THE WAY, THE TRUTH & THE METRICS
It is safe to assume that these marketers or managers of online content invest so much of their time, money and effort into content marketing because they g ain a positive ROI from it.
But, how? How do they know what their potential buyers like? How do they keep their audience engaged?
The answer to all of these questions lies in analyzing the right metrics.
Just as skipping an ingredient in a delicious lasagna can do disasters, not analyzing the right stats can cost you leads. Any marketer who claims huge benefits with content marketing has analyzed the right metrics, tracked their ROI and taken corrective steps.
However, you will be surprised that there are very few who claim that sort of effectiveness in tracking ROI.
Only 2% according to a report by BrighTtalk
Evidently, not everyone who is responsible for content marketing is able to achieve their goals.
One of the major reasons being – most of them end up analysing the vanity metrics (in vain!).
Gone are the days when analyzing page views, visits, bounce rates were enough to determine how well content marketing is working.
I am not saying that is not important, it definitely is.
But, you also need to remember that
A potential buyer won’t land on your blog post one day and decide to buy your product right away. They need to be nurtured for days or months (sometimes years!) before they can jump the cycle and become sales qualified leads.
But, marketers are left scratching their heads as they are constantly pressured to justify their decisions and show impressive numbers.
What happens? They fall back on vain metrics or give up content marketing to generate leads.
Don’t let that happen to you!
Obviously, creating content and promoting content without relevant data will not fetch a single qualified lead (forget, actual buyers).
Vanity metrics can be a good indicator of traction but not success. These numbers are often meaningless without other information.
Things have become damn complicated with Big Data. You have so many different metrics to look at before you publish any content.
According to What Works in Online Marketing survey , 40% of the marketers were not sure about their ROI from on site content marketing efforts and 43% weren’t sure of the ROI from the offsite content marketing efforts.
Most marketers are clearly lacking direction on what should they be tracking.
If you can relate to this, consider balancing out your report by using relevant data and hope that your organization will begin to notice the value in it.
We know it can be overwhelming at first. But, there are several software to help gather data.
However, it is difficult to get all relevant metrics from the same software.
We decided to bridge this gap by creating . While this post is going to teach about different metrics, we will also tell you how can help you achieve your goals without having sleepless nights analyzing data from different sources.
By the way, did you know that measuring content marketing effectiveness is actually the second most challenging task? 42% of marketers do not know how to do that!
So, you aren’t alone but you are lucky! You know it is a problem and you can implement appropriate solutions.
To begin with, there are 3 principles you must never forget;
1. To begin with, align and set goals
Anyone who has dealt with different departments at their organization knows that sales, marketing and PR teams have different goals for content marketing. While sales may want to achieve lead generation, marketing targets brand awareness and PR aims to build relationships. The relevant metrics changes with the goals.
What do you do? Get them together in the room!
Discuss the goals they have and start prioritizing it.
Have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish with every campaign. It not only helps you streamline efforts and reduce wastage of resources, it also helps you determine the specific metrics that are required to be analyzed.
Use the famous SMART formula to set your goals right! In short, be smart about SMART goals.
2. Decide on the strategy
Once you have set goals, it becomes a lot easier to decide the strategies to be used for content marketing. Also, analyzing the right metrics will give you actionable insights which will help you capture a positive ROI by adopting corrective measures as you go forward.
3. Plan analytics schedule
Not only is it important to know the relevant metrics, you also need to analyse it regularly . You may require doing some AB testing to ensure you are deploying the most effective methods. There is a reason why 61% marketers meet their content team EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Analysing actionable metrics will help you understand the how well your content is performing and allows your team to make smarter, more informed conclusions moving forward.
But, what actionable metrics are we referring to?
The matrix of metrics
1. Consumption Metrics :
As the name suggests, it helps you find out who has consumed your content. The questions answered by this metrics are
How many people saw/read your content?
How frequently do they visit to read the content?
- How long do they stay on the page?
This is the fundamental metrics analyzed by every marketer. The horrible part about this scenario is that it is also the stop-point for most.
While It is easy to obtain these metrics by using Google Analytics, the moral of the story is to not stop your analysis here.
Blogs and websites:
● Page views: It not only shows how many visitors land on your website and which content are they reading, it also shows real time visitors on your website. With help of this information, you can make decisions on the topics you need to create more content on.
has a “Hourly Overview ” feature which allows you to graphically analyze and compare multiple metrics. Not only that, it also helps you view the range of sources of your traffic
Unique visitor : It shows how much of your website traffic is repeat visitors
Average time spent on the page provides you an overview of the time spent by visitors on your website. You will have a sense of whether they are reading it thoroughly or just skimming through it.
Social Media: A few software/tools or apps themselves (for example, twitter, Instagram stats and facebook analytics) provide information regarding reach, impression and clicks. It helps to understand the consumption behavior of the visitors.
Emails: It is difficult to measure content effectiveness in emails because you cannot embed analytics. However, you can easily analyze the open rates and click throughs to gauge the engagement.
2. Retention Metrics :
As the name suggests, it allows you to analyse how long do you retain your audience on your site.
It answers the following for you:
How many people visit your website again?
What percentage of your audience are subscribing to receive content updates from you?
Sites and blogs
● Percentage of new and repeat visitors : While the focus should be on increasing returning visitors to establish loyalty, you cannot overlook the percentage of new visitors. You need to balance the ratio to achieve your goals. While most tools categorize users into two (new and returning), we developed to recognize 3 types of users instead. It differentiates them into new, returning and loyal on the basis of frequency and time of visits making it easy for you to focus on your strategies.
Bounce Rate : It measures retention rates within single visits. If your bounce rates are high, it means that your website page is not engaging the visitor.
The number of visits and days since last visit: You can also keep a track on the number of visits and how long it was since the last visit. This will help you schedule your content appropriately.
Social Media: The most effective metrics to gauge “retention” is when you are followed by your potential buyers on social media platforms. You can track the followers using tools like Twitter Counter and Facebook Insights. With advanced tools you can also analyze exactly who followed or unfollowed you .
Emails: You can keep a track of new subscribers and un-subscribers from your email lists to gauge retention. It will help you understand if you are losing more subscribers than gaining. If the number of un-subscribers are more than your new subscribers, you may require more engaging and relevant content or reduce/increase the frequency of your newsletters.
Similarly, you can analyze the number of new feed subscribers and un-subscribers to understand the retention metrics. This can be done using a simple tool like FeedBlitz or Feedly.
3. Engagement Metrics :
This is one of the most important metrics. It helps you assess how invested and loyal your audience is. You can analyze what is working in your highest-performing pieces and create content accordingly.
Comments : While comments on blog posts etc are considered a mark for successful engagement, we cannot overlook the fact that most conversation now happens on social media instead. So, we need to analyze both!
Time Spent : It is the total duration a visitor spends on your website. Time spent or dwell time gives you an estimate of how long your visitors are staying on your website. Longer duration would mean that your visitors are finding your website useful.
Scroll Depth: It allows you to understand till where your visitors have scrolled through your content. It will help you restructure your content to attract and retain readers e.g. re-positioning image to appeal them to scroll till the end.
iSlay provides you with such details in graph formats.
Sentiment : It is important to understand the sentiments of your visitors. Are they happy, sad or angry with your content?
iSlay helps you look beyond the numbers to understand human response towards a content piece. Was the review positive? Negative? Sarcastic or Ideological? Biased?
Content Affix: This metrics helps you understand the engagement levels on every stage of the article. It will tell you the most interesting section of the article from a visitors perspective.
Users Interest : It is important to know where the interest of your visitors lies. While content affix tells you about the most interesting sections, we have developed a feature in iSlay which indicates what interests your visitors and divides it into 12 categories. By analyzing the source of traffic, keywords and collaboration with external systems iSLAY is able to determine the interests of users who read or viewed a content.
iSlay also provides you with a “Content Recommendation System” which allows you to learn trends in your readership. You can use the information to strategize content marketing for your organization.
Engagement Score: iSLAY provides you with engagement scores. It indicates how the article caught the attention of the readers and how they were engaged in its distribution. This is based on data which comes directly from the articles as well as social network API’s
The additional Dynamics feature of iSlay indicates whether the engagement score is gaining or losing traction as time passes.
4. SHARING METRICS :
People tend to share content which is useful, informational and engaging. So, if your content earns thousands of shares on social media it is safe to assume that you are producing content your audience likes.
Social referrals and actions are two important metrics you need to analyze. You can use tools including Sharecount, Jetpack or iSlay (demonstrated in the picture below) for consolidated stats across the networks.
iSlay also provides you with “ Article Analysis ” which is a comprehensive analysis of each article in terms of social power and trending. Not only that, it helps you analyze the type of
social action in terms of sentiments: like, love, follow, share, positive, surprise, sad or anything negative.
5. SALES METRICS
Do you remember that the goal of content marketing is generally lead generation or sales?
Naturally, tracking how your content is affecting sales becomes fundamental.
Sales metrics include revenue per conversion, the value of leads generated and the total value of successful collaborations. Not only can you analyze leads who read your content but also the leads who did not. This will help you understand whether your content marketing efforts made any difference in the buyer’s cycle.
The most important sales metrics are:
Additional Metrics provided by iSlay which can help you understand the effectiveness and strategize your content marketing are:
Device specific numbers : It allows you to view all the available metrics by device type . Any metrics that do not have a device breakdown will be automatically greyed out for easy understanding.
Behavioural Data: It shows user activities on social networks. Not only does it tell you that the users have performed an action on the content but also tells you who were logged in social portals while reading an article or watching a movie.
Content Type : It indicates the type of content i.e. text, image and video in the web portal. Demographic Data – It shows demographic information including age, income, location,
status and size of the city.
You should not be overwhelmed by the vast metrics listed out in this post. All you need to understand is that it is important to have actionable metrics to track your content in order to increase your reach and scale the volume of conversions. By looking at the data objectively, you can increase the ROI of our content marketing efforts and end up with a solid marketing swing.
We understand that no one wants to put in money in a tool which might not be effective or does not align with your goals.
Hence, we provide you with a free trial of iSlay for 14 days and gain vital social insights and expand your business.
Remember what Robert Rose says:
“Have the capability to measure everything – and then don’t.”