The first step in measuring your content marketing performance is to ensure that you're looking at the right metrics.
In 2018, 47% of B2C, and 54% of B2B content marketers reported that the metrics they're tracking are often not well-aligned with their overall goals. That makes it impossible to accurately determine your success or failure - you simply won’t be able to measure your content performance if you’re looking at the wrong data points.
Every content marketing strategy is different - and therefore, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to measuring campaigns. You need to define your business goals, then measure the things which impact each of those specific elements.
To help better align your approach, here are five metrics to measure which correspond with various content outcomes.
1. Quality leads generated
Excellent content generates leads, and it's possible to track incoming leads as a direct result of your content.
You can get leads through contact forms, downloads, or social media interactions. The key here is to make sure that you're getting quality leads.
Quality leads are those that will eventually convert into customers, or prospects that actually need your product or service. If your content isn’t generating enough quality leads, there may be several factors contributing to this.
For example, consider how often you blog. Do you publish articles consistently? According to HubSpot, companies which publish more than sixteen blog posts per month generate around 4.5x more leads than companies that publish between 0 - 4 monthly posts. The more you blog, the more leads you can generate.
There are many different types of content, and some formats are better suited to generate the right leads than others. Audit your existing content to check if you're creating a variety of materials, such as case studies, resources, or buying guides. And most importantly, you need to develop an understanding of whether or not your content is providing value to your readers.
2. Sales data
Sales are one of the best measurements you can use to assess your content marketing campaign - if you can attribute sales revenue to your content marketing efforts, you’ve struck gold.
It’s also helpful to track down the content which influences sales so that you can optimize it or produce more of the same. Talk with your sales team to understand how marketing leads from your content perform within your sales funnel.
Are those readers converting? is there a process in place to nurture them? Or, more likely, does the sales team need appropriate content that helps lead these prospects to become clients?
What can be frustrating to marketers is when they bring in many leads that are ignored by sales, which is a company-wide waste of time. Be sure the two teams are aligned for optimal success.
3. Email subscribers
Research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that 40% of marketers believe that email newsletters are one of the top three most important tactics to their content marketing success - alongside both blogs and social media content.
When someone signs up to receive your company’s emails, it shows that they're interested in your content, and want more of it. Therefore, email subscribers are a good indicator of how your content marketing campaign is performing.
If you aren’t seeing subscriber growth, consider offering an incentive, such as an eBook, whitepaper, or checklist, in exchange for visitors’ email addresses. These lead magnets can be some of the best ways to get more email subscribers.
4. Open rates and click-through rates (CTR)
Email marketing is an integral part of content strategy, so it’s critical to ensure your audience is opening your emails, and engaging with the content.
Email open rates show whether or not your subject lines are enticing enough for your audience. If your open rates are dropping, A/B test your email subject lines to increase the chances that someone will open your email. For example, try some subject lines with an emoji, and others without.
Once you're able to increase your open rates, it’s crucial to look at your click-through rates as well, as they show how many subscribers are engaging with your email content.
A good CTR depends on your industry - according to MailChimp, the average click-through rate is around 2.5%. If your CTR is lower than industry standards, try including more than one link back to your site, or adding brightly colored buttons in your emails to encourage people to engage.
5. Average time on website page
Engagement metrics, such as the average time on page, are vital to understanding how long your audience is paying attention to your content, and whether they find it interesting.
Using Google Analytics, you can check the average time on page to see how long people spend viewing your content. If users are spending only seconds on material that should take longer to read, try making your content more engaging with images or videos. You can also try improving the readability of your content by breaking large paragraphs into smaller chunks. This will make it easier for readers to digest information.
You have to use the right metrics to measure your content marketing accurately, and in alignment with your broader business goals. Consider what it is you're seeking to accomplish, then investigate which metrics will help you measure those elements best.
If your measurements aren’t up to par, it’s a sign your content marketing is failing – but all is not lost. There are many adjustments you can make to revive your content marketing campaign.