Ah, content. “The Kingdom,” as famously quoted by Lee Odden. And while it may not be King, it’s a crucial component of successful marketing strategies and it seems everyone has caught on because 94% of small businesses and 93% of B2Bs use content marketing.
But, how do you know your content marketing is working the way you want or need it to? How well are you measuring its effectiveness?
In a marketing world where we have the ability to measure just about everything, what metrics are the most important? All of these are great questions and if you’re in B2B marketing, I am sure you’ve scratched your head over a couple of these, so let’s try to answer them.
Is My Content Marketing Working?
Creating content is easy. Creating content that is relevant to your buyers and audience is difficult. Understanding if it’s making an impact with your audience is even more difficult. If you fall into this realm, don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 9% of B2B Marketers consider their content marketing efforts to be “very effective.”
So the question then becomes, how do you know if it’s working? Here are a couple of questions to ask as a jumping-off point:
Do you have clear objectives and KPIs? Without these, the content you’ve worked to create probably isn’t doing so hot. What is your objective in creating this content? Whatever your larger company objectives are, ensure that your content also fits into and helps amplify that. Who are you creating this content for and what key performance indicators are you setting for this content? While shares and likes are good indicators of engagement, these are more vanity metrics than anything else. To make a real lasting impact on your audience and potential buyers, look at measuring:
- How many comments your social media posts or blogs are getting. Are you creating a conversation with your target audience? If so, this is a great measure of actual impact and true engagement.
- Downloads. An indication of content actually working is conversions. If your audience is converting by downloading an additional piece of content then your content is speaking to them and effectively addressing their pain points. Measuring downloads is an important way to understand which pieces of content (or landing pages) are working – or better yet, not working.
- Links back to your content. Not only does this help your Google ranking, but it’s a way to measure the relevancy and quality of your content.
Which Metrics Are Most Important?
In a marketing world where almost everything can be measured, it can become overwhelming to know where to start and what metrics are most impactful to your content marketing. For this portion refer back to your answers from the objective question. In other words, in order to begin finding the rightmost important – measurement metrics, you first have to know what you want your content to accomplish.
Another good place to find a wealth of information about your content is Google Analytics. Though there is a slight learning curve when first jumping in, Google provides the real meaty metrics that you may be missing. To get started check out this great blog from Positionly Once familiar, begin by measuring these key metrics (which ultimately can turn into KPI’s):
- Page Views and Unique Pageviews: This will help accurately measure your reach. Unique pageviews are important because unlike page views, they measure one visitor’s activity over a duration of time. Page views will count every move one visitor makes. For example, one visitor comes to your homepage, then clicks on your blog page and then clicks a specific blog. That will count as 3 individual, separate page views. While this is a good metric to look at (you’re keeping people on your website – hooray!) unique pageviews give you a more clear idea of how many page views you are actually getting from each visitor.
- Bounce Rate and Time on Page: This is helpful when measuring user engagement. Though, it should be noted the way Google Analytics measures the bounce rate can be a little misleading. A bounce rate, as defined by Google Analytics, is: ” . . . the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).” This is unfortunate for your bounce rate because a visitor can come to your blog, read an entire post (your content is doing its job – yay!), and leaves the page without further interaction. Google will mark this as a 100% bounce rate. Adding an engagement event on your page can help to combat this and help to get more clear data on how long visitors are staying on your page.
Remember, the most important metrics come down to what you are looking to accomplish. Once you know that, it becomes easy to find the metrics needed to support those objectives.
Accurately measuring content takes some work but in the long run, it pays to understand how well your content is performing. Once you can begin understanding what is working, and what isn’t, it becomes easier to produce the content your target audience actually wants to engage with.