How do we measure the effectiveness of content marketing?
We invest a lot of time and money in content marketing to achieve our company goals. But somewhere along the line, we get too busy producing marketing material and forget to measure the effectiveness of content marketing.
The importance of measuring effectiveness is as such that before you even begin developing a content marketing plan, you should have a system in place to keep the progress in check.
Surprisingly, not many companies are in a position to tell how effective their content marketing strategy is. They assume it would eventually generate results. Inspired by the content marketing examples on the internet, they exhaust their funds creating content, but have nothing to show for it.
Every successful marketer prioritizes monitoring progress over everything else. Why? Because that’s the only way to identify areas that need the most attention. It’s the only way to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
And since you’re here reading this post, you’re more likely to be among those successful marketers, ready to set things right. So let’s move forward and explore ways you can analyze your content marketing strategy and monitor progress.
1) Setting SMART Goals to measure the effectiveness of content marketing
Your company goals should be the backbone of your content marketing strategy. That way, you can focus on the KPIs that matter. For instance, if your goal is to generate leads, metrics such as site traffic are less relevant. After all, what good are these visitors if they don’t qualify as quality leads?
So what is a S.M.A.R.T Goal?
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic, and resourced, results-based).
Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)
Discuss everything in detail with your employees and outline the SMART goals that you want to achieve through your content marketing strategy.
2) Outlining Content Marketing Performance Metrics
The next step is to identify the performance metrics relevant to your goals. Marketing performance metrics consist of numerical data you can analyze to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Here is a list of performance metrics that can help you measure the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy. As mentioned earlier, your job is to identify which of these are most relevant based on your goals.
However, they are all excellent performance indicators that must be analyzed frequently.
I personally like to use Google Analytics to measure most of my KPI’s as well as using Googles’ Search Console.
a) Website traffic to measure the effectiveness of content marketing
Optimizing content for the search engines helps your site/page acquire better rankings. Getting more traffic is a good sign. It confirms that your site’s content is engaging and attracting new visitors.
Especially if it’s a new brand, monitoring website traffic can help you assess whether your content strategy is enabling your company to increase brand awareness.
You can read my other post here on how to find the right content for your audience. One thing I do want to add here is that website traffic as a metric should not be taken by itself only… for instance, if you had 1,000 visitors to your webpage, that may appear as a great result, however, if all of those visitors only spent a few seconds on that page, then there may be trouble!
What was causing them to leave your site… why did they only spend a few seconds on that page?
b) Bounce rate
Not all of the pages on your site are likely to rank high. The pages that do rank must be enticing for the visitors and contain within itself a content marketing funnel to drive visitors from one page to another and finally convert them into a qualified lead.
A high bounce rate is generally an indication of a bad content marketing strategy. If that’s the case, then revamp those pages and make them more engaging using a content marketing funnel. A bounce rate is a measure of whether someone only visits one page of your site then ‘bounces ‘ off to another site.
There are times when a bounce rate may be ok…for instance, if you are driving people to a page that has a video that you want them to watch, or a sales page with a payment gateway that pops up to take payment…these could all have signs of a high bounce rate, yet, it still is serving its purpose.
There are likely to be dead pages on your site that can hurt your rankings. You can remove those pages that don’t get any views. Also, this metric helps you understand your visitors’ behavior. You can see how many pages a unique visitor viewed on your site to assess how effective your internal linking and funnel strategy is.
d) Time on page
The best way to analyze the quality of your content is by reviewing how much time visitors spend on those pages. For example, long-form posts are great to gain organic rankings, but if your goal is to engage your visitors and build a relationship, then they must find your content useful and spend more time consuming it.
It is a helpful metric to assess the quality of individual pages.
Often adding a video to these pages can rapidly increase your time on-site metrics.
e) Site/page ranking
Not only is it one of the main goals for every business, but it also helps in analyzing the effectiveness of your content strategy. If your site or page ranking is improving, that’s a clear sign your content marketing plan is working. Most marketers keep a close check on this metric as most of their marketing efforts are towards improving site/page rankings.
If your content marketing strategy is effective in improving the customer journey and making it easier for the customers to decide whether they should navigate through your content marketing funnel, then the number of qualified leads you generate will increase.
This metric is especially quite useful if your goal is to acquire more leads. You might be doing everything else right, but if you can’t meet your goal, then you need to rework your content marketing strategy.
One of the goals of most businesses is to increase their lead acquisition, and we are finding that now, more than ever, content marketing is producing the results.
Great content can turn visitors into customers. And increasing sales is also the ultimate goal for many businesses. So monitoring the sales metric is a great way to ensure that all your marketing efforts and expenditures are helping you make considerable returns on investment.
Other metrics such as Returning visitors, Social shares/engagement, and Subscribers are also quite helpful in measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy, notably when your goals revolve around building your brand.
3) Getting the right tools to measure the effectiveness of content marketing
Now that you’ve set your goals and outlined the metrics, it’s time to analyze the impact. For that, you need tools that not only help you assess these metrics with accuracy but also enable you to conveniently keep the progress under check at all times.
Here are some of our top picks:
a) Google Search Console
From setting up your site and indexing its pages on the search engines to identifying broken links, monitoring traffic, and improving the customer journey, this tool can help you handle the most troublesome tasks with ease.
I use it to measure the effectiveness of my content. I like to look at the keywords ( #1 on the image below) that I am getting indexed on google for ( #3 on the image below) and then seeing how many times people are clicking on my search result.( #2 on the image below).
So for the term “how to add whatsapp button on facebook page” My website has appeared in 2350 search results and from those, 83 people have clicked on that link, bringing them to my website.
Drilling down further, I can click on that search term inside Google Console and it shows me the average Click Through rate too…
If I am getting indexed a lot and not getting many clicks, then I know I need to increase the appeal level of my content.
On the other hand, I can also look at the pages of my site that people are going to organically and see what could be improved upon.
b) Google Analytics
Commonly known for its advanced features, such as allowing multiple users to analyze data simultaneously, this is one of the most popular tools almost every marketer uses.
Other features include real-time performance reports with comparisons, advanced segments allowing you to dig deep into data mines, and multiple platforms/devices performance analysis.
The google analytics Youtube Channel has some excellent videos on how to use GA…I highly recommend it to anybody who wants to know how to measure their data.
Used to be called Piwik, Matomo is another excellent tool that allows you to optimize your content and measure the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy. Advanced features include A/B Testing, heatmaps, content marketing funnels analysis, and other useful features to stay on top of things.
d) 15 Content Marketing Tools to Create, Promote, and Manage Content Like a Pro
I have also found a very comprehensive list of other tools that are needed for complete content marketing. In this post from Larry Kim @mobilemonkey, you will find 15 Content marketing tools that should be on every business owner’s list. I am very happy to say that I use most of these and as you can see, Mobile Monkey is a big player in the Chatbot space. Of course, I LOVE chatbots, and these guys are all over making this content thing easier for you…so check it out.
Don’t just collect data, use it for your advantage. I have always said that numbers tell a story, and in the case of content marketing, the story is pretty compelling.
Also, try to keep things simple and straightforward. Using multiple tools to gather data is more likely to restrict you from focusing on improvement opportunities.
So, ideally, stick with a tool and utilize the information you extract to improve your content marketing strategy by making adjustments right away.
As long as you focus on the metrics that matter, analyze it frequently and make changes based on these metrics to improve your content marketing strategy, you’ll be effectively able to increase your returns on investment.
Don’t try and make ALL the metrics work..pick 3 or 4 and start with those, then as you get more comfortable, then you can expand.