The reasons for doing content marketing are many: generating thought leadership, providing relevant information to customers, encouraging engagement, moving prospects through the sales funnel, and more. With all of these diverse reasons, how do you prevent yourself from drowning in metrics for measuring whether each cause is effective?
Luckily, there are a few key metrics that apply across the board for determining whether your content marketing is successful. Here are some ideas for focusing your attention on a core set of metrics that matter most:
Engagement is a measure of how often, and to what level of depth, your customers interact with your brand. There are a few indications of how sticky your brand is, including:
- Page Views: The total number of pages viewed on your site. For example, a user could look at only your homepage before clicking away, or that person could check out fifteen pages all over your site.
- Average Visit Duration: This is the average time that a user spends on your website when they visit. Since this number is an average, it's determined by taking the total minutes that someone has been on your site, and dividing it by the number of times that they've visited your site in a certain time period.
- Unique Visitors: The total number of distinct visitors, or individuals, that come to your site in a given time period.
- Average video play time: This metric shows whether users are engaging with video content on your site, and on average how long they watch your content. Whether people watch for only a few seconds before hitting pause to end the video, or watch for the entire minute, this provides a sense of how interesting your content is and whether you have room to improve.
When you notice areas of low engagement, take the next step to ask why performance may be poor. Some common areas to investigate include choice of topic matter, production quality, and diversity of content.
Shares and tweets may seem hard to measure from an ROI perspective. After all, users are talking about you on social media, but how do you know if results in anything besides chatter? Still, tracking social media is crucial because it reflects your brand’s relevance, level of influence, and value among certain audiences. If you understand how, when, and why customers talk about your brand, you can begin to join and shape that conversation in an authentic way.
One efficient way to gauge social media marketing ROI is to track the number of website conversions that come from your social media accounts. When you share a link to content, you can see which topics of types of content tend to drive people to your site. You can also experiment with different headlines for tweets or Facebook shares. Do questions work better? Does sharing a photo in addition to a link generate more interest from users? What kinds of tweets receive the most re-tweets or favorites?
Leads, Conversions, and Revenue
In B2B marketing, a main objective is driving leads to a sales team, and content marketing can help accomplish this by building brand awareness, attracting prospects, and pushing leads through the funnel toward purchase.
Attribution is key here. Which entry point of content did the prospect first engage with? What other pieces of content was the person subsequently exposed to? By measuring the number of leads sourced from each type of content — whether it be from a blog, infographic, tweet, eBook, or webinar — you get additional insight into exactly where leads are coming from. At that point, you can control the type of content to produce at each step of the purchasing funnel to ensure that the user is receiving appropriate information.
In order to get a sense of how much revenue your content marketing efforts generate, you can find the total amount of sales deals closed that can be traced back — directly or indirectly — to any form of content. For example, a customer might have first heard about you after reading a blog post, or attended a webinar as part of the nurturing process. Once you have this information, you can compare the percentage of revenue generated by content marketing, to the percentage generated by other forms of marketing, such as events, sponsorships, PR, and search.
So after tracking these metrics, is content marketing worth the ROI? Understanding engagement, social shares, and sales conversions will help you answer the question for your own brand.