Does your content marketing strategy need analytics goals?
When content marketing was first introduced, many marketers had the same gripes:
‘It’s just too difficult to quantify!’ ‘There’s no defined way to measure ROI and track your goals!’’
This is no longer the case. Today, there are clear metrics that can inform exactly the traffic your content gets, how it’s performing and what it’s doing for your brand.
Many still have questions, however, about which metrics are worth tracking and how to use web analytics to define and adjust your content marketing and social media strategies.
— Google Analytics (@googleanalytics) March 7, 2018
What are content marketing metrics?
When we say there are now definite metrics content marketers can use to track their goals, we aren’t kidding. There are countless metrics out there across various analytics systems, and each can help marketers collect vital data about various aspects of their content marketing strategy.
The majority of content metrics can be grouped into the following categories:
CONSUMPTION – The most basic content marketing metrics, consumption metrics show how much traffic your content gets and where users access it.
- Examples: Pageviews, time on site, CTR, open rate
RETENTION – Beyond web traffic, these metrics let you know how good of a job you’re doing keeping your audience glued to your content
- Examples: Bounce rate, pages per visit, followers and unsubscribes
ENGAGEMENT – Slightly different than retention metrics, engagement metrics show how involved your audience is getting with the content.
- Examples: Session duration, comments, page depth
SHARING – These metrics can help marketers understand which pieces of content are being shared, by whom, how often and on which platforms.
- Examples: Retweets, likes, forwards, shares
LEADS – If you’re creating content to generate or nurture leads, you need to track lead metrics.
- Examples: Newsletter signups, downloads, contact form completion
SALES – These metrics show how much your content directly influences bottom-of-the-funnel users. They help marketers identify what content drives conversion and what doesn’t.
- Examples: page value, assisted conversions
The question then is which metrics matter most to you?
Do you care about generating leads? Or would you prefer to drum up traffic? Are you trying to make content for social media? Or are you more concerned with conversion?
Once you identify your goals, you can identify the metrics that will help your brand succeed.
Should I use the Google Analytics Goals function?
The best way to track your goals is using the Google Analytics Goals function, which measures how well your website is fulfilling target functions.
What do you want visitors to do when they come to your site? Set this completed activity, called a conversion, as a goal.
Here’s a bit more about how Goals works:
Establishing your own content marketing objectives
As content marketers, it’s essential to ask ‘Why am I creating this piece of content?’ every time you take on something new. What conversions do you hope to see?
This all comes down to the importance of having a content marketing strategy with clearly defined goals. After all, you can’t measure your content’s performance if success is undefined.
Work with your content strategist to come up with the most pertinent goals for your content. The most common goals for Australian content marketers are:
- Engagement (72 per cent),
- Lead generation (70 per cent),
- Customer retention/loyalty (64 per cent),
- Brand awareness (62 per cent),
- Sales (57 per cent).
— Content Marketing (@CMIContent) October 31, 2017
Matching your goals with key metrics
Once you know what you want to do, it’s essential to find the metrics and tools that will help you get there.
Here are the metrics most commonly used by Australian content marketers:
- Website traffic (71 per cent),
- Social media sharing (63 per cent)
- SEO ranking (57 per cent)
- Sales (52 per cent),
- Time spent on website (51 per cent),
- Higher conversion rates (50 per cent),
- Sales lead quality (45 per cent),
- Subscriber/community growth (41 per cent),
- Sales lead quantity (39 per cent).
Unsure which are most appropriate for you? While every content marketing strategy is different, there are some general rules for matching key metrics with content goals.
If your focus is brand awareness
Brand awareness is all about getting out there, which is why you should track metrics like:
- Social shares,
- Page views.
These basic consumption metrics – largely based around web traffic – may seem surface level, but they can give marketers a good idea of how many people their content is reaching.
— Shared Count (@sharedcount) April 22, 2017
If your focus is engagement
After you get the traffic, you want engagement. If you’re looking to foster an audience that interacts with your content meaningfully, measure:
- Social shares,
Don’t let the numbers stand alone either – at this phase, it’s about pushing a bit further.
With social shares, for example, don’t stop at how many people are sharing. Look at who as well, and on which platforms. This will give you a much more comprehensive picture of your audience.
When it comes to comments, look past spammers and identify those who are truly interested in your content. This can help you craft a more accurate buyer persona or even identify individuals for influencer marketing campaigns.
If your focus is lead generation
If generating high-quality leads is a top priority, again, you’ll need to look at a different set of metrics, including:
- Time to conversion,
Every piece of content should include a call-to-action (CTA). You can determine CTR by calculating the percentage of total page traffic that clicked on your CTA.
Similarly, conversion rate is the rate at which users perform the intended action, whether that be enter their contact details, download an asset or make a purchase. Time to conversion will show you how long it takes to turn your audience into a lead.
If your focus is sales establishment
The whole purpose of generating leads is, of course, to establish sales. To measure how well your leads are converting into sales, analyse:
- Sales cycle length,
- Sales conversion rate,
- Contract size.
The percentage of leads you convert can show you how well your content is addressing target users’ hesitations. If leads are dropping off the cycle, it’s up to you to find out why and what you can do – or produce – to turn this around.
You can also gain valuable data by comparing the contract size of conversions you nurtured with content versus those you didn’t. Were your efforts effective or did they make little difference?
— Marketo (@marketo) March 5, 2018
There is no shortage of content marketing goals or metrics and analytics tools to analyse data on.
If you have an ultra specific goal you can even set up custom metrics in Google Analytics to find precisely the data you’re looking for.
The answer, therefore, lies in working with content strategists to find out what’s most suitable for your brand. This often comes down to trial and error, coupled with constant data analysis.