Measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns is a critical component to the overall success of your strategy. When you know what’s working well and what isn’t, you can optimize your time and resources by concentrating on your most effective marketing activities.
However, content marketing isn’t like direct mail or advertising. It’s not always so simple to track a sale directly back to a piece of content. What’s more, while traditional marketing campaigns run for a set time, content marketing is a long-term process. This means that it may keep generating income and leads for you for years to come.
For all these reasons, it’s more difficult to measure the effectiveness of content marketing than it is to measure traditional marketing campaigns. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
In fact, it’s vital to measure the your blog content effectiveness. Not only does this give you evidence to prove the worth of your content marketing activities for future investment, but it also helps you to figure out what types of content and which topics are resonating most with your audience.
The Importance of Setting Clear Goals
There’s no hard and fast rule about content measurement. It’s more a case of choosing the key performance indicators or metrics that are most valuable to your business.
When you are clear on what content success looks like for your business, it will be easier for you to identify these important metrics rather than getting distracted by “vanity” metrics that don’t really help you to reach your marketing goals.
For example, if one of your primary goals is to grow audience engagement, it might make sense to track your social media “likes” for each post. However, if you’re more focused on lead generation and sales, having content with lots of likes on social media is nice, but it’s not necessarily helping you to move the sales needle.
1. Blog Subscribers
In just the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations with customers who are just getting started with analyzing their blog content effectiveness. Right out of the gate, we recognize that they have no subscription mechanism built into their blog. Stop right there. Call up your favorite IT representative – you know, the one who will actually do things for you – and have them build in an email subscription form within your blog CSM.
Tracking your blog-subscriber growth is the single, most-important KPI for telling us that we are truly delivering value for our intended audience. If subscriber growth is slow or non-existent, then you have work to do. If you’re seeing a positive trend in growth month over month, you still have work to do, but at least you know the effort is paying off.
Here’s a quick example of a blog subscriber growth report from DivvyHQ Analytics.
It’s the most obvious metric you can track, but also one of the most important to understand blog content effectiveness. However, it’s important that you go beyond simply recording a figure for the traffic your website is receiving each month. You’ll want to dig further into exactly where that traffic is coming from and where it’s going.
To start with, in addition to the overall traffic for your site, you should be looking at traffic on an individual post level. These traffic numbers enable you to identify your most successful and least successful posts.
Once you’ve figured out which of your posts are getting the most traffic, you can look into where this traffic is coming from. A few things to evaluate:
- Is it organic search traffic? – If so, what keywords are you ranking for? Maybe you can look at creating more content around similar topics.
- Are you getting a lot of referrals from a particular website? It might be worth investigating if you can get some more links from that site to your other posts.
- Getting a lot of traffic from social media? It’s important to analyze exactly why that post is so attractive so you can use your insights to create more appealing social media posts in the future.
Your posts with the most traffic are not necessarily the ones that are converting the most leads. But they can be effective for boosting your SEO and increasing brand awareness and authority if these are important goals for you.
3. Time on Page / Bounce Rate
If you’re measuring site and page traffic as a performance indicator, you also must take note of what’s happening to this traffic when it lands on your blog content.
Getting a lot of traffic to a particular blog post is great, but if these users aren’t actually sticking around long enough to read it, it’s probably not doing you much good.
Your bounce rate and average time on site can be used as a measurement of user experience and engagement. In most cases you want to aim for a low bounce rate and a long time on site, as this means that site visitors are spending significant time reading your content and interacting with your site rather than hitting the back button as soon as they land.
However this isn’t necessarily the case for every page on your site. For example, if you’re directing traffic to a landing page with minimal content where you want to capture leads as quickly as possible, you would expect the bounce rate to be higher.
A low bounce rate combined with a high time spent on site is an indication that your blog content effectiveness is high and your posts are relevant to your audience. However, other factors such as page load time can also influence these metrics.
4. Social Media Shares
If you’re trying to grow your brand and audience, social media can be one of the most effective ways to achieve this.
More valuable than a like or comment, a share on social media shows that someone actually likes your blog content enough to share it with their own peers.
Social media can help to drive traffic to your site in the short-term. It can also help you to grow your following and audience in the long-term. Finding the type of content that gets the most engagement on social media is an important factor in growing your brand online.
This isn’t always an indication of your best and most relevant content. Sometimes mediocre content with an eye-catching image and tempting headline can attract more shares than your best content. It’s important to try and identify exactly why certain posts are getting more shares than others so you can try to replicate this strategy for future content.
5. Conversion Rate
Getting a lot of traffic to your site and high engagement from your content is only the first stage of the content marketing process for most businesses. You also have to make sure that your content is converting into actual business leads.
High traffic and engagement don’t always translate into a high conversion rate. You might have a piece of content that gets only a modest amount of traffic each month but maybe it converts better than your pages with the most traffic.
Optimizing your conversion rate is critical to your success because it means you can get the most out of the traffic you already have.
This metric is key information for many brands, but it’s not always easy to measure accurately. This is because content doesn’t always convert directly – a lead might read many pieces of content on your site before they decide to sign up for your list or become a paying customer. Conversion rates may also be affected by many other external factors on a daily basis.
6. Assisted Conversions
It’s easy to measure the click-through rate of a particular CTA on a page on your website. But in order to accurately measure true conversion rates from your content as a whole, you need to ensure that each piece of content on your site is part of a clear conversion path.
In the blog context, an individual blog post often acts as an entry point for a website visitor. If your blog publishing frequency is high, or you’ve been blogging for a long time, your site may have thousands of these front doors. Upon entrance, your website analytics starts tracking all of the visitor’s movements through your site within a website “session”. If at some point during their session the visitor converts or completes one of your goals, the blog post that started their journey should get an “assist”.
Those posts with the most assists win!
Is Your Content Analytics Up to the Job?
By now you should understand that analyzing the success of content is not just a simple case of recording figures. You may need to leverage custom dimensions, combine data from several different analytics sources, and make key decisions on how to measure and track individual metrics for all of your content and campaigns.
DivvyHQ’s content analytics module is designed specifically for content marketers to gain valuable insight into the performance of their content in a simple and accurate way. In fact, we have an entire dashboard dedicated to monitoring blog content effectiveness. DivvyHQ takes analytics data from more than 150 sources, and presents the information in one place.