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Content Marketing Metrics: How to Measure What Actually Matters

Mo Shehu

Mo Shehu

Learn how to go beyond traffic and revenue to measuring content marketing metrics that matter.

Table of contents

I hate to break it to you, but ‘traffic’ and ‘revenue’ aren’t actually the best content marketing metrics by which to measure content performance.

The best metrics for your business depend entirely on its growth stage and the goals you want to achieve.

There is no one-size-fits-all metric, and each metric needs a weight (more on that later).

To illustrate this point, consider the case of traffic.

We all love seeing the Google Analytics traffic graph climb up and to the right, but ‘traffic’ becomes a meaningless metric if:

  • There’s a high bounce rate
  • It’s coming from the wrong demographic
  • It’s from the wrong locations
  • It’s mostly paid traffic
  • It’s seasonal
  • It’s going to the wrong pages

Another ‘safe’ metric often cited is ‘revenue’. Everyone wants more revenue, right? But even revenue is meaningless if:

  • Customers churn quicker than revenue growth
  • Your AOVs and/or margins are tiny
  • The revenue is negligible to the company (Google doesn’t care about an extra $1m)
  • You want something else, like community engagement or PR
  • You’re losing market share
  • You’re running afoul of regulations

To choose content marketing metrics, start with what you want to achieve.

Then, choose the best ways to measure if you’re reaching that goal, considering everything else happening in your business.

content marketing library

Categories of content marketing metrics

There are six main types of goals you can focus on in content marketing.

Each goal needs a different kind of content and has its own set of numbers to look at to see if you’re succeeding.

Traffic and reach goals

  • Increase website traffic
    • Page views: Number of times a page has been viewed.
    • Unique visitors: Number of individual users visiting the site.
    • Organic traffic: Number of visitors coming from search engines.
  • Expand market reach
    • Geographic distribution: Locations from which visitors are accessing the site.
    • New vs. returning visitors: Ratio of new to returning visitors.
  • Enhance SEO performance
    • Backlinks: Number of external links pointing to your content.
    • Domain authority: A measure of how well your website will rank on search engines.
    • Keyword ranking: Position of targeted keywords in search engine results.
  • Increase social media performance
    • Social shares: Number of times content is shared on social media.
    • Social engagement: Likes, comments, and other interactions on social media.

User engagement goals

  • Boost in-app engagement
    • Mobile user engagement: Time spent, pages viewed, and actions taken on mobile.
  • Boost content engagement
    • Average time on page: Amount of time users spend on a page.
    • Click-through rate (CTR): Percentage of users who click on a link.
    • Scroll depth: How far users scroll down a page.
  • Optimize website usability
    • Heatmaps: Visual representation of where users click, scroll, or hover.
    • User paths: Sequence of pages visited by users.

Event and community goals

  • Strengthen community engagement
    • Webinar attendees: Number of people who attend a webinar.
    • Event attendance: Number of attendees at offline events.
  • Leverage influencer partnerships
    • Influencer reach: Number of people reached through influencer marketing.
    • Influencer engagement: Interactions on posts from influencers.

Conversion and sales goals

  • Drive downloads
    • Downloads: Number of times a resource (e.g., eBook, white paper) is downloaded.
    • Video views: Number of times a video has been viewed.
    • Podcast downloads: Number of times a podcast episode is downloaded.
  • Drive conversions (signups, subscriptions)
    • Conversion rate: Percentage of users who complete a desired action.
    • Cost per conversion: Total cost divided by the number of conversions.
    • Return on investment (ROI): Profit generated from content marketing efforts.
  • Grow email list
    • Email open rate: Percentage of emails opened by recipients.
    • Email click rate: Percentage of clicks within an opened email.
    • Unsubscribe rate: Percentage of users who unsubscribe from an email list.
  • Optimize ad performance
    • Click-through rate (CTR): Percentage of users who click on a paid ad.
    • Cost per click (CPC): The cost incurred for each click on a paid ad.
  • Improve sales funnel efficiency
    • Lead generation rate: Number of new leads generated.
    • Lead-to-customer ratio: Percentage of leads converted into customers.
    • Sales cycle length: Time taken to convert a lead into a customer.
  • Increase revenue
    • Average order value (AOV): Average value of each transaction.
    • Revenue per user (RPU): Average revenue generated per user.

Customer relationship Goals

  • Increase customer retention
    • Customer retention rate: Percentage of customers retained over a period.
    • Net promoter score (NPS): Measure of customer loyalty.
    • Churn rate: Percentage of customers lost over a period.
  • Maximize customer lifetime value
    • Customer lifetime value (CLV): Total value a customer brings over their lifetime.
    • Revenue per user (RPU): Average revenue generated per user.
  • Lower customer acquisition cost
    • Customer acquisition cost (CAC): Cost to acquire a new customer.
    • Cost per lead (CPL): Cost to acquire a new lead.
  • Enhance customer satisfaction
    • Customer reviews: Number and quality of reviews received.
    • Customer service metrics: Response time, resolution time, etc.

Branding and awareness goals

  • Improve brand awareness
    • Influencer reach: Number of people reached through influencer marketing.
    • Press mentions: Number of times your content or brand is mentioned in the media.
  • Build thought leadership
    • Podcast invites: Number of people who invite you onto their podcasts
    • Speaking requests: Number of times you get asked to speak to an audience.
  • Earn PR
    • Press mentions: Number of times your content or brand is mentioned in the media.

You can’t just use one or two metrics to know if your content is working. What you need to look at will change as your business grows. 

For example, if you’re a new company trying to sell to big businesses, don’t just try to get clicks.

Those big clients won’t sign a deal just because they read a quick article. 

If an agency is only talking about getting more website visits but not how to get people to attend your webinars, they might not be right for you. 

Also, if you’re making more money but losing customers quickly, the issue might not be getting new customers but keeping them.

You might need to improve your welcome guides or create new emails to help people use your product better. 

This could mean looking at how many people click on your emails or watch your how-to videos.

Everything can be gamed

What gets measured gets managed. Humans Marketers are really good at making any number look good if you look at it by itself. 

This could mean stuffing articles with keywords to trick search engines, or keeping certain settings on in ads to game ad impressions (looking at you, ‘Audience Network’).

That’s why you have to be careful when picking what to measure.

Don’t just look at one thing, and make sure to add extra conditions to any number you pick. 

You want growth that lasts, not a quick boost that disappears.

Weights

In this case, a weight is just something that makes a number more meaningful.

For example, just wanting ‘more traffic’ doesn’t mean much unless you also aim for ‘low bounce rates.’ 

The same goes for ‘more press mentions’; it’s better if those mentions are from big names in a specific area. 

And ‘more signups’ is a better goal if you also aim for ‘more people actually paying after the trial’ or ‘fewer people leaving.’ 

Adding these extra conditions to your numbers pushes your team to think of new ways to grow in a way that lasts.

Summary

What you measure should match your business goals and where your company is at.

Don’t get fooled by big numbers in traffic or revenue; look deeper. 

Use more than one metric to get the full picture and add weights to make those metrics really count. 

As your business grows, your goals and metrics will change. The aim is not just to grow fast, but to grow in a way that lasts.


FAQs (a.k.a spider candy)

spider candy train

What are the key content marketing metrics I should focus on?

Key metrics to measure success can include website traffic, conversion rate, and customer retention. These metrics can help guide your content marketing strategy, but must still decide the most important content marketing metric for your situation.

How do Google Analytics and Google Search Console help in content marketing?

Google Analytics and Google Search Console provide valuable insight into user behavior, search queries, referral traffic, and website performance, helping you measure the success of your content marketing efforts.

What role does SEO content play in improving search engine rankings?

SEO content is crucial for driving organic traffic and improving your search engine rankings. It involves optimizing your content for targeted keywords.

How can a social media metric like social shares impact my content marketing?

Social shares, likes, and comments on social media platforms can give you an idea of how well your content is resonating with your target audience.

How do I calculate content marketing ROI?

Content marketing ROI involves measuring the revenue generated against the cost invested in your marketing efforts. Metrics like cost per lead and conversion rates are important here.

How can inbound marketing attract a potential customer?

Inbound marketing techniques like content creation and SEO can attract the potential customer you seek by providing valuable content that solves their problems or answers their questions.

How should my content strategy align with content creation?

Your content strategy should outline the types of content you’ll create and how they align with your overall content marketing goals, such as brand awareness or customer retention.

Can marketing automation tools improve engagement metrics?

Yes, marketing automation tools can help you manage and measure engagement metrics like email open rates and click-through rates more efficiently.

How do B2B marketers approach content marketing differently?

B2B marketers often focus on lead generation through more in-depth content forms like whitepapers and webinars, targeting a specific audience of business decision-makers.

What should I look for in visitor behavior and website traffic metrics?

Beyond just the number of visitors, look at metrics like time spent on site, pages viewed, and bounce rate to get a more complete picture of your content’s performance.

What’s the difference between consumption metrics and retention metrics?

Consumption metrics focus on how your content is initially consumed. This includes page views, time spent on page, and download rates. Retention metrics, on the other hand, measure how well you’re keeping your audience engaged over time, often seen in repeat visits, low churn rates, and high customer lifetime value.

What important metric should I use to assess Google Ads in my marketing campaign?

Google Ads can drive targeted traffic to your site content, but the key is to measure the right metrics to understand if these visitors are turning into potential customers. An important metric could include click-through rates from the ads, time spent on your site, or conversion rates.

How do campaigns, roles, and efforts intersect for content marketing success?

A content marketing campaign is a focused effort to achieve specific goals, like increasing brand awareness or driving sales. The content marketer is responsible for planning and executing these campaigns. The success of your content marketing effort is measured by how well these campaigns meet or exceed their goals, using a content metric like engagement rates, conversion rates, and ROI.

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