Content marketing metrics are an essential part of the content planning process. Whilst content marketing has become a more stable ingredient of marketing, businesses are facing challenges as they try to scale their content marketing. It’s hard to do well, which is part of the reason most CMOs think their content is failing. Despite the good vibes, it’s easy to see the industry continuing to use the more traditional methods of advertising—nearly $15 billion that’ll be spent on programmatic display advertising this year.
A survey by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and NetLine Corporation revealed that only 12% of marketers feel their organization’s content keeps their target audience top of mind top of mind—the crucial reason in the first place for building your audience and generating qualified leads. The majority of the 200 senior marketing leaders (90%) said they have a content strategy, but only 2% view their approach as highly effective for generating leads.
The latest survey from the Content Marketing Institute shows that both for BtoB and BtoC marketers despite remaining a priority there are clear challenges in measuring the ROI of content marketing. Perhaps this is not surprising as often businesses are failing as many marketers do not use paid advertising to promote their content and often lose momentum, produce poor quality content and do not plan effectively.
Identifying Content Marketing Metrics
Research by the Altimeter Group looks at the challenges marketers are facing in measuring the value of their content marketing efforts. Critically they offer a useful framework for strategically planning content marketing and addressing these issue of what content marketing metrics to use – Content Marketing Performance: A Framework to Measure Real Business Impact.
So what is putting the right content marketing metrics in place and measuring them so hard?
According to Altimeter Group, the problem is two-fold:
1) Which metrics to prioritize, and
2) How to measure the metrics they do care about.
Authors Rebecca Lieb and Susan Etlinger note that far too often, marketers default to measuring activity rather than outcomes:
“Content strategists and digital marketers struggle to select the right metrics and frequently opt for measuring volume rather than impact when impact metrics are too complex to measure, or the required data or tools are not available.”
One of the biggest problems highlighted in this report is a mismatch between marketers’ needs and their technology investments:
“While marketers say measurement is a primary need, they are making content software investments elsewhere.”
As Rebecca Lieb noted in a previous report, The Content Marketing Software Landscape: Marketer Needs & Vendor Solutions, most marketers struggle to “feed the beast” with a steady output of content. Put differently, marketers become so focused on getting content out the door, that they forget to take a look at how that content is actually performing.
Essential Content Marketing Metrics
The content marketing metrics infographic by Curata provies a more detailed look at the measures available to marketers.
As ever choosing the right ones and how they fit to your strategy is critical.
Too many measures can lead to problems whilst too few may leave you unable to identify how you can improve your results.
The art of implementing content marketing metrics is understanding how they clearly fit to your strategy, how they fit to your objectives and how they can be implemented.
There is still a reliable truth that comes into play, that the work in the planning delivers the results from the efforts. Whilst you don’t want to go into planning overload the more targeted you are, the more you understand your audience the better you can target your content and prioritize your time and resources.
Content Marketing Metrics: Important Questions
- Do visitors recognize your brand based on your content marketing?
- Does your content marketing improve brand recall?
- Does your content marketing enhance brand favorability?
- Does your content marketing increase prospects’ intent to purchase?
- How many visitors do you have?
- How many unique visitors do you have per month or other time period?
- What is your bounce rate?
- Where are your readers physically located?
- What type of devices do readers use to consume your content?
- Do visitors register for emailings?
- Do visitors sign up for feeds?
- Do visitors request other business or purchase information via email, chat or contact form included with your content?
- Do readers call your business?
- How much time do visitors spend with your content?
- How many pages do visitors read on average?
- Do your readers share your posts via email?
- Do readers share your content via social sharing?
- Do readers comment on your content?
- Is your content gaining traction?
- Which content clicks with your audience?
- Do other thought leaders link to your content?
- Do other thought leaders engage with you in the comment section of your content or on social media?
- Do you get media requests for your insights?
- Do you get requests to contribute to your content offering?
- Are you asked to contribute to other content in the industry?
- Do you get asked to present at industry events?
- Do you get work requests you can attribute to your content marketing?
- Can you track sales to your content marketing?
- Do you support sales with how-to and specific product information?
- Does your content marketing reduce time-to-purchase?
- Does your content generate advertising sales including banners, Google Adsense and sponsorships?
- Does your content marketing generate affiliate sales?
- Does your content reduce returns with post-purchase support?
- Do your customers buy additional or related products after consuming your content?
- Do your customers share your content with their family and friends?
- Do your customers contribute content in the form of ratings and reviews on your website?
- Do your customers share photos or images using your product?
Ultimately, content marketing will never become more than a side project for most brands if CMOs can’t demonstrate impressive ROI figures to the rest of the c-suite.