Content marketing is vital for every business today.

While many businesses already understood the value of high-quality content, many are just dipping their toes in the water after COVID-19.

Research shows that 45% of B2B marketers are using digital marketing channels – like content – for the first time this year.

Content marketing is loaded with benefits:

  • It’s long-term and sustainable.
  • Content helps nurture leads.
  • It demonstrates your authority.
  • Content boosts brand recognition and trust.
  • It solves your lead and customer pain points.

However, the key is to create high-quality, relevant, and useful content, but how can you tell if your content is “working?”

You must understand how to measure content marketing success – and that’s more complicated than it seems.

Which Metric is the Most Important with Regards to Content Marketing?

None of them! There’s no single metric that will tell you whether your content is successful or doing its job. Page views might seem reliable, but how many times have you viewed a blog post you found boring or useless? Probably more than you can remember.

Instead, figure out which metrics really matter and how to draw insight from all of them together.

Vanity Metrics

Vanity metrics get you excited and confident, but they don’t translate into action. They’re essentially meaningless and easy to manipulate.

You can’t draw conclusions from vanity metrics alone because they’ll always steer you down the wrong path.

Some examples of vanity metrics include:

  • Page views
  • Free trial users
  • Social media likes, views, or reactions
  • Email subscribers
  • Page followers
  • Acquired leads
  • Event registrations

Independently, these metrics look great on paper, but you must compare them to actionable metrics too to measure content success.

Metrics That Matter

Actionable metrics matter. These metrics show growth and success from your content because it inspired people to take action or at least consume more content.

  • Bounce rates
  • Shares
  • Conversion rates
  • Monthly active visitors or users
  • Email activity like clicks or conversions
  • Event participation
  • Lead quality
  • Customer churn rate
  • Lifetime value

Understanding Different Types of Content Marketing Metrics

Different metrics tell you distinct things about your audience’s behavior and opinions of your content.

Some metrics tell us more than others.

Basic Metrics to Measure Content Marketing Success

Start with basic metrics to grasp where your traffic is coming from and how people behave on your website or social pages.

Most of these are vanity metrics when used alone, but they work in tandem with other metrics to build a broader picture.

  • Post/page impressions
  • Page views
  • New users vs. returning visitors
  • Unique page visitors
  • Page sessions
  • Website traffic
  • Traffic source

Engagement Metrics to Measure Content Marketing Success

These metrics tell you a bit more about the behavior of your website and page visitors. Engagement metrics tell you people loved your content experience enough to stick around and consume more of it, sign up for your lists, or share your content with others.

  • Page views per session
  • Time spent on site
  • Bounce rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Conversions
  • Share ratios

Positioning Metrics to Measure Content Marketing Success

Positioning metrics tell you if your content is showing up in the right places.

For example, let’s say your website traffic has skyrocketed, but no one’s converting. You’d want to check your keywords, SEO, and content quality to make sure you’re publishing content relevant to your specific audience segments.

Some important positioning metrics include:

  • Search rankings
  • Backlinks
  • Brand mentions
  • Follower growth
  • Keyword relevance

How to Measure Content Marketing Success with Key Metrics

Even vanity metrics alone won’t paint a full picture of your content marketing success. Here’s why a strategy is so important: A content marketing strategy has goals, a plan to reach them, and methods for tracking your success.

Create a List of Goals

You can’t figure out how to measure content marketing success if you don’t know what success looks like.

Your content can, and should, have more than one goal.

Content targeting people within each stage would have distinct goals. For example, content targeting leads in the funnel’s early stage should have goals like brand awareness and lead magnet downloads.

Some of your content goals might include:

  • Brand recognition and authority
  • Lead nurturing
  • Boosting conversion rates
  • Problem identification
  • Solution building
  • Preventing customer churn
  • Improving lead quality
  • Boosting lifetime value
  • Differentiating your brand from competitors

Figure out your goal at each stage of the funnel and which types of content you’ll use to meet your goals.

Set Your Key Performance Indicators and Content Marketing Metrics to Measure Success

Next, pinpoint your KPIs. Your KPIs aren’t individual metrics. Your KPIs include a handful of metrics you’ll use to gain insight into your content’s performance.

Here’s where vanity metrics get useful again.

Page views, for example, don’t tell you much alone. However, when you add other metrics like lead downloads, conversions, and returning visitors, your page views can tell you a great deal!

Say your blog has had 1,000 visits a week for over a year. You’re worried your content isn’t working because your traffic hasn’t increased. Ask yourself

  • Are more visitors returning to read more content since last year?
  • Are visitors staying on your website for longer periods of time now?
  • Has lead quality improved?
  • Do visitors share more content with their colleagues these days?
  • Has your conversion rate improved?
  • Have you gotten the attention of more key accounts than last year?

If you answer yes to any of those questions, that means your content is indeed successful because it influenced visitor behavior. In fact, earning more traffic alone can be a negative if you’re not reaching the right people.

Improve Your Key Content Marketing Metrics

Your goal shouldn’t be to improve one single metric – like page visits or lead downloads. Instead, look at the bigger picture: How can you improve your entire content marketing experience?

Artificial intelligence tools like an AI recommendation engine help create the content experience your buyers expect and demand. An AI engine helps you squeeze every ounce of ROI and engagement from your content. That’s why streaming models like Netflix and Hulu are so successful. An AI engine brings the same technology to your B2B website.

Learn more about how an AI engine works behind the scenes to create an empowering user experience and improve content marketing success.

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