Content marketing is the basic building block we use for most of our marketing tactics. It’s vital for just about any promotional approach, including search engine optimization, social media marketing, paid advertising, and email marketing. This is why it’s so vital to implement a viable content strategy and to measure posts’ performance.
By relying on content marketing metrics, savvy marketers can stay on top of things and tweak their tactics. These key performance indicators work in a vacuum and in conjunction with each other. You must analyze as many metrics as possible to understand potential issues with your posts and how to make them better.
In this article, the MiroMind team has made a breakdown of the 15 most important content marketing metrics. The performance metrics we mentioned refer to social media and search engine optimization; we didn’t include email engagement metrics.
15 Critical content marketing KPIs
Most of these metrics are available in Google Analytics and Google Search Console. In other words, you can start tracking them for free, as soon as you make an account. As for social media metrics, they’re commonly available within the platforms’ respective dashboards.
Traffic is one of the basic indicators of your overall marketing success. Marketers use the term to refer to all website visitors that come from different sources, including social media channels, organic and paid search engine results, direct affiliate traffic, and email campaigns.
High traffic is usually a result of enormous content marketing efforts across different channels. Then again, some brands can achieve fantastic results without being too reliant on web and social media posts. For example, they can dominate the search engines by focusing on link building while having mediocre articles on their blog.
Website traffic is a good starting point for assessing your marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, although it’s one of the key metrics, it can also be extremely misleading. Among others, it tells you little about website conversions and sales. There are also cases where marketing teams drive a lot of traffic to the platform, with only a handful of visitors being the target audience.
Because of that, a savvy content marketer will take a peek at other relevant content metrics to better assess performance.
Organic search traffic is a subset of total traffic and is one of the critical SEO metrics. The key performance indicator tells you how many visitors came from search engine results, specifically Google.
Many SEO clients prioritize this metric when assessing the performance of their marketing provider. While this number is an excellent indicator of progress, similar to the total traffic, it can sometimes lead us down the wrong path. Organic traffic doesn’t tell us much about lead quality or conversions.
For the most part, high organic traffic comes as a product of good keyword research, understanding user behavior, have quality content links.
If you’re prioritizing SMM, you’ll probably have solid social traffic figures. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for brands to have higher social than organic traffic; it all depends on where you focus your marketing efforts.
Together with likes, shares, and views, this KPI is the most important metric for analyzing the performance of social media posts. While the previous three marketing metrics are essential for understanding your social media engagement and growth potential, traffic is the best indicator of sales.
In other words, unless you can drive your Facebook and Instagram fans to your website and convert them, there’s no point in investing in SMM. Nevertheless, we need to consider all previously mentioned content marketing metrics to better understand what we can get from social media platforms.
Domain authority, or DA, isn’t necessarily a content marketing KPI. Instead, it reflects your entire search engine optimization efforts and the success of your outreach and promotional campaigns.
DA is a score that shows the relative strength of a website and the likelihood that a web page will rank at the top of search engine pages. It’s an important metric developed by SEO giant Moz and heavily relies on a site’s link profile for assessing ranking potential.
Marketers often use this KPI to compare two sites. Generally speaking, older, more reputable sites will have higher domain authority as it takes time to build up a strong link profile. Like with everything else, using this figure tells a part of the story, and you’ll need other metrics to better understand a site’s potential. Still, DA is pretty accurate.
While domain authority isn’t necessarily a measure of content marketing success, as it focuses on links, sites with high DA usually have good content. In other words, if you have a fantastic blog post strategy, you’ll likely get more exposure and links from other sources.
Secondary website metrics
Over the years, other companies have developed their versions of DA. Marketers nowadays use several different scores to get a better and more accurate understanding of a website’s potential and strength. The most popular and widely accepted site metrics are:
Ahrefs is probably the most popular all-in-one suite for SEO experts. It has a score that ranks all sites in the world based on their link quantity and quality. While the KPI works a bit differently than DA, you can still use it to compare your site and competitors.
The company also made URL rating (UR) and domain rating (DR) metrics, which are more similar to DA, and show the link strength of the platform as a whole and specific pages.
The reason why we like SEMRush authority score is that it gives much more valuable insights compared to DR and DA. The company created a KPI that evaluates numerous factors, not just links, giving you a better approximation of a website’s quality.
Majestic flow metric scores are often neglected because the tool isn’t as popular as Ahrefs and SEMRush. Nevertheless, these are vital KPIs that can tell you a lot about a website’s health and power.
Majestic flow metrics include citation, trust, topical trust, visibility, and search flow. By using all these scores in conjunction, you can get a better understanding of a site’s link quality, content quality and relevance, visibility, and search potential.
Click-through rate, or CTR, is one of the more important engagement metrics. It tells us how many people clicked on your inbound links after seeing them on search engine results pages. CTR is crucial for any content marketing strategy as it demonstrates your ability to attract people to your brand.
The KPI mostly relates to your title and meta tag policies. Content marketers that use controversial, clickbaity titles usually drive more visitors to their pages. Nevertheless, CTR doesn’t tell you much about conversions, as using a provocative title doesn’t imply that a person will stay on a page. This is why we need to include other metrics like time spent on a page and bounce rate.
Most marketers use Google Search Console to analyze this KPI, but there are a few other analytics tools that also feature this metric.
Average time on page
Time spent on a page is the most relevant content marketing metric showing how long people read your posts. Nowadays, Google pays close attention to this stat when assessing content quality. Generally speaking, pages that have high scores perform better in search engines and drive more conversions and direct sales.
Aside from information quality, average time on the page is affected by content readability, scannability, but also technical SEO aspects. Pages with good images and nice structure also tend to have higher scores.
Even if you write flawlessly, a part of your visitors won’t stick on a page for too long. We analyze this behavior through bounce rate.
The KPI shows us the percentage of visitors immediately leaving a particular page after landing. In most cases, a high bounce rate is a result of bad title and meta description practices, where a content marketer provides false information or overpromises. If people can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll immediately leave, sending a strong negative signal to Google.
So, despite the click-through rate being one of the most important content marketing metrics, you should be careful with your titles. Although we all want to get as many visitors as possible, a high bounce rate can forever condemn our articles.
Unique pageviews is one of the less relevant content marketing metrics, although it can help us better understand organic traffic.
The KPI shows us the number of unique visitors for a specific page. As people sometimes revisit a page, we don’t fully understand how many people interacted with a piece of content. For example, you might get 1,000 organic traffic, only to discover there were just 700 unique visitors.
Returning visitors is crucial for analyzing your sales potential and is closely related to your customer retention policies. It’s somewhat similar to unique pageviews, where one metric works on a page level while the other is calculated on a website level.
People who return to your platform are likely dazzled by your content and wish to read the same piece once again. Returning visits are also common for users who are interested in your product and services. For example, they’ve considered your brand among several options and are returning to the website to compare prices or finalize sales.
Pages per session
Every marketer is looking to maximize pages per session when creating content. In the end, this is the main reason why we use CTAs, pop-ups, and other promotional tricks.
Truth be told, most users will read just one page when visiting a site. Most of the Google queries are informational, where a person is looking for an answer to their question. However, if a visitor continues browsing your site, this is a clear indication they want to read more about a topic and are browsing other pages for additional insights.
High pages per session scores are common for top-tier blogs and quality content. Sites that have a high number of pages per session are also more likely to make sales.
Conversion is a very complex metric that can pertain to numerous things and can easily be misinterpreted. Your marketing team can use it for things like CTA clicks, newsletter subscriptions, filled contact forms, and, most notably, the number of people who enter the sales funnel.
Conversion rate is the best way to measure content marketing ROI. For a marketing team to maximize this metric, it’s not enough to write great articles; you also need to implement smart tricks that will make a person click on a button.
High conversion rates are important for every page on your site but are crucial for landing pages because this is where all your commercial links are. Low conversion is usually a result of poor user experience, low-quality content, or subpar products.
Although most people don’t think about backlinks in such a manner, they’re one of the better content marketing metrics. In a nutshell, blogs that have elite articles tend to garner more attention from influencers, news portals, and other participants. In fact, some websites create link-baiting content just to boost their overall website authority.
Then again, backlinks don’t have to be related to your content marketing strategy at all. For example, you can gain a lot of links through outreach, link schemes, forum and social media posting. However, as cream always rises to the top, you’ll have to invest in content marketing sooner than later, as your articles are always the main driving force behind link acquisition.
Social media views
If your marketing strategy revolves around Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, social media metrics will be the most important metric to track.
Getting as many views as possible through these platforms is vital for scaling your business and also your social media account. This is especially true if you’re posting a lot of commercial content and ads whose primary function is to generate attention.
Then again, you should take this KPI with a grain of salt. Like with other metrics, you need to analyze how this number affects your bottom line. So, if you have low social traffic numbers despite high views, this indicates that your conversion policies and funnel need some work.
Social media comments
A high number of comments is a good indicator of content quality but is also common for provocative posts. As a brand, you should look to get as much engagement as possible without incurring negative feedback.
Most platforms assess this metric when deciding how to feature a post. As your engagement metrics increase in number, you’re more likely to be shown on top of Instagram Explore or YouTube homepage.
Shares and likes
Shares and likes work in unison with comments. They’re fantastic indicators of social media content quality and performance. Like with comments, posts that get more likes and shares tend to rank higher in respective threads.
Ideally, you should always try to maximize these metrics by provoking users into action. CTAs work great here, regardless of the platform you’re using.
While views, shares, likes, and comments are fantastic, they don’t give us a clear picture of how your channel/account is progressing. As mentioned, there are always situations where people react because they’re outraged or provoked by your content but don’t necessarily want to engage with your brand. This is why we use subscriber growth as a better conversion indicator.
As the name implies, the growth shows the percentage increase in your subscriber count. Prospective small and medium accounts usually have faster growth, which tends to slow down in later stages of development. Similar to views, high subscriber number and growth should eventually result in better conversions for your business.
Last but definitely not least, keyword ranking is the culmination of all your SEO and content marketing strategies.
Nowadays, Google pays close attention to user behavior when determining rankings for web pages. Unlike in the years prior, it’s hard to manipulate the positioning with unlawful practices and link spamming. Engagement takes priority, which is why today, more than ever, content quality affects your SEO performance.
How to use these metrics?
Due to the sheer number of metrics, it’s sometimes hard to assess the performance of a content marketing campaign. Ideally, you should mix several content marketing metrics with a focus on keyword rankings and organic search traffic. You also shouldn’t neglect specific page conversion metrics such as bounce rate, pages per session, and backlinks.
Before starting your analysis, we suggest you create an Excel file that would serve as a content marketing dashboard. Here you can input your most relevant keywords, their traffic and rankings, and how many organic links each acquired. For some of them, you can even deep dive into Google Analytics data to gain valuable insights regarding engagement.