“If I don’t measure my marketing efforts I will be wasting my time.”
Measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) for your content marketing is critical to improving effectiveness and, ultimately, ROI and revenue. If you are simply peppering the digital channels with content, you are only doing half the job. How will you know whether that was time and money well spent if you can’t tie content marketing to ROI and revenue?
Quick answer: You won’t.
But don’t go craze and bury yourself in numbers. Base your KPIs on business goals, not traffic goals. You want to know what content is meeting your strategic intent which is to sell your product or service by building awareness and providing expertise.
Here are 7 KPIs you should be monitoring to capture content marketing ROI.
Content marketing is a means of engaging visitor attention and keeping it on your product and your service. Today’s customers are knowledgeable enough about typical marketing tactics that they will not stay for over-excited self-aggrandizement. Not even a little bit.
Your content will only hold their attention as long as it is telling them how to solve their problem. While a quick read of your website can tell you if you are talking too much about features and not enough about benefits, learning what content is getting people to stay, read, comment, and share will give insight into repeating that success.
It isn’t enough to just have engaged visitors if you are in business. You need them to convert to customers. But you must define “conversion” carefully. According to David Kirkpatrick, CEO of Technonomy, Marketing Sherpa defines a conversion as:
“The point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action.”
For each and every piece of content you must determine what action you want the reader to take upon consuming that content.
Click through to a landing page?
Download a white paper?
Request a demo?
Call your company?
Buy a product?
What is the ultimate goal of that piece of content in your marketing strategy? And where does it fit in your sales funnel?
In addition to the number of conversions, you also want to track the sales cycle. Is your content shortening the cycle for a quicker time to sale?
Traffic is only part of the equation but it includes essential metrics to base the performance of your initiatives. More specifically, you want to measure inbound and referrer traffic.
Inbound traffic is analyzed to determine where your visitors are coming from, where they land, and how long they are staying on the page and site. You want to know if they are bouncing away too soon, meaning your content did not fulfill the promise of the initial invitation.
Referrer traffic tells you when thought leaders are partaking of your content. These are the viewers who will link to your information for the edification of their own followers, spreading an endorsement of your business. It is an important form of Word of Mouth.
Utilization, consumption, and views are all clues to landing page and webpage performance, denoting which are the most visited and offer the best chance of conversion.
Geographical analytics lets you know where on the planet more of your visitors come from to guide you to the best places to invest additional marketing dollars.
Social KPIs are still evolving but are certainly more sophisticated than “number of likes.” You want to measure, within context of your typical numbers and strategy:
Number of shares needed to equal a visit.
Amount of time spent on content.
Number of “likes” compared to traffic count. (If “likes” are higher than traffic it implies content is not being read.)
Network used to share
ROI of each platform for comparison
These 7 KPIs are a great start. They offer information on most parts of the content marketing paradigm. Each KPI provides guidance on improving content and layout of websites, landing pages, and other user design. And each dives a little deeper than a mere number; they also tell you how the prospects are behaving.
Begin your KPI regimen with one or two and build up to reports containing all 7 of these KPIs as well as others that deepen your understanding of your target audience’s needs. Use the insight to improve your content marketing ROI.