From websites to social media platforms, content is still king. The information and stories you share with your audience ideally draws them in and keeps them coming back for more. So, how do you know what content is connecting with your audience and encouraging engagement?
You need to know which metrics to track. There’s a plethora of data available to you, including everything from likes and open rate to time on site and bounce rate. The top content marketing metrics you should be following give you powerful insights into your marketing efforts.
What Are Content Marketing Metrics, and Why do They Matter?
Content marketing metrics refer to the data you use to track the performance of your content. If you want more traffic going to your website, more engagement with your followers and more brand awareness, you have to give your audience the content they want.
How do you know what they want? You have to pay attention to what they do with the content you offer. These metrics zero in on the behavior of people viewing and responding to your content.
Traffic is the most important metric to track, says Neil Patel, marketing expert and New York Times bestselling author. You can’t engage with people who don’t visit your site. You won’t generate leads or convert the people who never see your content.
When monitoring traffic, you may look at the following:
- Page views
- Unique page views
The data you gather when you monitor traffic is useful for evaluating your existing content and planning future content to create for increasing brand awareness. It helps to look at where your visitors live and how they found your site.
For example, if you notice that most of your traffic is coming from a specific region or at a particular time of day, you may want to customize your content for that audience or adjust your posting time. If you find that your visitors frequently use mobile devices to access your site, be sure to optimize your content for mobile.
Despite the rise and popularity of social media, SEO still matters. In fact, you may be surprised to discover how many people find your site in a search engine. Monitoring your SERP ranking — where your page shows up on search engines for specific keywords — lets you see your content through the lens of the search engine.
Your site’s SERP ranking is an indication of how relevant the search engines found your content. The algorithms each search engine uses to evaluate your content vary. But a top SERP ranking means they believe your site offers the best answer to a search query.
A higher SERP ranking leads to greater traffic, and eventually more leads, engagement and conversions. You can improve your site’s SERP ranking by boosting your SEO. To monitor your SEO performance and SERP ranking, turn to tools like Google Analytics to see which terms your site ranks for and how it changes over time.
Links to Your Content
One of the top factors that affects your website’s SERP ranking is the number of links to your content. The search engines view these links almost like an endorsement. It means someone else decided that your content is important or relevant enough to share with their own audience.
Paid links and links you create through an automated service don’t count as part of this metric. You also want to avoid behaviors the search engines may view as inauthentic. This includes setting up a link exchange with one or two other websites or linking too much to keywords in the text.
Time Spent on Site
Few things are more frustrating for website visitors than clicking a link to a page that doesn’t answer their question. If visitors find your content useful and entertaining, they spend more time on the page. Search engines pay attention to the amount of time visitors spend on a website or webpage. So should you.
The more time visitors spend on a page, the more likely it is answering their question. This makes it valuable to the search engines that want to send people in the right direction. It also means your visitors are typically consuming more content, which can position you as a leader and boost your brand awareness.
Pages Per Visit
Time spent on site can give you an incomplete picture of what’s happening with your content. It’s possible for someone to open your website and leave it open without interacting with the information there. This is why you should take a closer look at the number of pages they visit.
When visitors find content that answers their questions, they want to know more. Each time they click on an internal link you have placed on a page, they’re showing you that you’re giving them information they want. A high number of page views per visit can indicate your content is relevant and high quality.
Boosting the traffic to your site is great, but you want visitors to keep coming back. When a visitor returns to your site, it usually means they found something useful or connected with your content and want more.
When you’re monitoring your visitors, pay attention to how they access your site. You may find that a specific website is referring them to you. Visitors who directly type your URL are almost always returning visitors, and they are showing serious interest in your content, products or services.
When visitors share your content with others, you’re receiving a big compliment. It means they found the information so useful that they want others to know about the big find. Not only does this validate the quality of your content, but it gives you a bigger audience and more opportunities to monitor the effectiveness of your content.
Your content — and marketing campaign — should have a purpose. Are you looking for leads? Do you want to generate more sales? Are you trying to boost engagement? Once you establish that purpose, you can start tracking your conversion rate. This number tells you how many visitors are taking action after viewing your content.
Depending on your purpose and goal, you may track any of the following actions:
- Email sign-ups
- Form completion
- Phone calls
- Visits to a specific page on the website
The quality of your content plays a significant role in the success of your content marketing strategy. When you give your audience the information they want, they’ll come back for more and share what they find with others. Monitoring how visitors respond to your content is an important part of your content marketing program.