When it comes to growing an agency or client's business, content marketing can be one of the most valuable strategies available.
Content marketing has the benefit of not only providing organic search traffic, but can also build 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. This also means it can be much more difficult to pinpoint an exact ROI on your content marketing than it is to track the ROAS of paid ads.
Despite this inherent challenge, there are a number of metrics and KPIs that you can use to measure the performance of your content marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll discuss 15+ metrics you should be tracking in order to achieve success from your investment in content marketing.
These content marketing metrics are split into three main categories, including:
User Behaviour Metrics
User behavior metrics provide both an indication of how well each article or page is performing in terms of overall traffic, as well as content quality by how users are interacting with the content. One of the best ways to track and measure user behavior metrics is with our Google Analytics integration, which includes each of the metrics below in a unified dashboard.
When it comes to content marketing, the first metric you’ll typically look at is pageviews, which tells you the total number of times a page has been loaded. Unlike Sessions, Google Analytics counts a pageview as each instance that a browser loads a particular page, regardless if 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, although it must be combined with other metrics to get a complete picture of performance.
In Google Analytics, users refer 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 website and spends 5 minutes reading one article on your site, that would count as a single session. If that user comes back to your site and reads another article, that wouldn’t count as a new user, but as a new session.
In order 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
Percentage of new sessions is another useful metric that tells you the number of first-time visitors to your site vs. returning visitors. Percentage of new sessions is calculated by dividing New Sessions by All Sessions. This metric can be considered as an indirect engagement metric, as a high number of returning visitors indicates that people are interested in your content and learning more about your business.
Website Sessions by Source
Website sessions by source is another useful metric for content marketing as it tells you which channels are performing well and which sources may be an opportunity for growth. Knowing which traffic sources perform best can also be useful in planning your content distribution strategy.
Average Time on Page
The average time a user spends on a page is another useful indicator of content quality and gives you an idea of the type of content that resonates with your 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, and so on. 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. In terms of content marketing, a high bounce rate can indicate that you need to add or adjust a call-to-action (CTAs) to the post. Aside from CTAs, you should also check the page speed and scan for potential any SEO issues with a site audit tool to improve bounce rate.
Pages Per Session
Pages per session is defined as the average number of pages viewed during a single session. This is another useful 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 in 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 the leads or conversions you or your clients are looking for. In this section, we’ll look at five metrics related to your content’s performance in search engines.
Impressions & Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The combination of these two metrics together can provide valuable insight into your content’s search performance. For example, a high number of impressions and a low CTR may mean that you need to change the post’s title or meta description. Impressions and CTR can be tracked using our Google Search Console integration, which can be segmented based on top queries, top pages, countries, and devices:
Average position is another useful search metric that can tell you which content you should be focused on optimizing. For example, if an article is ranked at position 11 on page 2 of SERPs, this presents a huge SEO opportunity as it's estimated that 95% of searchers will never go past the first page. You can track the average position in Google Search Console or use our keyword rank tracker to monitor for changes in average position in both Google and Bing:
Another useful metric that can influence your search rankings is the number and quality of backlinks. For example, with our backlink checker, you can track new and lost links, as well as additional metrics including Trust Flow, Citation Flow, and more.
Although traffic is a useful performance indicator of your content marketing strategy, the vast majority of clients and businesses care much more about leads and conversions. Specifically, being able to attribute 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 a visitor took on the website. Goals can range from signing up for a newsletter, adding a product to cart, or completing a purchase. You can access Goal Completions for specific keywords with our Google Analytics integration under the Acquisition -> Organic Search tab:
Goal Value 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. If you’re able to, however, taking the time to assign a dollar amount to goals allows you to tell a much clearer story to clients about the value of your services in relation to their business goals. You can find the Goal Value for specific pages under the Pages -> Landing Pages tab in Google Analytics:
Also referred to as Goal Completion Rate, tracking the conversion rate of your content allows you to determine how effectively you’re moving prospects from the awareness and consideration stage towards a conversion. Conversion rate also allows you to identify which pages may need further conversion rate optimization (CRO) if they’re below a specific baseline relative to other pages. When it comes to 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 which are the most valuable pages in terms of how they contribute to the site’s revenue. Page value is defined as the average value of a page that a user visited 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:
Summary: Content Marketing Metrics to Measure Success
When creating a content marketing strategy for your agency or clients, it's essential to define the metrics you'll use to measure performance. Whether it's a certain number of 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.
Each of these content marketing metrics is valuable to measure the success of your campaign, although looking at them as a whole in a unified dashboard allows you to pinpoint what's working and what needs refining. Whether it's changing the type of content you're creating or the distribution strategy, keep in mind that content marketing is an investment, and tracking these metrics will help you to succeed in the long-run.