When it comes to content, there’s one step that’s often overlooked, but it’s the most pertinent to any marketing organization: the metrics. The metrics, or analytics, of the content will tell you what pieces are performing well, which are not, and everything in between. Marketers sometimes refer to this as content marketing ROI—how much revenue is brought in versus how much is spent to create content.
As a marketer, you can measure as many or as few metrics as you’d like. What’s important to remember is that you don’t have to measure every single metric out there. You can pick and choose based on your goals to track the success of your content. Maybe it’s by sales or leads, or maybe it’s by organic traffic. Either way, here are some common content metrics you should consider using to measure the success of your content.
- Organic traffic
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rate
- Average time on page
- Exit pages
- Click through rate
Organic traffic is defined as earned traffic in the search results page without paying for placement. In other words, it consists of anyone who searches for something on the internet and clicks through to your site. By increasing organic traffic, you’ll increase the number of people visiting your website, which gives you better odds of converting them to a customer. This metric is largely affected by keyword ranking, so content creators can see what pages are performing well and which ones need improvement.
Tracking organic traffic can also help you learn more about your audience, such as where your readers are located. You can see where your content is getting the most traffic and use that to inform future business decisions.
Bounce rate is how many people bounced after viewing one page of your content. This is typically presented in a percentage—the lower the percentage, the better. Lower percentages mean higher engagement; conversely, a high bounce rate translates into lower engagement.
When you notice a higher bounce rate, it means that your content is probably not resonating with the audience. This can be because of the content itself, the way it is presented, or the keywords it’s optimized for. By measuring the bounce rate by landing page, you can see what you’re doing well and see which pages need to better match their keywords (in turn, providing your readers with more relevant content).
In the simplest of terms, the conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who complete a desired goal. This could be a form fill or a survey—whatever way you prefer to gain information from your visitors.
The conversion rate can mean a number of things, depending on how you choose to measure it. A few common ways are landing page, location, device, and browser. Another way to look at the conversion rate can be through email opt-ins, purchases, and form completions. In this case, the conversion is how many people are engaging with your products or company.
- Landing page: By measuring the conversion rate based on the landing page, you can determine the win-loss on the page itself based on whether the marketing message was successful or not.
- Location: Measuring the conversion rate based on location can give you a sense if the messaging on that page or within the content appeals to certain areas.
- Device: With more internet use taking place on our mobile devices, it’s important to make sure that your device is mobile friendly, or it can cost you your conversion rate.
- Browser: Not everything works properly across all browsers; make sure certain browsers aren’t “user-hostile”, or it can have a negative effect on the conversion rate.
Average time spent on page
The average time spent on page is an indicator of how long users are engaging with your content. This metric is a way to track your page’s content and if it’s resonating with visitors. If the keywords match what the visitor is looking for, if the content successfully answers a question for the reader, or if the content is engaging, then you have a pretty good chance of a high time spent on page. If your time spent on page is low, you might want to see if you can better match your content to your keywords or tweak the content to increase interest from your audience.
Some marketing tools such as PathFactory now make it possible to encourage an action from readers after spending a certain time on the page. This means as a marketer, you’re able to set a threshold of time—let’s say 10 seconds—before a form pops up asking the reader to fill it out. This metric has dual purposes: engaging your reader and gathering information about them at the same time.
Exit pages are the last pages that visitors see before exiting your site. They are typically known as the “problem children” pages, as these are the pages where people lose interest in the website. However, exit pages aren’t always different pages than the page a visitor first came to; they can be the exact same page.
This metric is interesting to track because you can gather information about the path that someone took through your site based on calls-to-action or internal links included in the content. How a visitor got to your site, whether it was through search, social media, or another method, can also influence the exit page.
Click through rate (CTR)
Click through rate is the rate at which people are clicking through to your content after seeing it in a search engine results page (SERP). This metric is a good indicator of how content is appealing to people. Oftentimes, it’s also is correlated with SEO—the better your keywords match search inquiries, the more likely the link is going to be clicked.
You can see which keywords are the top performing and which pages are ranking for certain keywords. It’s an indicator of which landing pages are getting the most attention from visitors. CTR is also used to determine conversion optimization; if a page has a high click-through rate, marketers may want to consider using it as an opportunity to try to convert their readers.
If you work for a heavy sales-driven organization, this metric is key. Tracking by leads or sales gives you insight into how many opportunities your content has created and the amount influence it content has on your readers’ decision-making process. If you work closely with your sales team, this metric will tell you which content is resonating most with prospects.
You can also tell which content is being heavily used in the sales cycle and which is not. When presented to executives, this can be a really good measure of how much the content is contributing to the company as a whole. Plus, it makes your content creators feel good knowing that their content is truly making a difference in the activities of the company.
As you can see, there are a number of metrics that you can use to track the success of your content. However, not every single one of these metrics is going to apply to every single piece of content. Each piece of content is going to yield its own set of metrics.
In order for you know know what the measure, you have to first figure out your goal and purpose for collecting the metrics. Is it to show how the content has contributed to the company? To show how many people have read it? Is it to show the quality of the content? The answers to these questions will determine how best to measure your content and the best metrics to pull.
If you haven’t done so already, take some time to pull some metrics on your content. You would be surprised at the impact content analytics has on your marketing team and other company stakeholders. And you might just learn something about how well your own content resonates, too!