Find out what content marketing metrics should you use that both support your content goals and can produce actionable data.
How do you know if the content you produce is effective? And what does “effective” mean in this context? Measuring content marketing metrics is increasingly important, as the online marketplace becomes ever more crowded. What content marketing metrics should you be using?
Choosing Goals and Aligning Metrics
Choosing the right content marketing metrics is mostly a matter of choosing metrics that are relevant to your goals for the content you’re creating. Don’t choose metrics just for the sake of generating data—that data has to mean something in order for it to be useful. Ideally you’ll choose a manageable number of metrics that both support your goals and can produce actionable data.
Some common goals for content marketing include:
- Improving audience engagement
- Generating leads
- Increasing brand awareness
- Increasing sales
Content Marketing Metric #1 Measuring Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is a mixed goal as it is both weak (not about sales) and strong (the power of the brand). If you target audience are unfamiliar with your brand, it’s a key measurement.
However, brand awareness is a common content marketing goal and is simple to measure via page views and social media stats.
Monitor how many likes and shares your social media content receives, and you’ll probably find that certain types of content resonate with your audience more strongly than others. With brand awareness, what you’re really looking for is shareable content, because that’s what will get you into the news feeds of new potential customers.
How to measure brand awareness
Monitor how many likes and shares your social media content receives using tools such as:
- The Insights in the social media platforms
- Google Alerts to see if you’re mentioned on other websites
- More sophisticated content tools – some with free options that we wrote about before
Content Marketing Metric #2 Measuring Audience Engagement
Audience engagement can be measured in a similar fashion, by looking at page views and social media interactions, but there’s more to engagement than numbers. Audience engagement is also about the types and quality of interactions that you have with people. It’s a good way to find out what people think and feel about your brand, and to learn more about your audience, and what they want from your business.
Click-through rates and social media likes and shares are important here, but comments are particularly useful. It’s in the comment section that you get to engage with your audience. And, because leaving comments takes a bit more interest and effort than a simple like or share, it’s a more useful metric for measuring engagement.
How to measure audience engagement
Similar to measuring the brand awareness, monitoring audience engagement can be achieved via
- The Insights in the social media platforms
- Tools that listen for your brand and assess if the discussion is positive, negative or neutral – see Social Mention as an example
Content Marketing Metric #3 Measuring Lead Generation
Lead generation is an important goal for most businesses, simply because the more leads you generate, the more sales you can achieve.
Measuring lead generation is mostly about monitoring click-through rates on the content you create. For best results, each possible action on a page of content should be tied to a clear call to action, so that you can monitor the success of each. For instance, if one page of content has a link to another web page, an email sign-up box, and a download link for a white paper, each of those links should have an appropriate call to action.
Click-through rate isn’t the only important metric here. It’s also important to look at conversion rate, meaning how many of those clicks actually convert into customers. This is vital, because click-through on its own can’t tell you enough about lead generation to help you make the appropriate adjustments to your content. For instance, you might find that one of your blog posts generates lots of clicks, but few actual sales. Looking only at click-through would give you a false representation of the success of the piece, but by measuring conversion rate too, you get more accurate data.
How to measure lead generation
One of the most effective ways to measure lead generation is to direct visitors to a form to be completed on your website. You can measure whether they came from – the source – via Google Analytics and setting up Google Goals. Emarketeers (I deliver some of their training) have a great Google analytics course (I’ve attended it) that is a great way to get started.
Content Marketing Metric #4 Measuring Sales
Brand awareness, audience engagement, and lead generation are all useful goals in themselves, but ultimately are means to achieve the end goal: increasing sales. Measuring the first three helps you determine how well your content is helping you achieve those preliminary goals, but there are different metrics to look if you want hard sales data.
Conversion rate is important here, but it’s not the only metric to focus on. Another important one is the length of your sales cycle—meaning, how long does it take for a click to become a customer? If your content is doing its job, you’ll find that the sales cycle is shorter for customers who have been reading and interacting with your content.
Contract or purchase size is also a useful metric to look at. Here, you’re looking at the total amount that someone purchases in a single sale, or the total amount of a long-term contract. Again, with well-crafted content, you should note larger contracts or purchases from customers who have been regularly consuming your content.
Measuring sales is the simplest metric to see, if you’re using a CRM system. Hubspot, Zoho and Infusionsoft all offer a range of cloud-based systems that enable you to track from enquiry to sale and measure factors like the time between the enquiry and sale.
Measuring Metrics is a Long-Term Process
Above all, when you’re using these metrics to fine-tune marketing content, it’s important to consider it a long-term process. Data should be analysed on a regular basis so that you can modify content to account for your business’s changing needs, the needs of your customers, and your overall goals.