab.
Also referred to as Goal Completion Rate, tracking how many pages convert allows you to determine how effectively you’re moving prospects from the awareness and consideration stage toward a conversion (like direct sales). This sales metric also identifies which pages may need further conversion rate optimization (CRO) if they’re below a specific baseline relative to other pages. For content marketing, examples of CRO best practices include adding call-to-actions throughout the page and clearly defining the next steps you want visitors to take.
Page value is another useful metric in Google Analytics that tells you the most valuable pages regarding how they contribute to the site’s revenue. Page value is the average value of a page that a user visits before reaching the goal page or completing a transaction. You can find both the average page value across all pages and specific values of each page under the Pages -> All pages tab with our Google Analytics integration:
How To Measure Content Marketing ROI
As an agency, you want to know if you are creating effective content marketing strategies for clients. You also want to know if people are reading and engaging with the content you are creating for clients. Finally, you want to know if your client’s visitors share your content and click on your inbound links. How can you consistently measure this for your clients?
Many businesses use Google Analytics to track their website traffic, but it’s impossible to track all readers who come from social media channels. So instead, you should use both analytics tools and third-party measurement tools to get the most accurate picture of your content’s reach.
These measurement tools will help you track the impact of your content, allowing you to see which posts are most successful and which social media platforms are best for reaching your target audience.
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Summary: Content Marketing Metrics to Measure Success
It's essential to define the content metrics you'll use to measure performance when creating a content marketing strategy for your agency or clients. Whether it's a certain number of sales metrics like leads or purchases, working backward from the ROI you're looking for allows you to specify the traffic and conversion rate you'll need to achieve those goals and get your clients to the top of the search engines.
Each of these content marketing metrics is valuable to measure the success of your marketing campaigns. However, looking at them in a content marketing dashboard allows you to pinpoint what's working and what needs refining. Whether it's changing the type of content to improve bounce rate or the distribution strategy, keep in mind that content marketing is an investment.
Tracking these key content metrics will help you to conquer keyword rankings and succeed in the long run.
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