Analytics, Metrics & KPIs for Content Marketers and Blog Publishers
By Peter Prestipino
Content marketing changed the approach many enterprises take to attract and retain customers in the digital world, but many are struggling to understand how the tactic is actually benefiting their brands’ bottom lines and that’s creating a virtual headache for digital media managers.
The key “success” indicators for information publishers (independent bloggers, as well as more formal content marketing teams at larger enterprises, agencies and traditional media outlets) have always been difficult (if not impossible) to identify. Fortunately, that’s starting to change.
First, realize that most enterprises have no idea at all if they are effectively tracking content utilization metrics (so you’re not alone). Only 27 percent of B2B marketers (according to Kapost) believe they are on the right track, but since there are so many different possible data points to measure, where should you begin? Which metrics should today’s digital brands use to gather the insights required to generate more revenue and improve the user experience over the long term?
There are, of course, a range of options, but production, engagement, traffic and effect are quickly becoming the standards:
PRODUCTION :: Measuring performance by production (including the number of content assets produced, the types of content produced and the volume of content produced by each author) is useful, but more from a personnel perspective (you know who’s working and who’s not). More is not always better, of course, so to achieve success with the content marketing and the more informal “blogging,” you need to make a sufficient amount available. It’s no secret that regular publishing improves the likelihood of brand discovery, but finding the balance can be a challenge. With the right tools in place of course, using “production” as a key performance indicator (KPI) becomes very attractive. Discover tools to help your enterprise manage and measure content at wsm.co/measuremanage.
ENGAGEMENT :: Another (and very popular) method to measure performance today is to analyze engagement – whether or not content that is developed is being commented upon, shared and, well, liked (e.g. on social networks). The quantity of social shares is an excellent indicator as is time on site (which is also useful in determining the quality of content as well).
Many of the content marketing tools on the market are very useful in reporting common engagement metrics, but the networks themselves already offer rather robust reporting. Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics both reveal rather detailed insights into how well marketers are engaging their audiences. Explore the analytics offerings of these two networks at wsm.co/6smtrack.
TRAFFIC :: Traditional metrics including unique visits, page views and traffic sources (organic, direct, referral) remain the most meaningful indicators of performance to content marketers and blog publishers. If you’re producing enough content (production) and content that is catching the attention of its audience (engagement), there is no more powerful evidence that your content marketing initiatives are working than traffic as a KPI.
EFFECT :: The three approaches listed above are certainly important as they tell us how hard we’re actually working (volume), the quality of our work (engagement), and how content marketing efforts compare to other forms of traffic acquisition and retention efforts. These three approaches to analyzing content marketing are useless of course unless an enterprise can determine the impact on conversion. With the diversity in users’ path toward conversion, that’s not always easy - but that doesn’t mean you should not try, right?
The most useful way to determine the value of content marketing and blogging initiatives is to explore how the content assets developed influence the number of conversions and more importantly, the impact on revenue. Essentially, is the content developed effective in producing leads and further, sales? If so, you’re on the right track.