Content marketing metrics you need to be measuring

Content marketing has become a key part of any business’s B2B marketing strategy. But how do you know if it’s actually working? It’s easy to just look at page views and judge how well your content is doing, but there are far more methodical ways to analyse how effective your content marketing strategy is.

Marketing guru Jay Baer is an advocate of four key content marketing metrics:

1. Consumptions metrics

2. Sharing metrics

3. Lead generation metrics

4. Sales metrics.

But how do you measure these across the various distribution platforms and tactics you’re using to share your content? Here’s how:

Content martketing metrics you need to be measuring

1. Consumption metrics

As Baer highlights, this is the most fundamental type of content metric. You want to know who is reading your content and this can be done in various ways depending on how you are distributing your content.

Website/blog

Use Google Analytics to measure traffic to your page:

Page views

The most basic and obvious of metrics, find out how many views your web page is attracting. While page views will not give you insight on the demographic of the user, it lets you know if the content that you’ve worked so hard to produce is actually being read.

If you want to get more detailed insight on where page views are coming from, there are ways to drill down into the data using GA filters. You can filter page views by source to establish where your clicks are coming from. Select the table data (top right of the page) you would like to view and then change the secondary dimension (top left of the page).

Average time spent on page

This is a valuable metric as it will let you know how long the users are lingering and help you establish whether they actually read your content once they’ve clicked onto the page, or simply glance and then hit the back button. Pages with the longest average time on page are good indicators of what kind of content is working the best.

Bounce rates

The bounce rate indicates the percentage of people that left the page on your website without viewing any other pages. This metric will help you establish if your content is driving visitors to engage with further pages on your website. Tracking your customer journey from one page to another is also a good indicator how well your call to actions are working.

Social media

Social media is better for measuring sharing metrics, but there are still consumption metrics that you should be tracking:

Link clicks

While likes, retweets and shares are good sharing metrics, they don’t inform you whether people have actually read the content. Use link trackers like Bit.ly or the ow.ly links on Hootsuite to measure clicks. Many marketers are surprised to find out that their most liked tweet is not always the most read piece of content: it’s much easier to click a like button than to click through to a link and read the full article.

Email

Use email marketing platforms such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, Pure360 and marketing automation platforms like Marketo, Pardot and Act-On to track your email consumption metrics.

Open rates

The first hurdle to overcome when distributing content via email is actually getting the recipient to open the email. The open rate will tell you how enticing your subject line was and who read the information in your email, but what you really want to know is who clicked on your content…

Click-through rates

Embedded links in your email will let you know what call to actions and link descriptions are the most effective. The average click rate on B2B emails is 5.27%, compared to an open rate of 23.84% so ensure you put any vital information in the body of your email.

Content martketing metrics you need to be measuring

2. Sharing metrics

Sharing metrics establish if your readers deem your content valuable enough to share with their other contacts. It’s also a very tangible way to literally find out if people are reading your content ‘like’ it. Plus, it’s a publically visible metric, so can act as a catalyst for other metrics.  

Website/blog

Social buttons

Ensure you have social tracking links set up within your website via share icons so that users can easily share your content and you can track how many shares you are getting. The best way to track these is through a third party app such as Audisence (previously SocialBro), Buffer or Buzzsumo.

Social media

You can measure these analytics through individual social networks via the Insights function or, as with websites and blogs, use a third party app to get a holistic view of your social metrics.

Retweets and shares

Retweets on Twitter and shares on Facebook and LinkedIn are a great way to have your content distributed to a wider network. Retweets are a sign of value as the sharer has found your content valuable enough to share with their audience.

Likes

Likes are a sign of appreciation and while it may not be directly shared with your recipients’ wider network, the more ‘likes’ a post has, the higher it will be pushed up a newsfeed on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and on Twitter if someone searches for a particular term, it will push the tweet higher up the ‘most popular’ list, making your post more likely to be seen.

Email

Forwards

If recipients find content in an email or newsletter particularly informative, they will be more likely forward it on to their colleagues. Unfortunately there is no way to track the forwarding of emails through native email providers: only embedded links can be tracked, making this a tricky metric.

However, as Pawan Deshpande highlights, there is a way that you can encourage readers to forward the email by providing a forward-to-a-friend button or link embedded in the email which your email service provider will pick up.

Content martketing metrics you need to be measuring

3. Lead metrics

Lead metrics help to determine if your content is receiving contact details in return for the information you are providing to your readers. This, as Baer puts it, is when “we’re sniffing dollars, not just gathering eyeballs,” as these metrics will tell you whether your content is leading towards winning you business in the middle of the funnel.

You can gate content behind a landing page and contact form so that you gather lead metrics prior to consuming content, which is a wise choice if you are offering a particularly valuable piece of content, such as a whitepaper or report.

You can set up campaign tracking using automation systems such as Hubspot or Marketo to establish how many new leads were generated from a certain piece of content and whether they are new leads or existing leads.

You can then establish the following:

·  Average lead close rate

·  Average leads per day month-over-month growth

·  Paid versus organic lead percentage.

And most importantly what they are specifically interested in to help inform your sales team conversations.

Content martketing metrics you need to be measuring

4. Sales metrics

This is now the bottom of the funnel: find out how your content is filling your pipeline and driving revenue. You should use your customer and prospect database to establish which content the customer reads and whether they turned into a sale.

Sales automation systems like Hubspot and Marketo will have an automated way to action this, but if not, you can use this handy metrics calculator from Curata:

£/$ x Revenue x Generated

% x Pipeline x Influenced

£ of Pipeline Opportunities Influenced. This tells you how much of the sales pipeline has been influenced by consuming one or more of your pieces of content. You can report on this metric for a single piece of content, over several pieces of content, or for all content across the board.

£ of Revenue Influenced. In a similar manner, this number tells you the dollar amount of revenue closed where a contact associated with that opportunity consumed one or more pieces of content prior to the deal closing.

£ of Pipeline Opportunities Generated. Using a first-touch attribution model, you can tally up the total dollar amount of all opportunities where the first touch of the lead associated with the opportunity was a piece of content your team created. If that’s confusing, think of it as reporting on the amount of sales you ultimately generated because the prospect found you through your content.

£ of Pipeline Revenue Generated. This is very similar to the prior metric but it’s filtered to only opportunities that were ultimately won. This is often considered the ultimate metric, because it’s counting dollars at the bottom of the funnel that were actually marketing-generated–and it cannot be easily gamed or fudged.

Content marketing is more than just awareness it does drive leads and sales, so ensure that you are using these metrics to establish whether your content marketing strategy is working and use the results to inform your strategy going forward.

Q&A with Joe Pulizzi, founder and author, Content Marketing Institute

Take a look at the recent Q&A with Joe Pulizzi to get a real insight inside the content marketing mastermind.  

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Q&A with Joe Pulizzi, founder and author, Content Marketing Institute