You can't manage what you don't measure. In the constantly changing world of content marketing, data is necessary for awareness and improvement. Keeping a close eye on your numbers lets you know what's working (so you can capitalize on it) and what isn't (so you can fix it).
Metrics also help you understand how each piece of content relates to your end goal of making a sale. Paying attention to the numbers through each stage of the buyer journey creates a thread you can follow from click to conversion.
For example, you can track the success of a blog from its first view (awareness) through the average time spent on the page (reader engagement) to the call-to-action at the end (lead generation). If it gets a high number of visits but readers only stay on the page for a few seconds, that's an indication you need to make changes.
If a particular blog results in tons of CTA clicks, though, you probably want to leverage that content by repurposing it into a long-form asset, such as an e-book or infographic.
Below are four critical measuring points to determining the success of your content marketing program as a whole:
1. User Demographics
This is a great place to start collecting data, so don’t forget about it once you’ve done persona research. Keep a consistent eye on demographics to make sure your content is reaching your target market. Google Analytics gives insight into the ages, genders and general interests of your audience, as well as their geography.
2. Consumption And Sharing
Here's the meat of your content metrics. While user demographics give you the answer to who you're reaching, consumption and sharing measurements allow you to analyze what content is doing well.
The most basic metric is pageviews, but you can also look at:
- Video views
- Unique visitors
- Average time spent on a page
- Bounce rate
If your content is being shared, it's resonating with your audience. They're engaged, and they believe in its value. Shared content can lead to new followers, which is growth you should also be measuring.
3. Lead Generation
Your content needs to be engaging, informative and useful enough that readers are willing to provide you with their information. Lead generation is a big goal of content creation, and leads are easy enough to measure, since they typically require some type of action from your audience.
For lead generation, keep track of gated content downloads as well as email and blog subscriptions.
Finally, did your content strategy actually convert leads into customers? Use your CRM to track each customer’s journey from their first visit to a closed sale to better understand which content resonates and to help you generate better-performing future assets.
In an e-book on metrics, the Content Marketing Institute emphasizes that your most important audience is your current customers. Be sure to track the content that they consume, as well as your retention and renewal rates, in addition to new sales.
Developing a killer content strategy is only the beginning. Follow the numbers to see if your marketing efforts are engaging your target audience, nurturing them through the funnel and ultimately closing sales.