Even the most creative campaigns were built on strategic thinking fuelled by data. Content marketing metrics capture information that ensures assets consistently deliver on more than a creative level.

Whether you’re gathering preliminary content metrics to optimize the messaging and reach of a campaign, or retrospectively reporting on existing assets to extract key learnings, it all comes down to knowing three things: 

  • What you should track
  • Why you should track it
  • How to track it

Good content marketing starts and ends with data. 

In this article, we explain the content marketing metrics that feed into performance-driven strategies. 

What to start with

1. Market Trends


What you should track:

Identifying purchasing behaviors and media exposure within your target market segments is a key starting point because it ensures your content aligns with the latest consumer behaviors and opinions. 

At this point, it’s important to analyze both local trends, as well as national and global ones. 

Here are some key areas to monitor: 

  • Devices: Know the technology most used to consume your content, whether it’s on mobile, desktop, TV or console.
  • Consumer opinion of the industry: Know what inspires them to engage with specific brands (and what doesn’t).
  • Cultural and lifestyle trends: Be receptive to social movements and how your content can leverage them.  

Why you should track it:

Complete understanding of the latest consumer trends is the end goal.

Fundamentally, knowing the wider contexts in which your audiences sit will help shape your campaign’s targeting and messaging to reach them on a deeper level.

How to track it:

Survey data, often combined with social listening, holds the key to uncovering the latest consumer trends and opinions

Detailed survey data allows you to view trends on a large scale and accurately predict future uptake of your content. 

Supplementing this with local consumer data ensures your content has a personal touch, one that resonates on a deeper level.


2. Segmentation 


What you should track:

Before a campaign is released, you need to know exactly which audience you’re looking to reach. 

This is done by segmenting your audience. Traditionally, this involved splitting consumers into groups based on basic demographic data like location, age or gender.

But technology now allows for much a more detailed look into the behaviors, attitudes, motivations, and values of your target segments.  

Why you should track it:

Segmentation puts you in the best position to deliver hyper-targeted content and provides a solid framework when it comes to tracking those all-important content marketing metrics later down the line.

Having your precise audience segments in place before your content strategy is crafted will give greater meaning to the results because you’re able see what worked and for whom and attribute it with greater clarity.

How to track it:

Segmentation can be carried out to varying degrees of granularity – but the more detailed the better.

Using deep survey data combined with web and social media analytics, it’s possible to uncover both what your consumers are doing online, and why they’re doing it. This gives you a full picture of each target audience so your content can deliver on a number of consumer needs. 

The content metrics that matter

1. Online traffic and visibility 


What you should track: 

The number of people who’ve been exposed to your content at varying levels. 

There are lots of types of traffic and visibility to monitor, each offering their own value:  

  • Traffic: such as unique views, views and entrants.
  • Ranking: positions in search engines for key terms around your business and its products.
  • Visibility: Domain and page authority to ensure your website and its content hold in a dominant position in search results.  

Why you should track it:

Simply measuring the number of people who viewed your content isn’t enough to gather important insights, and it’s not a reliable measurement of success. 

It’s more valuable to look deeper into the types of traffic attributed to your content, so you can build a fuller picture. 

For example, if the number of page views is high, but the time on page is low, you can assume your content isn’t relevant to the consumer. This highlights that while your positioning may be on point, the creative could be adjusted to ensure it meets demands closely. 

How you should track it: 

Website analytics monitors traffic to all areas of a site from a number of different sources. These include organic search, social media, email, referral and direct traffic.

Once added to your site, it offers a base level of behavioral data needed to understand where your website traffic is coming from and how it’s performing. 

Rankings can be monitored using SEO tools like Ahrefs, and domain authority can be estimated with Chrome plugins such as the Moz bar


2. Lead generation


What you should track:

A lead is someone who has been identified as a potential customer. Different companies will have different metrics for qualifying leads based on their own marketing processes and the product or service they’re selling. 

Lead scoring criteria includes: 

  • Behavioral attributes like the amount of content engaged with.
  • Professional attributes such as job description and seniority level.
  • Attitudes such as need levels and intention to buy. 

Why you should track it:

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, you need to understand what leads can be attributed to your content.

Being able to track which content is generating the right qualified leads and why is a vital part of your sales funnel. Once leads have been qualified, they can then be passed onto sales to build further relationships with the customer.

How you should track it:

Setting up a qualification system (which can be done via content management systems like Hubspot) enables you to track the progress of leads as they move further down the purchase funnel.

The most common way to gather leads is via online form submissions. Once gathered, you can refine your measuring system so only the most valuable leads are passed onto the sales team. 


3. Social media


What you should track:

Monitoring your content’s performance on social media, as well as the success of your pages overall feeds into your understanding of ‘what works’ and who your audience is.

But bear in mind, the metrics you decide to record are highly dependent on your social media goals overall. 

If you’re looking to increase brand awareness, then metrics such as engagement, following, sentiment and reach should be recorded.

If you’re wanting to turn visitors into customers then measure click-through-rate, referral traffic and cost-per-lead as well.  

Why you should track it:

Social media is an excellent way to amplify your content. 

You can either publish your assets ‘organically’ – which means posting on your company pages – or you can put budget behind your posts so it appears in front of your target market. And it’s only growing in importance:

Our data shows 43% of consumers research products online via social networks. 

With users now taking to social more and more to research and buy products, an understanding of the consumer journeys on social isn’t just nice to have, it’s imperative.

How to track it:

Businesses are increasingly using data gathered from social media to inform wider media placements and research. 

Thankfully, gathering this information is simple, because every major social network has its own insights tools providing useful behavioral records.

But bulking out your findings with detailed survey data provides you with the clarity of vision that cannot be gleaned from behavioral analytics alone.

Contextualizing your findings in this way adds greater value to your data, and paints a fuller picture of your audience.


4. Advertising effectiveness


What you should track:

Measuring the effectiveness of your ad content provides reliable feedback on the true reach of your campaign and its impact on the user.

It also equips you with the data to make adjustments to creative and targeting, and predict ROI with confidence. 

Why you should track it:

Advertising effectiveness technology takes analytics and traffic measurement to the next level.

It offers an end-to-end solution for those looking to understand the impact of specific campaigns on the audiences they want to influence.

How to track it:

It works by comparing those who have seen your ad against those that haven’t using bespoke surveys framed around the content marketing metrics you want to measure.

The difference in opinion between these two groups is essentially what quantifies the impact of your campaign.

Great content is driven by data 

Your content is only as good as the data that guides it.

Giving your content the best chance of success comes down to how well you are able to predict, deliver, adapt and learn. Content marketing metrics provide the guiding light at the pivotal stages.

With the vast amount of analytics and survey data available, you can gather the content metrics needed to measure your content’s impact on a much deeper level. This not only supports the delivery of more lucrative content marketing campaigns, but builds a more robust strategy for the future.

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