While you may understand the overarching goal of content marketing, it isn’t always obvious how to track your content performance and results. Creating content to grow your business is only part of the task. Now you need to verify that your content is actually working.

As my dad always says to me, what’s not inspected isn’t respected! You need to analyze how your content is performing.

Analysis helps to identify:

  • what’s working
  • what’s not working
  • where improvements are needed

Content marketing metrics can be both formal and informal, but the key is that you actually know how to measure content marketing success. I’m going to share seven clues that I use for my own content, which all help me to evaluate my strategy and continually improve it.

What’s not inspected isn’t respected! Analyze how your content is performing.Click To Tweet

1) Your Social Media Presence is Improving

There are a number of content marketing metrics related to engagement that you can take from social media. After all, social media marketing relies on content. If your content on social platforms is successful, the more you’ll attract, engage, and convert followers.

Social indicators include: follows, clicks, shares, comments, mentions, and likes.

  • follows
  • clicks
  • shares
  • comments
  • mentions
  • likes.

According to Contently, “the way your content performs on social media is a great indicator of its overall effectiveness, including its search performance.” If your social metrics are improving, then your content marketing efforts are helping.

Content Marketing Metrics - The way your content performs on social media is an indicator of its overall effectiveness.

Even when you first start out with your social media presence, you can collect these metrics right away. Networks like Twitter and Facebook provide fairly extensive analytics without requiring any financial investment.

Although a bit more advanced, A/B testing your posts, headlines, or even the images that you use on social media allows you to compare performance and lead your strategy.

As a result of improved social media presence, your website traffic will increase, your brand exposure will rise, and you’ll see a general boost from the content you’re using to fill your feeds.

A look at social media performance will certainly guide your content and social strategy moving forward.

2) Subscribers and Opt-ins Are Increasing

One of the simplest content marketing measurements can come in the form of your email list subscribers, lead magnet opt-ins, or individual email performance. After all, email marketing is a form of content marketing.

Email marketing software is essential—not just for managing the flow of your content but also for gaining valuable insight into your content marketing metrics.

Use your email provider's analytic tools to track open & click rates.Click To Tweet

The most popular email marketing tools available today provide extensive analytics. When you use tools to measure content marketing success, you’ll gain access to opt-in figures, and you’ll even see advanced analytics like open and click rates.

Email marketing still remains one of the most important aspects of any online marketing strategy since it’s cost effective and trackable, especially when compared to more traditional marketing methods.

3) Your Blog Posts Are More Popular

As you gain confidence in what you’re doing and the tools that you’re using, you’ll start to notice that there have been small clues staring at you all along.

Take blog post engagement as an example. Your blog’s comment section offers insight into basic content marketing metrics. When you see that people commenting on your blogs and engaging in conversation related to your blog posts, you know that your content marketing is working in some way.

Audience engagement doesn’t just illustrate that your content is being read and appreciated. It also offers a chance for you to:

  • directly communicate with your audience
  • strengthen your brand by building relationships and rapport
  • discover content opportunities.

Two other blog metrics indicate your posts’ approval: social shares and traffic. The higher the shares, traffic, and clicks, the more popular your content is. With more popularity comes better brand recognition, ranking, authority, influence, and eventually conversion.

Content Marketing Metrics - Buzzsumo helps you find your best performing content on social media.

Buzzsumo helps you find your best performing blog content on social media.

Check out Buzzsumo to find out what content is most popular on your site. You get a couple free searches a day. Type your domain URL into the Home page’s search box. Buzzsumo displays your most popular content in terms of social shares. This app also tracks Twitter shares. Great info to know!

4) Overall Page Traffic is Growing

Blogging drives traffic, and traffic can generate leads and sales. Therefore, it’s only natural that website traffic can be used as one of your key content marketing metrics.

A website without frequently updated, SEO optimized content means there’s no pathway in place to attract an audience. “SEO blogging” means writing content that is optimized for search engines as well as humans. SEO blogging’s benefits for your site include increased traffic, visibility, engagement, and ranking.

When you do start to put effort into your content marketing on your website, then you’ll naturally see an increase in your traffic statistics.

Content Marketing Metrics - A traffic overview from SimilarWeb.com

A traffic overview from SimilarWeb.com of Smart Bird Social’s website.

You can use online solutions like Google Analytics, SimilarWeb.com, and SerpStat to see exactly how much traffic your website is getting. In many cases, you can even see where that traffic is coming from and where it’s going to.

For most professional marketers and bloggers who have been doing this for a long time, traffic is one of the first and most important content marketing metrics recorded.

5) On-Page Results Are Improving

To take things up a notch, review more advanced data and traffic statistics to see how your content is performing.

Traffic data tells you that you have had visitors on your site. Yet, it doesn’t provide the complete picture of what those visitors were doing and whether they were likely to be valuable leads or not.

By looking at more advanced clues—like time on page, page flow traffic, or unique visitor count—you can measure the effectiveness of specific content. Again, with a solution like Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see how long visitors spend on each page.

Content Marketing Metrics - Smart Bird Social's page flow in Google Analytics.

Smart Bird Social’s page flow in Google Analytics.

Let’s say that you’ve produced an epic blog post that would take between six to ten minutes to read. If you’re seeing an average time on page of eight minutes, then you could extrapolate that those users read the majority of your content and took some value from it.

Plus, the longer visitors hang around and browse your content, the more Google will favor your site. More page views and longer page time means that your website visitors are digging your content. When your site is set up to attract and convert, your content will reel ‘em in!

Sumo.com provides tools to dive deeper into your on-page metrics. Sumo’s Heat Maps show where your visitors clicked. The Content Analytics option lets you know how much of your content was read. And, their Google Analytics tool highlights your most important stats without ever leaving your site.

Content Marketing Metrics - Sumo.com apps help track your site metrics.

Sumo.com apps help track your site metrics.

Tracking internal links to other pages and opt-in forms allows you to combine further data sets. You can see how many of those readers went on to view more pages, what pages they viewed, and if they opted in for freebies.

6) Contact Through Forms and Web Based Chat Are Increasing

Conversions often mean different things to different people. Some consider a conversion a sale, but in the world of marketing, this is not always the case. You’ll discover that conversions at all points in your sales funnel are clues to your gauge your content marketing success.

'Conversions' often mean different things to different people.Click To Tweet

Do you have a live chat system on your website? Increased chat interactions might be another metric for content marketing. Conversations on live chat are early conversions/actions that could lead to sales later.

Increased traffic to a ‘Contact Us’ page is another type of conversion, even if it only results in a sales lead. Internal page tracking will show you if the visitor engaged with your content prior to filling out the contact form.

7) Your Sales Figures Have Started to Pick Up

Finally, here’s a clue that doesn’t require in-depth knowledge of web analytics. Even better, it’s one of the best content marketing metrics of all!

Content marketing can improve your conversation rate. Increased sales are a powerful and obvious indicator that your strategy is working.

The combo of different types of content marketing contributes to an overall boost to business.Click To Tweet

The combination of different types of content marketing contributes to an overall boost to business, which you may also be able to see in conversion metrics. But make sure you incorporate some tracking into your process. This way, you’ll know which flows are working and which ones aren’t.

Today’s marketing campaigns make correlations between investment and sales uptick much easier. Plus, the data will be more accurate than ever before if you have the right tools in place.

Content Marketing Metrics Continually Develop Your Strategy

Unfortunately, marketers aren’t that confident about measuring content marketing’s impact on the bottom of the funnel (aka their bottom line).

Content Marketing Metrics - Only 30 percent of leading marketers feel they are effective at measuring content marketing’s impact on the bottom of the funnel.

Remember that content marketing measurement doesn’t have to be overly complex. You’ll become more comfortable and familiar with these clues as you spend more time looking for them.

One other important piece to remember: every business is different. Your metrics that matter won’t be the same as someone else’s because your blogging goals differ. Let your goals determine your success and measure accordingly.

Let your goals determine your metric indicators & your #contentmarketing success.Click To Tweet

Once you get used to analyzing your metrics, you can incorporate the results into any future strategy. The awesome part of digital marketing is that you can usually pivot quickly if necessary, modifying your plans to better meet your audience’s preferences.

Best of all, the feeling you get from seeing your traffic or sales increase is incredibly rewarding. These results will inspire you to keep on producing effective and innovative content for your niche.

Looking for help with content marketing? I’m happy to help with your blogging strategy, blog posts, or even social media content. Give me a holla!

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Meghan Monaghan
Meghan Monaghan
CEO/Co-founder at Smart Bird Social

Meghan is a digital marketer with expertise and certifications in visual content, social media, web design, email marketing, blogging/content marketing, landing pages, and sales funnels. She helps entrepreneurs and very small businesses get found in search and social via custom content and do-it-yourself marketing tactics, systems, and strategies that she teaches online.

In an effort to empower business owners with knowledge and confidence, she creates content that informs, educates, inspires, and entertains. She contributes to blogs, including Social Quant and AccessWP, and can be found wherever there are rescued greyhounds afoot.

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