16 Content Marketing Metrics & Analytics to Track

16 Content Marketing Metrics & Analytics to Track

Content marketing analytics can be a formidable tool in your brand-building kit. To optimize your content marketing, you’ll want to understand how to capture, track, and leverage key performance indicators (KPIs)—both quantitative and qualitative—that can make or break the success of your brand.

Where traditional marketing inserts itself in sometimes unwanted ways into people’s lives—for example, ads that interrupt YouTube videos—content marketing provides value to the audience while also advertising a good or service. By providing valuable content, you can build brand loyalty while getting customers to return to your business and even share your content with potential new customers.

But content—even good content—is wasted if it doesn’t help you achieve clearly defined business goals developed according to content marketing strategies designed for long-term success. This is where content marketing metrics come in, showing what works, what doesn’t, and how you can improve your results.

We cover some content marketing metrics for tracking success.

  1. Traffic type
  2. Impressions
  3. Sessions
  4. Unique visitors
  5. Time on page
  6. Time on site
  7. Pages per session
  8. Bounce rate
  9. Scroll depth
  10. Social shares
  11. Conversion
  12. Return on investment (ROI)
  13. How did the content impact the user’s perception of the brand?
  14. Did the quality of the content match the user’s expectations?
  15. Did the user come away knowing more about the product or service?
  16. How much more likely is the user to convert after seeing this piece of content?

1. Traffic type

Traffic Type

Website analytics programs track where your website traffic is coming from so you can see if your visitors found you through organic search—using a search engine query—or from a referral source, such as another website, paid digital advertising, an affiliate marketing link, or through social media.

Data collected by search traffic type helps you determine how your marketing outreach channels are performing. These include:

  • Organic
  • Paid
  • Direct
  • Social
  • Affiliate
  • Referral

The metrics help you determine which channels are delivering the most traffic, so you can focus time and money on the ones with the most potential. For example, if you’re getting more hits from your optimized blog posts and your Google Ads are performing poorly, then you may want to reduce your ad spend in favor of engaging more freelance SEO writers.

You can use a tool like Google Analytics to break down traffic by the geographical location of your visitors, the type of device they used to access your site, the specific pages they viewed, and more. For example, if you’re targeting U.S. businesses but are receiving a lot of traffic from Japan, then you might decide to redirect part of your marketing campaign and lead generation efforts to the Japanese market.

2. Impressions

Impressions

Each time your ad or content reaches the screen of a user, it’s called an impression. A KPI for impressions is the number of times your ad or content appears on someone’s computer or app screen.

Don’t confuse impressions with clicks, though. In the world of paid digital advertising, the price per impression (PPI) costs less than the price per click (PPC). Clicks require an affirmative act on the part of a user, while impressions don’t.

The click-through rate (CTR) is an important measurement for organic traffic and paid advertising campaigns that tells you the rate of clicks on a link or button. In the context of Google Search Console, it refers to how often people click through to your website from the search engine results page (SERP), providing insights into the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.

Impressions are useful for raising brand awareness. However, a large number of impressions that result in a low number of clicks could indicate that your ad or digital marketing content needs tweaking.

3. Sessions

New Session

Each time a user visits a website, they initiate a session. Usually, a session will time out after a certain amount of inactivity on the part of a user. This is helpful because a user might engage in several sessions, and for this particular KPI, you want to see the overall performance of your site.

By tracking sessions, you can determine whether your traffic is increasing or decreasing as a whole, an important threshold metric to observe current trends and plan your next steps.

Tracking sessions is one important way to measure consumer engagement with your site’s content. How long visitors spend on your site and how many pages they see are key metrics. The longer they spend on your website interacting with content, the better your level of engagement is.

You can get information about sessions and visitors under Audience Overview in Google Analytics. You can see the total number of sessions and visitors, the average number of pages visited per session, the average time each session lasted, and the bounce rate.

4. Unique visitors

Unique visitors

Unique visitors (or “users” as used by Google Analytics) are defined by how many individuals view your website in a given period. Breaking down sessions into unique visitors can be a helpful content analytic method to determine how aware people are of your website, as well as your audience reach and growth.

Determining whether you’re positioned to meet certain conversion goals is also important. For example, suppose you know that 1 in 100 visitors purchases your subscription-based product, and you have a goal set by your sales team of selling 100 subscriptions per day. In that case, you’ll need to raise content performance to a level that attracts a minimum of 10,000 new visitors a day to your site.

Unique visitors help you estimate your overall number of visitors and how many are repeat traffic (returning visitors). Modern web analytics tools like Google Analytics primarily use cookies to track unique visitors.

When a user visits your site, a cookie is placed on their browser, which allows the analytics tool to recognize them as the same user if they return later. However, this approach isn’t perfect. For example, if a user visits your site from multiple devices or browsers, or if they clear their cookies, they may be counted as a new user each time. Similarly, multiple users sharing a device or browser may be counted as a single user.

5. Time on page

Time on page

Time on page shows the average stay of your visitors on a particular site page or URL. This information is useful in determining both the quality of a particular page and whether the content you’re providing meets the needs of your users.

For example, if people are lingering on your page but not converting, this could indicate that while your content is useful, you need a stronger or more frequent call to action (CTA) to raise that conversion rate.

Generally, the more time a visitor spends on a page engaging with a piece of content, such as a guest blog post or infographic, the better. However, in some cases, spending too much time on a page can hurt your content marketing efforts. If the goal of the page is to quickly lead users to a conversion, a long time on page could suggest that users are having difficulty making a decision, or there might be other barriers to conversion.

6. Time on site

Time on site

The average time on site (or average session duration) metric measures the average amount of time that users spend on your website during a session. It’s calculated by adding up the duration of all sessions (from the time a user enters your site to the time they leave or become inactive) and dividing by the total number of sessions.

For instance, if your goal is to get your user to place items in a shopping cart and complete a purchase, then your time-on-site KPI will be the time it takes to complete the sale or for the user to “bounce.” With this information, you might conclude that a user who converts spends an average of five minutes on your site, while a bounce happens in a matter of seconds. You can then create content that raises this engagement metric, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

However, when measured by Google Analytics, time on site or time on page doesn’t usually include bounces (single-page sessions) because it doesn’t know how long a user spent on the site during a bounce since there was no second interaction to measure against.

7. Pages per session‍

Pages per session

When tracking pages per session, your analytics program will divide the total number of page views by the total number of sessions. The more page views your site receives, the more your users are engaging with your content. It’s an important metric because the more a customer interacts with your content, the more valuable your website becomes.

By using Audience Overview in Google Analytics, you can see the average number of pages people visit per session, the average session duration, and the bounce rate. This can help measure how well your web presence captures the interest of users, leading them to explore pages beyond the one they landed on.

Generally, if this number is high and combined with page views of long a duration, then you have a better chance of converting highly engaged visitors with successful content.

8. Bounce rate

Bounce rate

‍The bounce rate measures the percentage of sessions in which a visitor lands on a website page and then leaves the site—or bounces—without engaging in the interaction you were hoping for.

Low bounce rates indicate more robust interactions with your site—either a higher number of page views or a longer time on the site overall. Users are engaging more deeply with your site, either by viewing multiple pages or interacting with the landing page (by clicking on a link or button or filling out a form).

A high percentage of visitors bouncing could indicate the content of the page isn’t meeting customer or visitor expectations. It might also indicate technical issues with your site (such as slow load times), a poor user experience, or misalignment between your advertising messages and the landing page content.

A high bounce rate indicates you need to sharpen your content or improve your user experience or page layout. Other ways to reduce bounce rates include:

  • Optimizing page load time
  • Decluttering the page of unneeded promotions and widgets
  • Using only one clearly written CTA
  • Making sure the site is optimized for mobile
  • Making sure the site is easily navigable

The “ideal” bounce rate can depend on the nature and goals of your site. For example, a blog post might naturally have a higher bounce rate than a product page or a landing page because users come to read one article and then leave. Consider bounce rate in the context of your specific website goals and alongside other metrics.

9. Scroll depth

Scroll depth

Scroll depth is a content marketing KPI measurement of how far down a particular page your visitors scroll. The higher the percentage of the page a visitor has seen, the higher the scroll depth percentage.

For example, if your average scroll depth is 25%, then your visitors only engage with a fourth of your page before navigating away. If your scroll rate is low, then you may want to move your most important information—including your CTA—to the top of the page.

Your pages might also be too long or your information is too dense or cumbersome, necessitating a reworking of the content. Scroll depth lets you know where to best place your marketing efforts on a page.

How you measure the effectiveness of scroll depth depends on the type of content you have. For example, a low scroll depth on a long blog post could suggest low engagement with the content, while a low scroll depth on a homepage with a prominent CTA at the top might not be a concern if users are responding to that CTA.

10. Social shares

Social shares

Social sharing occurs when social media users and influencers broadcast content to the members of their networks. The KPI for social shares is usually the number of times your content is shared on social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Google Analytics can track social shares when users click on social sharing buttons on your site. However, this requires additional setup, such as event tracking, and it won’t capture shares that happen directly on social media platforms. For a more comprehensive view of social sharing, you may need to also use social media analytics tools or the analytics provided by each social platform.

11. Conversion

Conversion

If people are visiting your website and consuming your content, but aren’t converting to paying customers, it could indicate that your content marketing strategy has missed the mark and your sales funnel isn’t leading anywhere.

A conversion occurs when a visitor engages in an action that you desire, such as signing up for your newsletter, joining your email marketing list, creating a site account or profile, signing up for a product trial period, or paying for a subscription.

Programs like Google Analytics allow you to set up as many as 20 conversion rate goals at one time. This enables you to gather data regarding different types of performance and apply cost information to show a return on investment (ROI). It also reveals how much revenue different pages generate, helping you decide which of your marketing efforts is bearing the most fruit.

Once you have a conversion strategy and metrics in place, you’ll also need to implement a retention strategy. It’s often more cost-effective to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones, and loyal customers can provide ongoing value over time.

12. Return on investment (ROI)

Return on investment

Return on investment (ROI) is a financial metric widely used to measure the probability of gaining a return from an investment. It’s a ratio that compares the gain or loss from an investment relative to its cost.

In terms of digital marketing, ROI helps businesses understand the effectiveness of their marketing efforts by measuring the amount of return on a particular marketing investment compared to the investment’s cost.

The ROI of your site’s content marketing endeavors will be unique to your site and marketing goals. An e-commerce site might measure the number of sales generated throughout a marketing campaign compared to the previous year’s sales, or it could measure the number of qualified leads generated.

A blog might measure the number of new subscribers to an email list or the increase in daily hits the site receives. This measurement takes into account the cost of running the campaign compared to the results realized.

Top content marketing metric questions to ask

Check out the following suggestions for the top content marketing questions to ask when looking to track your success.

13. How did the content impact the user’s perception of the brand?

User perception

Brand perception or brand awareness is a measure of how a particular audience feels about your company. Well-crafted, high-quality content has the power to shift negative brand perception, enhance a target customer’s affinity for your brand, and turn a passive customer into an active brand advocate. Surveys—easily crafted and distributed digitally through tools like SurveyMonkey—are a great way to solicit user input.

Surveys can be designed with questions that produce a net promoter score (NPS), a user experience metric that places customers into one of three categories: promoters, passives, and detractors. The higher your score, the higher the overall brand perception.

Other measurements of brand perception or awareness can include:

  • Social shares
  • Number of people visiting your site
  • Traffic coming to the site from branded organic search terms
  • Page views and unique page views
  • Product or service mentions online and offline

14. Did the quality of the content match the user’s expectations?

Quality of the content

Another important qualitative KPI is the very personal question of whether (and to what extent) you are meeting, exceeding, or falling short of user expectations. Meeting or exceeding user expectations can contribute to user satisfaction, brand loyalty, and overall positive user experience.

The most efficient and easiest way to answer this question is to ask the user to self-report. These could take the form of pop-up questionnaires on your website, email surveys, or other methods.

A simple “yes or no” question can provide a high-level view of whether you’re meeting expectations, but allowing users to provide more detailed feedback can yield more nuanced insights. This could involve providing an open-ended question or a link to a more detailed survey.

While this is typically a qualitative metric, you can quantify it in various ways to provide a more structured analysis (e.g., by scoring responses or categorizing open-ended responses).

15. Did the user come away knowing more about the product or service?

Knowing the brand

The primary purpose of content marketing is to educate your target audience about your products and services. By delivering valuable and relevant information, you can help your audience understand the benefits and features of your offerings, solve their problems, and make informed purchase decisions.

If your content creation team is hitting the mark, you should see an uptick in metrics associated with site use and lower bounce rates. However, the best way to determine whether your content marketing program is raising brand awareness is to ask the user directly.

A pop-up survey could help you understand who your visitors are and what prompted them to come to your site in the first place. You can also find out how they feel about a piece of content or offer, how they would measure their customer satisfaction, and much more.

This metric is important because it directly ties into the main objective of content marketing: to inform and educate the target audience, build brand credibility and trust, and ultimately drive conversions. If users come away from your content knowing more about your product or service, they’re more likely to consider your brand when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Educated customers also often become loyal customers and advocates for your brand, further enhancing your brand’s reputation and reach.

16. How much more likely is the user to convert after seeing this piece of content?

User conversion

The likelihood of a user converting after engaging with a piece of content is an essential metric in content marketing. If a piece of content significantly increases the probability of a user converting (like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter), that content can be considered effective.

One way to determine the likelihood of conversion is to survey customers and potential customers about the effectiveness of a particular piece of content before launching your marketing campaign. It’s useful to create an incentive—such as offering a gift card or other reward—to entice users to participate. Online surveys and in-person focus groups work well when exploring this qualitative KPI.

Providing incentives to encourage participation in surveys or focus groups can be effective. However, carefully consider the cost of these incentives and ensure they’re appealing to your audience.

By identifying which pieces of content are most effective at driving conversions, you can focus your efforts on creating and promoting similar content and maximizing the return on your content marketing investment.

Make your content truly king

Peter Drucker, considered the father of modern business management, famously stated, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” When it comes to content marketing, the best way to manage campaigns is to determine what your KPIs are going to be before investing resources.

If your analytics are in place, you can gauge efficacy during your rollout and throughout your campaign, pivoting into new strategies whenever necessary.

If you’re ready to get started applying content marketing analytics to your efforts, Upwork offers a global talent pool of web analytics experts who can help. You also have access to content marketers and content marketing agencies to ensure you have the right talent in place to deliver measurable results in your next marketing campaign.

Project Catalog also offers ready-to-go content marketing projects, covering everything from SEO blog posts to video creation and even product descriptions. Or if you’re a marketing professional, use Upwork to find and bid on various jobs in your field.

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16 Content Marketing Metrics & Analytics to Track
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