Measuring the Impact and Success of Your Content - A Guide
It is all well and good spending time and resources on creating superb content for your website, but if you have no idea if anyone has actually seen it – well, what is the point?
For your content marketing strategy to be successful, you need to know if people are actually seeing it and what actions they take afterwards. You need to have clear goals and outcomes set – what do you want to happen? It may be that you want people to click through and buy something after reading your content, or it may be that you want people to share the content with their friend on social media.
According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute in 2020, 80% of respondents use metrics to measure success, but when asked if they use KPIs to measure performance, that number drops to 65% and even lower when asked if they measure content marketing ROI, it drops to 43%.
Let’s take a look at how you can track the impact of your content.
The most important metric is traffic because it allows all that follows: interaction and conversion. Without traffic, there is no ROI (return on investment). However, as a measurement on its own, it is not going to indicate how well it has performed.
Instead, what you want to look at is the increase in traffic over a period of time. If your content marketing strategy is being executed properly, you should see an increase in traffic to your site over time.
Are users finding your content on their own? Or are they finding your content from other platforms, such as social media? Perhaps the majority of users arrive at your blog via a monthly email newsletter – whatever the case may be, find out how people arrive at your content.
Google Analytics is an effective tool for this. It shows you who visited what and when. Keep a record of this over a sustained period of time and look at when you had higher numbers of visitors. This may indicate that the content that you posted at those times was more valuable, and so it gives you an idea of your next steps.
Users: The total number of unique visits to a specific page on your website is shown here.
Page views: This shows the total number of times a specific page on your website is viewed, whether it’s a product page or a blog post.
Unique page views: This combines pageviews created by the same user during the same session, allowing you to determine the number of sessions during which that page was viewed.
SERP stands for search engine results page. It essentially means where you show up if someone searches for a keyword that is used within your content. It is one of the clearest ways of seeing how well your content is performing.
You – or your content writer – will have (hopefully) done thorough research into keywords, and implemented a range of SEO (search engine optimization) strategies, including keyword analysis, meta descriptions and so on. If these have been done properly, and your content is deemed valuable and trustworthy by Google or other search engines, you are going to be placed high up in the results pages. The higher you are, the more click throughs you will have. Keep an eye on your search engine position and aim to move up.
Social media shares and backlinks
The ultimate aim of the content is to provide value to readers. Though there is no single measure that can demonstrate this, social shares and backlinks can provide insight into whether or not people are open to sharing your content with their own audiences.
Things to look for:
Retweets, Repins, and every other channel-specific social share metric that shows the scope of your content and that it resonates with your audience and that they find it valuable and interesting.
Comments: Since it takes more time for a reader to leave a comment on a blog post than it does to like it, this is also a good indicator of how interested the audience is. This may include both Mentions and Tweets that connect to you on Twitter.
Follower growth: Include any new followers in your regular reporting; they chose to be exposed to the content you are sharing.
BuzzSumo is a great tool for tracking social media metrics for your reporting.
Backlinks are important too. In fact, they are incredibly important. They help boost the DA (domain authority) ranking that Moz will give your site, and it also shows that other websites are seeing your content as valuable and trustworthy. Use Ahrefs – a favourite tool amongst marketers – to see what is being backlinked and where. It also gives you an insight into what and how your competitors are doing.
Content marketers need to consider how many leads their content generates. Demonstrating that content helps marketers achieve their lead acquisition and, nurturing goals is crucial for securing budgets for many marketers. Google Analytics is a great tool for doing this using the Goals tool. Preview requests, contact form submissions, and asset downloads are all common conversion incentives. After that, managers can use Analytics segments to see how many conversions came from the website or other resource hub.
Calculate your content marketing ROI
Last, but not least, to measure your content marketing effectiveness, calculate your return on investment. It is really simple to do using the following formula:
Return minus investment, divided by investment, expressed as a percentage
As a general rule of thumb, if you are spending less on producing the content than you are earning in sales, you are on the right track.
The key thing to remember is that you set yourself targets and goals, and measure your metrics against those. You will not need to use the above metrics for every single piece of content that your produce – after all, different posts and pages may have different purposes with different outcomes. The important thing is to build up a general overview so that you know what is and isn’t working.