Ashley Lawson
By Ashley Lawson on September 08, 2020
6 minute read

6 Key Metrics for Evaluating Content Performance

The key to a successful content campaign is the ability to measure the results. You’ll have no real idea of how well or poorly your campaigns are doing if you can’t understand how it’s performing. You must know which key metrics you’re tracking and how to evaluate them to help you improve your content to maximize conversions.

How Important Are Metrics in Evaluating Content?

Metrics are invaluable to the evaluation of your content campaigns. If you're going into your content campaigns blindly, you won't be able to understand what's going on behind the scenes.

The very first step you should take is figuring out what your specific objective is. Knowing what to achieve is everything when initially developing any campaign. Once you've come up with a realistic, actionable goal, whether it's attempting to bring in more traffic or get more people to sign up for a webinar, you can then pinpoint which metric you're trying to improve. 

For example, suppose you are going to host a webinar. You first must define what success looks like for this campaign to decide which metrics you should be evaluating. Is your goal to get a certain number of people to register, or would you consider this campaign successful if you had a specific attendance rate? You might consider reviewing the following metrics:

  • Traffic to your webinar registration landing page
  • Form submission rate on your webinar registration landing page
  • The attrition rate of people who registered and did not attend

Reviewing these metrics throughout your campaign allows you the opportunity to optimize the variables that might not be performing. If you’re getting a ton of traffic to your landing page, but no one is registering, review your landing page layout and the registration form. If your submission rate is high, but your landing page isn’t getting a lot of traffic, then you’ll need to strategize how to promote that page.  

Put simply, if you can define what will make your campaign successful, you’ll be able to determine which metrics to evaluate and how to optimize them moving forward. Otherwise, you're just going to develop campaigns without really understanding their purpose, which won't help you realize their full potential.

Man focused in evaluating his content on computer

Is It Possible to Tie New Customers to Specific Pieces of Content?

If you’re considering investing in content marketing, one concern you’re likely to have is whether you will be able to track new customers to the content you create. When looking at your metrics, do you know who the people are that are clicking CTAs, submitting forms, or have been to your product page multiple times? 

When launching a campaign, creating reliable attribution reports will help you track people from their first interaction with your website to their first purchase so you can understand how your content is guiding people through their buyer’s journey.

Let’s say a blog you wrote is driving a ton of traffic to one of your service or product pages on your website, and many of those people are submitting a form that turns a lead into a marketing qualified lead (MQL). You should evaluate that blog page and determine what is making it so successful, then create more content like it. 

Through a combination of tools like Google Analytics and HubSpot, you can gain insight into which pages are engaging people. In turn, you'll be able to enhance your content strategy based on this data and pinpoint where people got hooked by your campaigns.

What Are the Key Metrics to Evaluate Content Against?

There are plenty of metrics out there that can be of use to you, but you need to know what you want to achieve beforehand. You could look at all of the data imaginable, but it won't tell you anything useful and applicable unless you have an objective. Depending on your goals, there are several metrics that can help you figure out how your content is helping you reach your objectives.

Traffic

If your main goal is to bring more people to your website, traffic is a metric you'll want to analyze. Traffic can help indicate the effectiveness of your SEO campaigns in addition to the shareability of your content. If you're getting a lot of traffic, you're likely doing something right. On the other hand, if you're not getting enough traffic, consider whether the fault lies with poor SEO or content that simply isn't engaging, which can help you address the issue to improve traffic.

Time on Page

Sometimes you might have a page that gets a lot of traffic, and that initial metric leaves you impressed, but after a closer look, you find that the amount of time each user spends on the page is brief. People might only glance at the page before leaving five seconds after they've landed on the page, which is a tell-tale sign of unhelpful or even somehow off-putting content. Figure out which pages aren't getting the kind of traction you want and determine what's losing those visitors.

Bounce Rate

While low time on page is a potential issue, a high bounce rate is even more of an indicator that something needs to change within your content. If people are leaving the page as soon as they enter, something is misrepresenting the content, or the content itself isn't what your audience wants. You could try the following optimizations:

  • Change the title tags and meta description on Google to more accurately describe the page
  • Make changes to your promotional content to better represent the page
  • Review the landing page for missed engagement opportunities, such as video

Leads Created

Are your pages actually helping generate leads, or are they merely gaining traffic with minimal conversions? Try to figure out which pages are really helping bring people through the sales funnel. If the pages you intended to increase conversions aren't doing their job, revisit the content and determine which changes you can make, whether it's a more enticing call-to-action or a different layout of the landing page your form lives on.

Social Media Engagement

The biggest problem with pushing content on social media organically is that paid ads are likely to trump the competition. All of those major social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook favor businesses that pay to promote their brand and content. 

If you want to leverage social media to bring people to your content, pay attention to metrics that show people are actually reading and engaging with your content such as comments or shares. Evaluate if people are coming to your website or landing pages from your social posts by looking at your website traffic sources. These metrics can help you measure the success of your social media efforts and determine what you can do to improve performance. It could be as simple as changing the image or creating CTAs that drive people to comment and share your social media posts, which can potentially drive more traffic.

Pages Per Visit

An essential element of successful content is internal linking. If you can use content to improve the performance of your other content, you'll go a long way in building a strong content campaign. Proper interlinking can increase traffic on many pages while ensuring that visitors continue to browse beyond that initial landing page. Make sure your content encourages people to keep reading and explore the rest of your site based on the quality of that first content piece.

Buyer's Journey

Important Metrics to Have at Each Stage of the Buyer's Journey or for Each Type of Content

As an inbound agency, we're committed to creating great content that's ideal for each stage of the buyer's journey, from that initial educational stage where they're looking for more information about a particular problem to the time they're ready to connect at the consideration stage. During these different stages, you'll want to know which metrics to look at. For instance, time on page will be key during the awareness stage — people spending a lot of time on the page are more likely to continue their journey with your brand. As people move down toward the bottom of the sales funnel, that's when you'll want to look at conversion rates.

Paying attention to the right metrics at the right time can give you the insight you need to improve the experience at any point along the buyer's journey.

How Do You Measure Content Performance Against Objectives?

You must measure your content's performance against the goals you have, or you’ll find yourself satisfied with vanity metrics that aren’t showcasing the success of your campaign. 

Looking at metrics in a silo also won’t truly speak to how your campaign is performing. Suppose your pages are getting plenty of traffic - that’s great! If you had just looked at traffic alone, you would have assumed that you’re running a successful campaign. But if your campaign goal is to increase conversions, you should be looking at your traffic versus how many website visitors turned into leads. From there, you can evaluate how to improve your conversion rate. 

Make sure you know what you want to achieve with each metric and determine how that metric factors into your goals. Knowing which metrics to track based on your specific goals can help you gauge the success of your content campaigns while helping you determine what you need to do to enhance those campaigns. If you can align these metrics with your content goals, you'll create more engaging and compelling content that converts website leads into customers.

Learn more about the Inbound Blueprint here

Published by Ashley Lawson September 8, 2020
Ashley Lawson