Content marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach and engage your audience. It’s how you drive those clicks, climb the SERPs, boost conversions, and hopefully, generate more leads and sales for your clients.
However, content marketing goes beyond producing content.
You need to know whether those blogs, social media posts, videos, and infographics are actually driving results. If yes, why and how can you replicate that success? If not, what’s going wrong, and how can you fix it?
Tracking and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) are how you answer those questions.
The problem is, with so many different types of content and platforms, it can be difficult to know which KPIs you should focus on. Maybe you’re not even familiar with content marketing KPIs yet.
So, in this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about content marketing KPIs, from what they are and why they matter to which ones you should track for your business.
The first step of launching a content marketing campaign should be establishing sound measurement practices from the start. This will help you determine whether your content is having the desired effect and achieving your business goals.
This accomplishes a few things:
In addition, this also allows you to assess and measure content performance throughout the campaign, not just at the end. By doing so, you avoid wasting time and resources on content that’s not working, and you can make adjustments on the fly to improve results.
There are three main aspects of content performance assessment. Here are the following:
First, you need to decide which content performance metrics are most important to your business goals. This will vary depending on your industry, target audience, and objectives.
For instance, a B2B company might focus on metrics like leads generated or time spent on site, while a B2C ecommerce business might care more about conversion rate or social media engagement.
If you’re not sure where to start, try looking towards the future. What would success look like for you? Maybe that’s getting to the top of Google for a certain keyword or having your content shared by a major influencer. Once you’ve identified those goals, work backwards to determine which metrics will help you get there.
Once you know what you want to track, it’s time to think about how you’ll track it. There are countless tools out there that’ll help you collect and track your data. For instance, you can hook up your website to Google Analytics, which will give you insights into things like pageviews, unique visitors, and bounce rate.
You can also use Google Search Console to track your organic traffic and keywords or a tool like BuzzSumo to see how your content is performing on social media. Ultimately, the tool you use is up to you, your budget, and your team’s preferences.
After harvesting that data, you’ll need to present it to relevant stakeholders. This can be the rest of your marketing, your client, or your boss. The important thing is to make sure it’s easy to understand and digest. That means using visuals like graphs, charts, and tables whenever possible.
The final and most critical step is to extract insights from all that data. This means understanding what the data is telling you and using that information to improve your content marketing strategy.
For instance, let’s say you’re tracking how well your blog posts are performing. You might notice that a particular post is getting a lot of traffic but has a high bounce rate (aka, people are leaving your website without finishing the post).
This could be a sign that the post isn’t relevant to your audience or that it’s not providing enough value. In this case, you could use that insight to brainstorm fresh ideas or topics that would be more engaging for your audience.
Finally, content marketing KPIs play a major role in all three of these steps, and they need to be directly related to the goals of your content marketing campaign.
Creating content just to have something to post is a recipe for disaster. Not only is it a waste of time and resources, but it often leads to subpar content that does more harm than good.
Every piece of content your produce, whether that’s a short Facebook post or a 4,000-word blog article, should have a purpose. That purpose can be any number of things, such as:
All of these goals are tied to different elements of a content marketing strategy, such as targeted messaging, audience segmentation, or using specific marketing channels.
As a result, the particular KPI you’ll be tracking should be directly related to the goal you’re trying to achieve.
For example, a common goal for a content campaign is to drive traffic to a blog or website.
This is a “top of the funnel” goal, which means that the content must be appealing and engaging enough to attract people to the site or blog in the first place. Then, once they’re there, it’s your job to lead them into the marketing funnel and ultimately convert them into customers.
Some KPIs you might track for this goal include the following:
Together, these KPIs give you a pretty good idea of how well your content is performing and whether or not it’s actually achieving the goals you’ve set.
Now, the problem is that there’s an unlimited number of KPIs you could track for any given goal. And trying to track all of them is a surefire way to overwhelm yourself (and your team).
This is why it’s so important to be strategic about which KPIs you track. You need to focus on a handful that truly matters for both your content marketing campaign and your business goals.
This is one of the most basic — but also one of the most important — metrics to track. Website traffic gives you a good overview of how much interest there is in your content and how well it’s performing.
To get a complete picture of your website traffic, you need to track both unique visitors and pageviews. Unique visitors are the number of people who visit your site, while pageviews are the total number of pages they viewed.
Ideally, you want to see both of these numbers increase over time. However, if you’re seeing a decline in website traffic, that’s a sign that your content isn’t resonating with your audience, and you need to make some changes.
Don’t forget to look at which landing pages are getting the most traffic as well. This will show you which pieces of content are attracting visitors and getting them to stick around.
Another essential content marketing KPI is your website’s organic search performance. In simple terms, this is how well your site ranks in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
The higher your ranking, the more likely people are to find your content. And to increase that ranking, you need to create content that’s optimized for relevant keywords while also providing value to your audience. Tracking this KPI will tell you how well you’re accomplishing both of those things.
You don’t just want people to find your website. You want them to stay in it for as long as possible. The more time they spend on your site, the more likely they are to convert into a paying customer.
This is where time on page comes in. This KPI literally tracks how long visitors spend on each individual page of your site, down to the second.
Generally, you want to see a higher time on page for your blog posts and other long-form content. That means people are actually reading and engaging with what you have to say. If they’re bouncing off your site immediately, that’s a sign that your content isn’t relevant or interesting to them.
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your site after only viewing one page and without interacting with it. It’s generally a negative indicator of content performance. A low bounce rate is generally considered positive. On the other hand, a high bounce rate means something is wrong with your content marketing approach. Bounce rate is changing in GA4 – so it’s important to know what you are viewing.
Maybe your content isn’t relevant to what people are actually searching for. Maybe it’s not interesting or engaging enough. Either way, you need to take a closer look at your content and see what you can do to improve it.
This KPI is related to your content’s bounce rate. Pages per session refers to the average number of pages people visit during a single session on your website.
Not familiar with this metric? Let’s break the parts down. A session is defined as a visit to your website. So, if someone comes to your site, clicks around for a while, and then leaves — that’s one session. If they come back later and do the same thing, that’s two sessions.
Now, a page is defined as any piece of content on your website. So, if someone visits your homepage, that’s one page. But, if they visit your blog and read three different articles, that’s four pages.
Bringing those together, “pages per session” is simply the average number of pages people visit during a session on your website.
So how is it related to bounce rate? A low pages per session number generally corresponds to a high bounce rate. So if people are only visiting one page during their session, that’s usually because they’re not finding what they’re looking for, and they’re leaving.
Conversely, a high pages per session number usually corresponds to a low bounce rate. That’s because people are sticking around and looking at multiple pieces of content or checking out various web pages on your site.
Page views are one of the most common KPIs for content marketing campaigns. It quite literally tells you how many times your content has been viewed.
By itself, this number doesn’t give you a ton of information. For example, a high number of page views doesn’t automatically mean your content is successful. But combined with other data points, such as unique page views and time on page, and it starts revealing crucial insights.
For instance, if you see a high number of page views but a low number of unique page views, that’s an indication that people aren’t actually reading your content. Instead, they may just be skimming it.
Good content gets people to read, but amazing content inspires them to share it with others. This makes social shares another KPI you should be tracking.
How many people shared that blog post on Facebook? Did your previous post get tweeted a lot? How much traffic are you getting from social media channels? Keep an eye on this sort of activity to get an idea of which content pieces are resonating most with your audience.
A high level of engagement is a sure-fire sign that your content is valuable and interesting. One of the best ways to gauge engagement is through comments.
When people leave comments on your content, it shows that they’re really thinking about what you’re saying. They may have questions, or they might want to add their own insights. Either way, it’s a concrete indicator of a successful content marketing campaign.
And if you find that people are asking further questions in the comments section – take those questions and include them in your content!
Finally, always monitor your goal completions and conversions. Remember, a conversion is any desired action that you want people to take on your website — such as buying a product, filling in a form, subscribing to your newsletter, or downloading a white paper.
If your content marketing campaign is driving conversions, that’s a very good sign. It means you’re successfully guiding them down the funnel and, hopefully, leading them towards becoming a paying customer.
Tracking the right content marketing KPIs accurately and regularly is essential to understanding how well your strategy is performing.
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