Content marketing helps you build trust, generate leads and improve conversions by answering your audience's challenges. But how do you know for sure? with KPIs, of course.
What are KPIs in content marketing?
Content marketing KPIs are metrics that track the success and effectiveness of your content marketing efforts. KPIs can be different depending on your content goals, but the most common ones measure SEO presence, lead generation, and revenue.
Keeping an eye on these metrics can help businesses rely on data to make decisions about their content marketing strategy.
What you will learn
- Content marketing KPIs must be determined from your content marketing goals
- Content marketing KPIs to measure search engine performance
- Content marketing KPIs to measure leads and content ROI
- Content marketing KPIs to measure thought leadership and authority
How to measure content marketing with KPIs
Measure your content marketing KPIs derived from content marketing goals. Your chosen KPIs must help you determine successful content and uncover opportunities for improvement. Here are some examples of content marketing KPIs based on their content goals.
Goal: Increase search visibility
- SERP positions
- Click-through rate
Goal: Drive leads and conversion
- Conversion rate
- Leads generated
Goal: Establish authority and trust
- Content depth
Your content marketing goals will help guide your content KPIs. Let's look at how you can use these key performance indicators to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing program.
Content marketing KPIs to measure search visibility
Search visibility determines your website's discoverability on search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher your website ranks for your target keywords, the more chances there are of traffic entering your content marketing funnel.
Search visibility is mainly a top-of-funnel metric, but is still crucial to your content's success. Higher search rankings may be associated with authority and quality, and can command credibility and trust that translate to other KPIs, like revenue and lead generation.
Here are common content marketing KPIs that measure search visibility.
Impressions are the number of times any page of your website appears on the search results pages for a relevant query. Impressions mean that your content is visible to your target audience in the SERPs.
The more impressions your content has, the more opportunities you have to drive traffic to your website.
The Search Results report under the Performance tab inside Google Search Console will help you monitor your website's impressions in the search results. GSC allows you to filter the impressions data for device types and date ranges.
Organic website traffic is fuel to your content marketing success. Traffic can help you determine how your SEO efforts are acquiring visitors to your website and the interactions they initiate.
You can use Google Analytics to track website traffic, using several metrics:
- Pageviews- the total number of times a page is viewed.
- Sessions- the number of times visitors interact with your website in a single browsing session
- Unique or new website visitors- the number of individuals who visit your website in a certain timeframe, or for the first time
You can also uncover insights on traffic sources, and the most popular devices and geographies for your readers.
Tracking your website traffic's key performance indicators can help you make decisions based on data to improve your blog posts and give resources to successful content categories while getting rid of others.
For example, you may find that long-tail keywords are a more successful strategy for your blog to attract traffic, instead of covering popular topics that are highly competitive.
Keyword SERP Positions
Keyword SERP positions are a marker of your website's search visibility. Tracking your keyword rankings can help you identify the keywords you're seeing the most results with and cover related phrases in a bid to establish topical authority, and attract even more organic traffic.
Conversely, position tracking can help you spot low hanging opportunities, as well as underperforming pages.
For example, blog posts that consistently rank low in the SERPs may require improved keyword targeting and content rewrites to improve quality.
You can use Search Console's Average Position report to find your SERP position for indexed pages of your website.
Click through rate
Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who click on your web page after seeing it appear for their target query. CTR indicates how appealing your meta titles and descriptions are to users in the SERPs.
Although not a direct ranking factor, you can be assured that Google prefers pages with higher CTRs and will place them closer to the top of search results.
A high CTR may not necessarily suggest high quality content since the SERPs only reveal metadata, but it's a good on-page SEO practice to optimize your page titles.
For instance, Google might view a page with a low SERP CTR as having little relevance to the search query, which would lower its ranking in search results.
Studies indicate that the top ranked page on Google receives an average CTR of 39.8%. The 2nd position’s CTR is 18.4%, less than half of that, while the 3rd position generates a 10.1% CTR.
Combining CTR with Average Position reporting in your Search Console's pages tab can help you find low-hanging fruit, pages that need little effort.
For example, filtering the positions to show pages ranking in the top 10 can help you find underperforming pages that are ranking on the first page but with low CTRs and not living up to their potential.
You can take this one step further and filter only the top 3-5 pages to identify your best ranking content and improve their CTR by optimizing metadata.
Content marketing KPIs to measure leads and conversions
Conversions and lead generation are important indicators of your content and SEO performance. Conversions show you the number of people who fulfilled a desired action like filling out a form or purchasing your product, while leads help your sales pipeline.
Conversions and leads have direct business value for your sales team because they drive financial results.
They prove the effectiveness of your content marketing campaigns, making them important content metrics to track.
One of the most common questions in marketing is, What percentage of people took action? That's your conversion rate.
It could be a download or visiting a new page, but it will help you understand how good your content is at driving action.
For example, your conversion rate would be 3% if your blog post was seen by 1,000 people and 30 of them bought your ebook.
The conversion rate of your content can be measured in terms of bookings (leads) or actual sales. It really depends on how you define your conversion rate.
The same social media post's conversion rate can change if you're interested in the percentage of ebook purchases out of those who arrived at the checkout page, instead of the blog post.
Tracking your conversion rate can help you:
- Measure bookings (leads) and track the effectiveness of your content in generating leads. E.g., email subscriptions, downloads, etc.
- Measure how many sales your content generated.
- Identify areas where your content marketing can be improved.
- Check how well your content does compared to industry standards to make sure you're on the right track.
You can also segment different channels and topic categories to find the best content by looking at the conversion rates.
For example, social media posts, video, email marketing, and blog posts will have different conversion rates. Using analytics tools like Google Analytics along with UTM parameters can help you track your content marketing conversion rates.
The conversion rate data can help you adapt your content marketing campaign by showing you which channel works best and how to make it work even better.
A lead is someone who has shown interest in your product or service and provided their contact information to access something valuable you're offering.
Even though email subscribers, downloads, bookings, demos, and consultation calls are all leads, they are at different stages of the buyer's journey and have different goals.
Hence, tracking downloads versus demos will have potentially different meanings for your business.
Of course, you'll want to maximize calls and demos in the buyer's decision stage at the bottom of the content marketing funnel, but tracking how many downloads and email opt-ins you receive can help you ensure that the top of your funnel is performing well.
When you create content for every stage of the buyer's journey, make sure that you pay attention to what the search intent is for that stage.
Revenue is a key content marketing performance indicator for your content's success. It confirms the impact of your content strategy on business outcomes and content ROI.
For example, if you spend $20,000 on content marketing activities and generate $100,000 in revenue, your ROI would be four times that, or 400%.
But, the actual ROI for content marketing goes beyond revenue alone. Done right, content can increase brand awareness, establish authority, and gather loyalty.
SEO, for example, has a low customer acquisition cost and evergreen topics can generate organic traffic over a long period with minimal maintenance, keeping the content visible on search engines.
Segmenting revenue by different content marketing types and channels can help you focus on the most effective campaigns while revisiting or completely eliminating under performers.
Consider how long your typical sales cycle is when you're tracking revenue KPIs. Besides measuring direct revenue, you want to monitor other related metrics such as:
Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
Your customer acquisition cost can help you determine if you need to raise your prices to account for your marketing spend to acquire new customers.
Lifetime value (LTV)
Knowing your lifetime value can help you in two ways. One, you can predict future revenue and plan ahead. And two, you can afford to lose money upfront if it helps you acquire a customer, knowing that you’ll make it back over the lifetime of your customer.
Content marketing KPIs to measure authority and leadership
In marketing, authority is the perceived level of trust, credibility, and expertise a brand has in the eyes of consumers. Similarly, in content marketing, it shows how influential a company is within a specific industry or topic.
While not a direct ranking factor, E-E-A-T principles have been outlined in Google's quality rater guidelines to examine the experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness of web pages, especially in information sensitive industries.
Because authority plays such an important role in ranking higher, you should focus on covering your subject’s topical map.
If you are publishing high quality content that shows you are a thought leader, which you should, customers are more likely to engage with it and take action if they think you are trustworthy.
Unlike website traffic or ROI, measuring authority and trust is not straightforward.
It depends on subjective things that can't be measured, like a brand's reputation and market sentiment. There are other trust indicators KPIs that you can measure to determine your content’s perceived credibility and trust.
Content depth is the level of detail, insight, and comprehensiveness your content provides to the audience. A blog post with depth goes beyond surface-level information and gives in-depth analysis and useful tips.
Content depth helps you prove your credibility and expertise, and boosts your content's engagement.
Measuring how engaged your readers are with your content is an important KPI to judge your content's value to them.
The most important metrics to measure content depth include:
- Scroll depth: how far users scroll down a page. It will help you understand how relevant your content is. Users are likely to scroll deeper for content that resonates with them.
- Pages per session: This tells you how many pages a user visits during a single session on your website. Pages per session indicate the level of interest your content has for the user.
- Time on page: How long does a user spend on a specific page? This is an indicator of how valuable your content is to the reader.
- Session duration: This metric measures the amount of time spent on your website by a user in a single session.
Audience engagement is the users' level of interaction and involvement with your content. It shows that your audience is responding positively to your content.
Engagement is a key performance indicator for valuable content because it shows the effectiveness of your content in addressing issues and trends that your target audience is actually interested in.
- Comments in the form of feedback, questions, opinions, and discussions can help you clearly understand what your audience is thinking.
- When people share your content on social media channels, it means they consider it engaging or valuable, and think it's worth telling their followers about. Besides social media engagement, you should also track email shares.
- Watch time can also be an important engagement metric that conveys which points in your video were most replayed, or forwarded.
High-quality inbound links from authoritative websites act as votes for your credibility and increase the authority of your website in the eyes of search engines.
Tracking your backlinks can be important for several reasons.
- They can help you monitor your link building campaigns to track link acquisitions.
- Links from trustworthy, relevant sites can help your E-E-A-T profile, which can improve your search rankings.
- Backlinks are crucial to establishing website authority.
The Links tab in Google Search Console offers several reports to track your backlink profile, including top linking websites and anchor text.
Although brand mentions and links from social media don't hold the same weightage for your website's SEO, they can still be important indicators of your brand's online presence.
In some instances, these can also lead to traffic on your website from an industry leader's Tweet or share, and are worth keeping an eye on.
- Because SEO is such an important part of content marketing, monitoring your website’s search engine performance can help you reach wider audiences, increase brand awareness and raise your company’s profile with your target audience
- Measure your content ROI by tracking how readers are taking action on your content at the top of the funnel, right down to booking demos and trials in the buyer’s decision stage
- Consumers stick with brands that they can trust and believe to be credible, so even though these don’t directly contribute to your bottom line, you should be tracking indicative metrics that prove your content’s authority and leadership
Keep monitoring your content marketing KPIs
At a minimum, you want to track traffic and ROI for your content. Content marketing KPIs can help give you a better understanding of your audience and enable data-backed decisions to improve your content strategy.
There's no holy grail to track content marketing success — set your unique goals and relevant content KPIs, and find out what’s working.