For quite a while content marketing has become a key to cultivate the relationship between businesses and their audience, which increases brand awareness as well as steadfast customer loyalty.
Creating engaging content allows you to position yourself as a thought leader and a trusted authority within your niche. A high-quality content provides a valuable insight into your target audience, which in turn helps you sell your brand more persuasively. According to Havas Group’s 2017 Meaningful Brands study, 84 percent of people expect brands to create content.
However, being a savvy content marketer, you cannot just pump out content after content without actually taking into consideration whether it is giving you the proper return of investment. There is no point in creating content without first setting objectives. You have to ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. Whether it is increasing brand awareness, lead generation, customer retention or upselling, you eventually need to know if your content marketing is a success or a failure.
This is where content marketing metrics play a vital role in terms of measuring and evaluating your content marketing goals. Measuring these metrics is extremely important for the success of your marketing campaign as they provide you with the necessary information so you can make better decisions.
Here are the most critical content marketing metrics that you should measure:
1. Social Shares
Social sharing plays a key role in improving website traffic and increasing your social visibility. According to a Shareaholic report, social media drives 31% of all referral traffic to websites. It is clear that social media has become a crucial platform where online users communicate. Keeping track on your total social shares will help you determine what level of traction your content is getting on social media channels. It will give you an understanding of how well, or lack of it, is your business taking advantage of this traffic.
In order to get started, you need to measure your overall shares your content is receiving. Track how different social networks are performing and see who is sharing who is sharing your content. Figure out how these shares are converting into traffic, new users, and sales. Doing so will not only show you what type of content to focus on in the future, But it will also give you the fair idea which platforms you should allocate your time and resources. With that, you will find out the social media reach of your content and interactions such as likes, shares, and comments.
You can also use tools to effectively measure your social shares metric. For example, “BuzzSumo” helps you identify which topics and articles are being shared the most; while Brand24 will help you keep track of the mentions of a given keyword or phrase on the internet.
2. Overall Traffic
One thing that is crucial to make your site work is traffic, so bringing a lot of traffic to your website is a crucial success factor in planning. Your profound web presence is a way of showing your prospects who you are as a brand and how your business operates. Your website, therefore, will be the place where your prospects will first interact with your brand. To make that happen, you need to find ways and bring them in. Traffic is the result of providing the right content and experience to your visitors. However, with clearly defined marketing goals only can you measure the quality of your traffic?
Measuring the overall traffic will show you how many people visited or engaged with your site in total. You need to determine your main source of traffic, and also any possible improvements that could be brought in relation to content marketing. Loaded with this important information, you will understand the habits and behaviors of your users.
There are many tools at your disposal to measure your traffic and its sources. For example, Google Analytics is an excellent free tool that will give you great insight into the traffic your website is receiving.
3. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who visit and leave your website without interacting with it in some way. Measuring your website’s bounce rate provides information on the behavior of your visitors, and in turn how well the website is engaging them. A greater number of “bounces” indicate that people aren’t interested in what you have to offer and your website is not performing as required. This metric helps you raise red flags that are needed to be addressed.
Bounce rate is easy to calculate – the number of visitors who leave your website without interacting in any way, divided by the total number of visitors to the site. There are certain ways in which visitors may bounce, such as: clicking a link to another website, going to the previous page, entering a new URL on the address bar, or closing the web browser.
Google Analytics > Audience Overview will give you the entire website’s bounce rate or its individual pages. For the entire website, simply click on the bounce rate metric, which will also provide a graph for the defined time period. Thus, a good way to reduce the bounce rate is to improve your content and enhance its readability.
4. Natural Inbound Links
Natural inbound links are the key drivers of inbound marketing. They help increase traffic and improve SEO. A website with many inbound links will naturally rank better in search engines. So the more links are spread out there, the more visibility your brand will get. However, the links from the trusted sources or high authority websites are the real deal for your business. According to your content, links from relevant sites will hold more weight.
Measuring the state of your inbound links will help you keep an eye on the popularity of your content within your community. More inbound links on other web pages will direct customers and search engines to your webpage. This will make sure that your content is worth citing in the future. HubSpot’s “Link Grader” tool tells you when your websites receive a new inbound link and give it a grade based on how valuable it is.
5. Call-to-Action – Click Through Rate
A call-to-action (CTA) is an engaging button or link that you place on your website to drive prospective customers to convert to leads through landing page forms. Effective CTAs provide your visitors with good reasons that compel them to engage in the buying decisions. Measuring CTA click-through rate helps you locate weaknesses in your lead-close rates, which in turn shows you whether problems are with your content or sales process.
You can see the number of clicks and views of your CTA, also the percentage of views that lead to clicks. Measuring the success of your CTAs, along with A/B testing different versions of them, will help you improve response rates and increase lead generation.
6. Time on Page
The time spent by visitors on your page is also indicative of how long it captures their attention. When you get a clear idea regarding how long users spend on a certain page, you can effectively refurbish your content marketing efforts. For instance, if you have a piece of content that doesn’t seem to gain the traction you had expected, you can revisit it and see if anything can be done to improve it. On the other hand, if you have a page where visitors have stayed for a significant amount of time, then it’s likely that you have a killer content in motion.
Time on the page can also indicate the success of a campaign or other promotional activity that brings visitors to your site. The time that a visitor spends on the site is calculated as the difference between the recorded time of their last page (or file) request on the site and their first.
7. Unique Visitors
Unique visitors are those who have accessed your site. This metric is determined by the IP address of the computer or device that users are browsing from. It doesn’t matter how many visits a visitor makes, if he/she is on the same device, only one unique visitor is counted. So it tells you whether your audience base is increasing or decreasing. In other words, whether your website is gaining or losing valuable traffic.
If you keep getting the same people coming back to your site, where is your growth? After all every business needs new viewers for their products/services daily to grow the list.
Thus, by measuring this metric, you’ll be able to determine whether or not your marketing campaigns are working. It also helps you find out the perfect balance between customer retention and user growth.
8. The Rate of Returning Visitors (RRV)
Although unique visitors might indicate your business’s growing visibility, but repeating visitors are your asset. A decent rate of returning visitors (RRV) is the greatest indicator that your business is healthy and growing. It shows your content is being well-received by your audience.
The RRV metric reveals how effective your content marketing strategies are. Repeat visitors have a greater potential to refer more visitors to your site. In fact, this type of traffic is much easier to convert than all new prospects. “Marketers who leverage their returning customers can drive 15 times more acquisition” (source).
In order to improve your RRV, you need to leverage the retention side of your website. Your visitors will continue to return if you are friendly, attentive, engaging, and informative in a relevant way. The RRV metric is easily accessible, understood, and actionable for you.
9. SEO Success
The purpose of your content marketing efforts is also to achieve a successful SEO. The success in SEO is another metric that tells you how well your content performs in the search. The fact is more people click on top search results, which means more traffic, more potential leads, and more sales.
Your SEO success ensures your content ranks well for your target keywords, your domain authority remains high, and you are getting more inbound links. If all these things are true, your content will reach more people.
However, your content should be unique and provide value for your visitors’ time and efforts. In light of this, many times marketers confront with the issue of duplicate content that doesn’t go down well with search engines, thereby hampering your rankings. For that, you can add some extensions like SEO Suite Ultimate for Magento that solve duplicate content problems when there are multiple URLs on the website containing identical or very similar contents, this extension help to add canonical tag on the web pages so that the search engines can index exactly your preferred URL. And if your website is developed on WordPress then you can use the Yoast plugin to avoid these kinds of duplicate issues.
Total Leads Generated
For most marketers, lead generation is the ultimate goal of their content marketing campaigns. In today’s buyer landscape, your content is at the core of engaging your prospects. To do so, your content must educate, inspire, and beg to be shared. It should help leads overcome challenges and achieve their aspirations.
Generating quality leads means you are approaching with personalized, industry-specific messaging to your prospects. As a thriving marketer, your content should not only be engaging but also acts as a lead magnet for your business. Hence, measuring total leads generated will help you determine which leads come directly from your content. It will also help you put more efforts in creating content that is bound to generate more leads in the future.
Content marketing metrics can prove to be an effective weapon in your marketing arsenal. But the only thing is how and when to use them to test your marketing campaigns. If you want to make sure that your efforts won’t go to waste, you need to track your campaign’s performance with these metrics at the right time.