Even though over 88% of B2B brands are using content marketing, 52% have reported that measuring ROI is one of their top challenges and many other brands are not measuring the effectiveness of their content marketing at all.
Why content metrics matter
By not measuring your content’s ROI, your brand could end up drawing the short straw in more ways than one.
By closely monitoring your content’s performance, your marketing team will have a better view of what your target audience is responding to and what they should remove from their content plans altogether, ensuring your team is spending their time more wisely.
While content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, it generates over three times as many leads, which proves how important it is for your brand to identify the content that’s producing the best results.
Measuring your content’s ROI will also give you a better idea of the time required to produce content, the cost of producing it, and how that relates to leads and sales, ensuring your business is able to continuously optimize its efforts and budgets.
The 8 most effective metrics to measure the success of your content marketing
55% of B2B marketers say that they’re unclear about what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like. Fortunately, measuring your content’s ROI doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when you know which metrics to use to gather the most important information about your content efforts.
Consumption metrics will tell you how many people are consuming your content and the channels they are using to access it. It also looks at the frequency and depth of their content consumption.
These are just some of the ways that you can measure content consumption:
- Using a tool such as Google Analytics, look at stats around pageviews, site content, users, avg. session duration, location, and source/medium to understand where your traffic is coming from, how much time users are spending on your website and the pages they’re spending time on.
- If you’re offering a free eBook or downloadable resource, use a marketing automation platform to track interest in your content. Just make sure that your downloadable resource can’t be indexed by search engines or people will be able to download it for free.
- If email marketing is a part of your content strategy, using a quality service provider such as MailChimp or Sendgrid will ensure that you can accurately track your content stats and email success rates.
By keeping a close eye on the content that is being shared the most, you’ll gain a better understanding of what your audience finds most relevant. It’s also important to track how and where your content is being shared and how often.
Use the stats of your top performing content to set benchmarks for any new content that you will be posting across your online platforms.
There are a number of ways that you can track social media shares:
- Most social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter do give you access to some basic analytics that you can use to track your content’s performance.
- Tools such as SharedCount can help quantify retweets, likes, and social media shares.
- Upfluence also offers a highly effective social media monitoring tool that will provide you with in-depth information on your content.
Lead metrics will provide you with insights into how your content is contributing to lead generation and nurturing.
You can track this metric in the following ways:
- Look at the number of leads being generated from free trial sign-ups, event registrations, competition forms and coupon redemption forms as a result of your content.
- As customers advance through your sales funnel, some will reach the lead metrics phase, which is the middle of the funnel. Marketing automation platforms will be able to help you distinguish which leads were a result of your content.
Your sales metrics will look at how your content is contributing to your revenue streams and how it’s influencing sales funnel results. Many businesses will argue that you cannot attribute revenue to specific content but it’s definitely possible when setup correctly.
You can track how your content is affecting sales in the following ways:
- Using CRM tools such as Salesforce or Full Circle CRM, you can setup a campaign for each piece of content that you create. You can also group multiple pieces of content into one campaign. When a potential customer takes a specific action, your CRM system will associate that lead with a specific piece of content.
- You can now look at the dollar amount of revenue that was generated when a specific lead consumed one or more pieces of content prior to making a purchase.
Just how well are you holding the attention of your audience after making initial contact with them?
Users who visited a site five times in a month were more likely to develop a pattern of regularly returning to a site.
Here are a few ways that you can measure retention:
- Use your analytics platform to look at the percentage of returning visitors and how often they return to consume your content. Bounce rates are another good indicator of retention.
- In terms of social media, by tracking the number of followers that you have, you’ll be able to gauge whether your content is keeping them around and if you’re managing to attract new followers too.
- The growth of your email list is another good indicator that you’re doing something right.
Engagement looks at how users are interacting with your content. Having high traffic volumes is one thing but if your users aren’t engaging with your content, they’re less likely to return and convert.
Here are a few of the ways that you can measure engagement:
- Once again, use a platform such as Google Analytics to look at session durations. You will find this metric by navigating to behavior and clicking on engagement. Page depth is another metric that you can use to see how deep a user is delving into your content and site.
- Social media is another area that can be used to measure engagement. How many users are commenting on, liking or sharing your posts and how often are they doing so?
While production metrics don’t look at the performance of your content, they do look at the performance of your team, which is just as important. How long does it take for your editorial team to produce content and how often is content being generated?
Here are a few suggestions for tracking and improving the production of content:
- Keep a spreadsheet that not only tracks the date that a content idea was suggested but the date that the content is published too. This will give you a good idea of how long it’s taking your team to produce something new.
- It’s also important to track how long it takes for a piece of content to ramp up so that you can accurately plan your content schedule.
- If you have a few pieces of content that performed really well in the past but have recently slowed down, you can also look at ways to repurpose the content in order to ramp it up once more.
It’s important for businesses to know how much it’s costing them to produce content and how this cost relates back to their revenue.
Here are some of the ways that you can measure the cost of your content versus its effectiveness:
- If you make use of freelance writers and marketers you should be able to calculate the cost of your content based on their invoices but this is a little harder to track if you have an in-house team.
- Remember to keep your promotion, design, stock photo and software costs in mind as this also counts towards the cost of your content.
If you would like to dive a little deeper into measuring the effectiveness of your content efforts, here is a guide to understanding and measuring content ROI.