Businesses spend hours each month attempting to create actionable content.
But few support that effort with standardized measurement. The result?
Abandoned content marketing under the pretense that it’s not working.
Effective content measurement starts with defining proper key performance indicators (KPIs).
In the early days of digital marketing, looking at “hits” and “downloads” gave enough information to gauge success.
But as the online world has evolved, so have the markers of valuable content.
But regardless of your industry, challenges or objectives, every company can benefit from a few key content measurement points.
Traffic. Everyone loves it and wants more of it.
But gaining irrelevant, misaligned traffic will not yield any direct benefits. After all, traffic is just numbers.
Those numbers, however, create a baseline of unique people visiting your page on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. And a baseline helps in several ways.
You can use it to:
Better understand other KPIs.
Build goals for the future.
Show social proof to leads or advertisers.
So, track traffic. But don’t incessantly obsess over it. You have better things to measure.
People use mobile phones more than desktops or laptops throughout the day. However, not all audiences are drawn to mobile devices – especially B2B audiences.
We get less than 15% people visiting the Flight Media Blog on mobile and a little of 1% on tablets.
You should understand trends in the chosen platform of your audience.
It gives insight into future content and design optimization direction. (And properly optimized content will keep users happy, engaged and sharing!)
People often overlook this basic content marketing KPI. Remember how Unique Visits provided us with a baseline? This is one place that it really comes in handy.
You want to see a strong correlation of Page Views to Unique Visits:
Do people read three pages before leaving?
Does 80% of your audience drop off before the fifth page?
Which pages are generating the most interest?
Use Page Views to answer these questions and others like them.
Google Analytics is a great tool for finding this kind of information.
It can even help you find the pages that get the most drop-offs, so you can try to find out why.
If you have a fashion blog and find out that people are mostly dropping off after reading a post on guys’ fashion, but typically read longer when the post is on women's fashion, then you may want to consider evaluating what your blog content focus is. (Women's fashion *cough*.)
Measuring Bounce Rate shows how many people came, hit the page and didn’t dig any deeper into your site.
Yoast defines it like this:
Bounce rate is a metric that measures the percentage of people who land on your website, and do completely nothing on the page they entered. So they don’t click on a menu item, a ‘read more’ link, or any other internal links on the page. This means that the Google Analytics server doesn’t receive a trigger from the visitor. A user bounces when there has been no engagement with the landing page and the visit ends with a single-page visit. You can use bounce rate as a metric that indicates the quality of a webpage and/or the “quality” of your audience. By quality of your audience I mean whether the audience fits the purpose of your site.
Determining the cause of a high rate requires a bit of testing. But you can often get to the bottom of it by getting into the mindset of the reader.
Ask questions like:
Is the content misaligned with the headline? (A.K.A. Link bait.)
Is there a clear step to take next?
Can readers easily digest the content?
Are you attracting the right audience?
Websites could see high Bounce Rates from a number of causes. But you can lower the rate and increase engagement with a bit of work.
Content engagement drives overall success. Without engagement, you could have thousands of visitors, but no real results.
Along with Page Views and Bounce Rate, the Time Spent on Page metric reveals important insight into the reader’s behavior on your site.
Do people spend:
4 seconds on the site before bouncing away? Make pages load faster.
10 seconds on the site and then bounce away? Design a better website.
A couple of minutes before leaving? Good job!
If your Average Time on Page is 2-3 minutes or more, you’re doing something right. In the internet world, that’s a lifetime.
Track these engagement metrics and you’ll quickly realize where and how you need to improve your efforts.
Social metrics add value in a couple of ways:
Social Shares mean you’ve created shareworthy content
Shares will increase your traffic.
Provide social proof of your awesomeness.
Your content receives a higher perceived value when you have a high number of shares and comments. Why?
Because people want to engage where other people engage. Aside from the increased value, when you measure social metrics through Google Analytics, you see the value of each social network’s traffic.
Do Facebook users visit several pages?
Does Instagram bring traffic that quickly leaves?
Do you get most of your social traffic from Pinterest?
Proper measurement answers all these questions and can show you what traffic sources generate the highest quality visitors.
Content marketing should increase your reach, engagement and bottom line.
To understand how that happens (or doesn’t happen), you must setup a system of measurement.
As you look at your current KPI setup, do you have everything in place?
How are you using content KPIs to lead your content development, design and optimization?
Leave your insights in the comments!