If content marketing is a part of your strategy for attracting new leads, you probably have a gut instinct that it’s working. But if you aren’t able to attribute the results you’re seeing to the specific causes that generated them, how do you know it’s really working? Assuming it is working, how do you know what elements of your strategy are driving your success? What’s working well and what could be improved?
Content Marketing Institute says that their research shows 33 percent of B2B marketers and 41 percent of B2C marketers can’t figure out how to measure the performance of their content marketing efforts. If you’ve been spinning your wheels trying to measure the effectiveness of content marketing, you’re not alone.
In this post, we’ll explore what to measure and how to measure.
Outline Your Goals
You can’t optimize your content marketing’s performance if you aren’t measuring KPIs. But with literally hundreds of possible KPIs to measure, tracking can become overwhelming — and if you were tracking all possible KPIs, you couldn’t take action on what you learned anyway.
Which KPIs you should focus on will depend on your goals, so the first step is to clearly outline what you want your content marketing to achieve. For example, do you want to attract a certain number of subscribers each month? Nurture a certain number of marketing-qualified leads? Convert a certain number of sales-qualified leads? Be sure that your leadership team, marketing team, and sales team are all on the same page with your goals.
Decide Which KPIs to Track
Now it’s time to choose the KPIs you’ll focus on. We recommend tracking no more than 10, because it gets difficult to manage more than that. Teams who try to track a higher number often spend more time tracking than they do iterating based on their KPIs, and their efforts stall out. Look back at your goals to determine which KPIs will allow you to measure your success with each goal.
No matter what your goals are, there are six KPIs that every team should be tracking:
- Bounce rate and time spent on page
- Website traffic to lead ratio
- Geography of traffic origin
- Page views and behavior flow
- Where your subscribers or leads are coming from
- How many of your leads are converting to customers, for each source
1. Bounce Rate and Time Spent on Page
To learn if your audience is interested in what you’re publishing, you’ll need to look at your bounce rate and the time spent on page. If you have a high bounce rate for any given piece of content, that usually means that people aren’t finding what they thought they were going to find when they hit your page. This could indicate that your title is too bait-clicky or your landing page copy is misleading. Time spent on page will tell you just how engaged people are with your content. If they spend several minutes reading, you know you’ve hit a home run.
How to Track: Google Analytics makes tracking bounce rate and time spent on page easy. You can find these metrics under Behavior > Site Content.
2. Website Traffic to Lead Ratio
You’ll want to know what percentage of your website traffic is converting to leads. While there are several reasons why you may have a low traffic-to-lead ratio (as we’ll discuss below), it’s an important metric to track. You’ll also want to find out where your traffic is coming from — organic search, social media, referrals from other sites, or direct.
How to Track: Google Analytics will tell you the sources of your traffic under Acquisition, and HubSpot or another all-in-one can tell you how much of that traffic is turning into leads.
3. Geography of Traffic Origin
Why do you care where your traffic is coming from if your business isn’t locally- or regionally-oriented? Where your traffic originates can tell you a lot about the quality of your traffic. If you see a lot of traffic coming from India, Romania, or other countries where spammers are plenteous, you know you need to work on attracting better-quality traffic. High bounce rates on good content can often be explained by poor-quality traffic.
How to Track: Again, Google Analytics is your ticket to tracking this KPI. You’ll find it under Audience > Geo.
3. Pageviews and Behavior Flow
The number of pageviews can tell you how valuable your content is, because it shows how many people are returning to look at your content again after reading it the first time. Behavior flow will reveal the quality of the leads that are viewing your content — if they continue exploring your site after reading a post, they’re likely somewhere on the buyer’s journey. If you see that they’re checking out case studies and pricing pages, you know they’re nearing the decision stage.
How to Track: Google Analytics will show you both of these metrics under Behavior > Site Content.
4. Where Your Subscribers or Leads are Coming From
While the buyer’s journey isn’t linear, it’s helpful to know what content triggered a subscription or opt-in. Also, if you’re paying for ads, you want to know what role the ads are playing. It’s best if you use an all-in-one marketing software that will allow you to see the entire buyer’s journey, from start to finish.
How to Track: HubSpot is excellent for tracking not only the piece of content that triggered a conversion but also the journey the lead took prior to that point.
5. How Many of Your Leads are Converting to Customers, for Each Source
Just because you’re getting a lot of leads from a particular source doesn’t mean you should continue devoting resources to it. If a particular source consistently generates leads, but few of those leads convert to customers, that source is attracting people who aren’t your target market. On the flip side, if a particular source is converting a large percentage of leads, even if the overall number of leads is lower, you’ll want to double-down on that source.
How to Track: HubSpot or another all-in-one will offer an easy way to see how many conversions are resulting from any given piece of content. Google Analytics also offers limited conversion tracking.
Make Tracking a Priority
By getting clear on your goals and being strategic in what you’re tracking, you’ll gain the insight you need in order to know exactly what’s working and what isn’t. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to improve your content marketing efforts further, and see better results in the process.
If you’re looking for an easy way to view your metrics, consider using a platform like Databox to bring in multiple data sources into a dashboard for organized reporting.
If you didn't get enough, check out 5 Metrics Every Website Owner Should Track