Marketers measure content marketing to show how it’s paying off for their brand. Certainly content marketing works. But the executives want concrete proof the money they’re spending on content produces a tangible return.

How you measure content marketing depends in part upon what your company hopes to get from it. Here’s what you need to know about content marketing metrics and measurements.

How Marketers and Agencies Measure Content Marketing

According to the Content Marketing Institute, there are four metrics that content marketers use to measure their content marketing. Those metrics are:

  • Sales metrics
  • Lead generation metrics
  • Consumption metrics
  • Sharing metrics

The metrics that a marketer or agency is likely to use depends on their specific goals. Furthermore, a brand is hoping to use content marketing to increase awareness or boost website traffic. Consumption metrics might be the most important option for the brand to use.

A brand wants a sense of how its content marketing is resonating with an audience (or if it’s resonating at all). It should look at sharing metrics to get a sense of what people are doing with the content, or how they are interacting with it.

Sales metrics can give brands an idea of whether their content marketing is actually doing anything to increase or alter sales. Likewise, lead generation metrics can give an idea of how many leads a piece of content or a campaign brings in.

Key Performance Indicators to Measure Content Marketing

If metrics are the “what” of content marketing measurement, key performance indicators (KPIs) are the “how.” You know that you want to track lead generation, sales, shares, or consumptions — here are the KPIs that allow you to visualize those metrics.

Consumption KPIs

Unique visitors

The number of unique visits a piece of content receives. In contrast, this does not compare the same person reading a blog post over and over again.

Time spent

Unique visitors just tells part of the story. Time spent on the page lets you know how long people are spending with your content.

Download rate

You might not need this KPI if your content isn’t something people download. Thus promoting an ebook, white paper, or infographic, download rate can give you an idea of how many people are taking the steps needed to download the content.

Geography/location

A location KPI can let you see where your content is being consumed the most, and where your audience is coming from.

Cost per click

For every visitor or “click,” how much is your brand spending on content marketing?

Share KPIs

Number of shares

The number of people who have shared your content with their friends/followers on social media.

Comments

People can comment without sharing. Therefore knowing how many people are commenting on a social post can give you an idea of how well it’s resonating with them.

Like rate

Similar to comments, tracking the number of likes a post gets can help give you an idea of how resonant your content is. Likewise, you can use comments and like rates as both consumption KPIs and share KPIs.

Forwards

If you send out an email newsletter, tracking the number of forwards each message gets can help you see how many people are sharing it with their friends.

Links

Track the number of links a piece of content gets from other websites/blogs.

Lead Generation KPIs

Email subscriber rate

You can track how many people sign up for your brand’s email newsletter after reading particular pieces of content.

Blog subscriber rate

Track how many subscribers you get from various content pieces.

Download rate

If your content is gated (i.e., people need to provide an email or other information to access it), tracking the download rate can help you see how many people are willing to subscribe to your newsletter/blog to get access to your content.

Cost per lead

Track how much you are spending on content marketing for every new lead you get.

Sales KPIs

Conversion rate

How many people end up buying something from your brand after looking at your content? How many pieces of content do people typically consume before they make a purchase?

Cost per conversion

What is your brand spending for every sale it ends up making?

Customer retention rate

Of the customers you gain through content marketing, how many end up coming back for more?

Tools to Use to Measure Content Marketing

You don’t have to measure or track your content marketing by hand. Several tools are available (many of them free) to help you keep track of how your content marketing is performing. Additionally, they show whether it’s on track to help you reach your goals.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics lets you see how many people are visiting your site and your content. It also shows who those people are, where they are coming from, and how much time they spend engaging with your content.

Social media analytics

Twitter and Facebook both have built-in analytics tools that let you see how many people are following your account, how many shares your posts gets, who’s liking your posts, and so on.

Buffer

Buffer lets you schedule social media posts, and gives you the ability to track their performance in terms of likes, shares, and comments. Also, Buffer allows you see which social media platform is the most effective for your business.

Ecommerce analytics

The ecommerce platform your brand uses can help you see how many sales you make in a given period, and what the source of those sales is.

Content marketing software

Invest in content marketing software that puts all the metrics and analytics you need to measure content marketing in one place.

How to Tell If Your Content Marketing Is Successful

The success of your content marketing depends in large part on the goal you set for it at the start of your campaign. Also, it is how that goal compares to the KPIs you’re looking at.

When you began your campaign, your goal was to increase sales by 10 percent per month over the course of 6 months. Your brand began the campaign with an average of 100 sales each month. As a result, your average monthly sales have increased to 111 after the send of 6 months. You met your intended goal!

If your content marketing hasn’t succeeded, you can use your metrics to get a sense of where it’s going wrong. Perhaps no one is looking at it, so you’re not getting the chance to convert people. Similarly people are bouncing quickly after arriving on the page. That means your content isn’t engaging people or grabbing their attention.

Knowing where your content marketing is stumbling means you have the ability to correct it. If people just aren’t looking at your content, you can change your approach to promoting it. There is always opportunity to pep it up.

There shouldn’t be much guesswork involved in content marketing. You have the tools at your fingertips to measure its performance. These tools will help make sure it’s on track to help your brand achieve your goals.

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