Content marketing is a crucial growth driver for many SaaS businesses, yet it’s also one of the hardest digital marketing tactics to measure. Unlike ads that either convert or don’t, content marketing fuels various stages of your marketing funnel. It raises awareness, creates engagement, drives traffic, and generates sales.
To measure the success of your content marketing strategy, you need to track its performance across all of these activities. And to do that, you need to have the right content marketing KPIs in place.
What are Content Marketing KPIs?
Content marketing KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are metrics you track at a fixed frequency (weekly, monthly, quarterly, …) to measure how well your content marketing efforts are paying off.
Note that content marketing is different from content writing. While content writing solely entails the writing of posts and pages, content marketing is the creation, publication, and promotion of any type of content (video, social media posts, blog articles, …) for the purpose of attracting new qualified leads.
How to Choose Relevant Content Marketing Campaign KPIs
There are dozens of content marketing KPIs you can track but the content metrics that matter most are the ones that are in line with your digital marketing goals. Below, you can find the different types of content marketing KPIs to track for the various stages of your funnel: brand awareness, engagement, or conversions.
Note that these KPIs work to track your content marketing performance regardless of whether you’re doing content marketing for HR tech, for e-learning SaaS, or for a whole other industry.
Content Marketing KPI Types
Content Marketing KPIs for Brand Awareness
Content metrics that measure brand awareness allow you to analyze whether your content marketing is helping you reach new people within your target audience. These metrics often measure volume and so for each of them, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to reach just more people, they also need to be the right kind of people.
Organic traffic and organic social media traffic
If your overall number of pageviews goes up, it’s safe to say you’re reaching more people. However, those people don’t necessarily come from your content marketing efforts and so it’s important to filter for non-paid-for traffic from your social media channels, as well as organic traffic coming from the search engines.
In both cases, you can analyze which types of content are driving most of that traffic so you can create more of that.
You also want to know how you’re getting that organic traffic. Are all of your articles ranking on the first page of Google for their main keyword? Or do you have a handful of articles bringing in the majority of your traffic?
- Track your top-ranking keywords so you can quickly spot shifts and make improvements when needed.
- Track what positions you’re ranking in so you can optimize articles that didn’t make it to page 1, or that have dropped off.
- Track your overall number of ranking keywords to have a general idea of your content SEO success.
Social media numbers
Other key performance indicators that are good to track when you want to measure brand awareness, are your social media numbers. The more people follow you across your social media accounts, the more people know you and are interested in what you have to offer.
Other brand and website owners can’t link to you unless they know about you, so inbound links are a good way to track the awareness others in your industry have of your brand. The larger the number of referring domains these links come from, the better, as it means more brands know about you and see you as enough of an authority to refer to you.
A note on publication frequency
How often you publish content – whether that’s SEO content or social media content – is not an indicator of how successful your content marketing strategy is. However, it’s important to note that the more you publish, the more likely it is that people will find you.
This is especially true for SEO content: the more optimized content you have, the more optimized content you can rank with, and the more leads that content can bring in.
Content Marketing KPIs for Engagement
Once people have become aware of your brand, you want them to engage with you so you can stay top of mind and become a trusted source to them. Here are some content metrics that help you evaluate your audience’s engagement.
While it’s not the same as taking an action, the time someone spends reading your content can be a good indicator of how engaged they are with it. If someone lands on a 3,000-word blog post and leaves again after 30 seconds, they probably didn’t find it very interesting.
Compare time-on-page across your content to figure out which types of content are best at keeping user attention.
Social shares and engagement
A bit more engaged than those just reading your content, are those who interact with it. That may mean sharing your blog posts from your website to their social media channels, or sharing and commenting on your content directly on social media. Good numbers to track in this case are:
- The number of social shares from your website.
- The number of comments on your blog posts.
- The number of shares, likes, and comments on your social media posts.
You may learn that visual content marketing tends to get more social shares, while thought leadership pieces get more comments.
Another way users engage with the content on your site is by clicking through to other posts and pages. By doing so, they indicate a clear interest in what you have to say. Tracking these clicks gives you an idea of the types of links and links placements that work best. Using a heat map tool such as Crazy Egg or HotJar is a great way to get a visual representation of this.
Once someone starts engaging with your brand, they become a lead. You’re likely getting these leads from a variety of content campaigns (Facebook, Linkedin, blog content, …) and not all of these campaigns will be performing equally well.
Calculate your cost-per-lead with the following formula:
(total campaign cost) / (total number of leads)
This way, you can analyze which campaigns and channels work best for you and which you may want to invest less in, or stop altogether.
Content Marketing KPIs for Conversions
CTA click-through rates
Not everyone who adds a plan to their cart will finalize that purchase, just like not everyone who gives you their email address will also confirm their subscription. That’s why it’s important to not only track conversions but also click-through rates of calls-to-action within your content.
Examples of in-content CTAs are invitations to:
- Sign up for your email list.
- Visit a product page.
- Visit a feature page.
- Download something.
- Schedule a demo.
- Fill out a contact form.
You also want to know how many of these clicks lead to conversions, so track how many conversions your content gets you overall, and how well your individual content pieces perform in terms of generating signups, downloads, filled-out contact forms, and sales.
A user may find you through one of your ranking blog posts, then leave your website and two days later see one of your posts on Facebook and click it to get back to your site. If that person then ends up converting, that conversion would be contributed to the Facebook posts while in reality, you’ve already established rapport with them through that ranking article.
Multi-touch content attribution allows you to track how someone goes from interacting with your brand for the first time to becoming a paying customer. Tracking this is important for knowing which types of content play the largest role in generating conversions, and which types of content work best to (finally) make someone buy.
When you know which conversions are driven by your content (versus, for example, by ads), you can calculate the total revenue generated through your content marketing efforts. This allows you to see whether you’re on track to reach your goals, and how well your content marketing is performing in comparison to other marketing and sales tactics.
Your revenue only tells part of the story, though. To have a successful content marketing machine, you want to be earning (much) more from your efforts than you’re spending on them. To calculate whether your content marketing ROI is positive, use the following formula:
(content marketing revenue – content marketing cost) / content marketing cost
Calculate the ROI of your content marketing efforts in general, but also per channel. You may find that whilst you’re getting lots of sales from people coming through Facebook, you’re actually spending more money on them than they’re generating.
How to Measure and Track KPIs for Content Marketing
Using Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most important tools to have in your stack when it comes to tracking content performance. There is a wide range of things you can track through it automatically, but other metrics you can only get after you’ve set up some things.
Diving into all of this would take us too far from the topic of this post, so here’s a limited list of the many things you can do to track your content marketing’s performance with Google Analytics:
- Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels to get an overview of your organic traffic as well as your social traffic.
- Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and set the “Secondary dimension” to Acquisition > Medium to know whether the traffic for an individual page is organic, coming from social media, or coming from elsewhere.
- Go to the Admin section and under the Views column, set up goals for actions you want your website users to take. You’ll be able to monitor your goals within various Google Analytics reports.
- Assign a monetary value to goals to measure the relative value of goals completed on individual pages.
- Set up events in Google Tag Manager to track user interactions, such as someone clicking a button, making a download, or filling a form, within Google Analytics. Monitor these by going to Behavior > Events > Overview.
- Use custom dimensions or content grouping to group together the same types of content on your site so you can easily see which types get the most organic and/or social traffic, have the highest time-on-page, generate the most internal clicks, and lead to the most conversions.
Using SEO Tools
When it comes to tracking the performance of your SEO content, Google Analytics is limited to measuring your organic traffic. To track things such as your inbound links, referring domains, and keyword rankings, you’ll need an SEO tool such as Ahrefs or SEMrush.
While you can research these metrics each time you create a report, it’s better to continuously track your domain in one of these tools so that you gather historical data and get a better overview of your progress.
Because of its potential to influence all the stages of your marketing funnel, content marketing deserves to play an important role in your digital marketing strategy. However, knowing its potential is not enough and so you want to track the content marketing KPIs mentioned in this post to measure its performance and adjust where needed.
If you notice that you’re not getting as much organic traffic as you’d like, or that your content isn’t ranking for the keywords you’d want it to rank for, get in touch. At Flow SEO we specialize in the SEO component of content marketing and can help you create articles that generate leads, clicks, and sales.