Content marketing is critical for the success of businesses across various sectors. And according to CMI’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing report, 73% of B2B marketers are experiencing success with their content marketing. At the same time, only 35% of respondents in the study are measuring their content marketing ROI.
These numbers are shocking because you don’t really know how effective your content marketing campaign is, or what you could be doing to further boost the results. You could end up throwing away thousands of dollars on a channel or a strategy that doesn’t really yield good returns. So it’s crucial that you carefully measure the ROI of your content marketing strategy using these content performance metrics:
The number of unique visitors to your site signifies the actual website traffic resulting from your content strategy. Measuring this might not give you all the information you need about your content performance. But it’s still an essential metric to measure as it helps you understand if there is any change in interest towards the content on your site.
In the following screenshot, there’s one page that has a significantly higher percentage of new sessions.
You could try checking out what you’re doing to promote this piece of content and if there’s a difference in how you’re promoting other blog posts. Try using the same tactics to promote content that’s not getting a lot of new sessions.
In addition to Google Analytics, SEMrush is also an excellent tool for measuring your content traffic. The tool gives you a clear idea which pages on your site receives the most traffic and from which sources. Using these insights, you can clearly see which piece of content managed to drive the most traffic.
If you notice an increase in unique visitors after executing your content strategy, it means there’s an increased interest towards your content. This could be a sign that you’re doing something right. However, you shouldn’t just stop here. There are several other performance metrics that you need to measure to determine the actual ROI of your content strategy.
Just because you’re getting tons of unique visitors doesn’t mean your content is performing really well. You don’t know if people are leaving just shortly after they land on your site because they don’t find the content intriguing enough. So you should prioritize on measuring the content engagement on your site.
The Average Session Duration will help you understand how much the average visitor engages with your site content. If there’s any page with a lower session duration, it would be wise to see what you can do better to engage visitors on that page. Also analyze what you’re doing right on the pages with higher session duration.
You can also use a tool called Impactana, which can measure the impact of your content. In addition to tracking the social signals of your content, it also measures user engagement. It provides you with an “Impact Score” based on real user engagement such as views, downloads, clicks, comments, and links.
Additionally, you can start producing content that will drive higher levels of engagement and conversions. In the previously-cited CMI study, 55% of B2B marketers use webinars in their content marketing campaigns. Ascend has also found that there’s an average conversion rate of 42% for webinar registration forms, making them the second most effective type of gated content for capturing leads.
40% of marketers in the study also chose webinars as the most effective content format for lead-to-customer conversions. If you want to create a branded webinar, ClickMeeting can make your work much easier. You can create customized webinars and then run an analytics on the performance of your session, which you can use for planning future webinars.
Just like you see how engaged people are with your site content, you should also see how unengaged your visitors are. Even if there are a high number of unique visitors to your site, it’s not necessarily a positive thing if it’s accompanied by high bounce rates.
High bounce rates indicate that your visitors have no interest in checking out your other pages or your other content. It means that people are quickly navigating away from your site after visiting just one page. So despite your content marketing strategy drawing in plenty of visitors, your actual content isn’t really engaging enough to make them stay.
When you notice high bounce rates on your site, you should take the time to look at pages with higher engagement rates and lower bounce rates. Try to find out what you did right on the page and apply the same tactic to optimize other pages on your site.
In the following screenshot, for example, there’s one page with a significantly lower bounce rate even though it’s not getting as many new sessions as the others.
Try to find out what you’re doing right on this page and how it’s different from what you’re doing on other pages. And try promoting this piece of content better so that it gets a higher number of new sessions.
In addition to Google Analytics, you can also use SimilarWeb to measure your page bounce rate. What’s great about this tool is that you can also analyze your competitors’ bounce rates and compare them against yours.
Time spent engaging with a piece of content on your site is crucial to understand the effectiveness of your content strategy. What’s even better is the number of people who actually took the time to share the content with their friends and followers.
When your content gets a lot of social shares, it’s a sign that you’re doing something right. It’s a sign that you’re providing your audience with valuable content that they want their friends and acquaintances to see.
Instead of manually checking the number of shares on different social media channels, you can use BuzzSumo to easily view the social share data.
The tool lets you see how many social shares each piece of content is getting on popular social networking platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You just need to enter your URL to run a search.
If you have an employee advocacy program in place, you’re likely working with a platform like Smarp to suggest content shares to your team. One of the advantages of Smarp’s app is that it allows you to accurately track the performance of your team’s shares.
You’ll be able to measure share volume and post engagement, broken down into specific topics shared by your employees, via metrics like clicks and reactions. This should be able to give you a clear idea of how your content is performing across various channels – even when your accounts aren’t the ones doing the sharing.
Social Media Post Engagement
In addition to the shares you’re getting on social media, you need to measure how your content is performing in other aspects on social as well. This would involve measuring other social engagement metrics for your content. You need to measure metrics such as likes, comments, and impressions to see how well people are engaging with your content on social media.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook each give you an option to measure the engagement rate and impact of your posts. But you can also make use of other tools to measure your social media post engagement.
If you’re a Buffer user, you can get thorough details about how the content you’ve scheduled through the platform is performing on social media.
You can get details such as click rate, engagement rate, impressions, etc. to measure the overall engagement rate of your social media posts.
The previously-mentioned Buzzsumo tool also displays overall engagement rate but only for Facebook. For other social networking platforms, it only displays the number of shares for each post.
Impactana, which was mentioned earlier, can help you track your social signals effectively. But platforms like Agorapulse are also an excellent option. It is a comprehensive social engagement platform that helps you manage your social media accounts and accurately measure the engagement rate of content shared through those platforms.
You may be quite satisfied with the number of social shares your content is getting or how many people are opening your emails. However, that’s not the ultimate sign that your content is performing well.
What’s the point if the shares are just being ignored by your readers’ friends and followers? What’s the benefit of getting plenty of people to open your emails if none of them are clicking on the links to visit your site?
So click-through rate is another crucial metric that B2B content marketers should measure to see how well their content strategy is performing. In addition to your CTR from organic search and PPC campaigns, you should also measure the CTR of your email campaigns and your social media CTR.
If you’re using Wishpond, you can easily measure the open rates and click rates of the emails you send through the platform.
This will help you understand if your email marketing campaigns and your newsletters are performing as desired. If you notice a high open rate but low click rate, it might be a good idea to optimize the email content and see what gets your email recipients to click on your links.
To thoroughly understand the ROI of your content strategy, you need to measure your content performance across all stages of the sales funnel. This means in addition to seeing how well the content generated traffic or how many people it managed to engage, you should also see how many leads resulted from it.
B2B content marketers should never miss out on a chance to measure the number of leads generated through form completions, which can be anything from email subscriptions and trial sign-ups. Use Google Analytics to see which of your blog posts and webpages resulted in the most transactions. In this case, the number of transactions indicates the number of leads generated through the content.
You can even measure your lead generation based on the number of people who visited a certain webpage such as the pricing page or the landing page for your free trial. But make sure you always check the total number of people who contacted you for service under the “Online Queries” section of Google Analytics.
Scoop.it Content Director is another excellent tool for tracking leads generated by each piece of content. Since the tool was developed specifically with content marketers in mind, you get a comprehensive report of all the crucial content KPIs. This includes views and shares in addition to leads.
Finally, let’s get to the most crucial content performance metric – your conversion rate. Despite all the activity and engagement generated by your content, the true test of success is how well it can convert your audience.
How much revenue were you able to generate through your new content strategy? Was there any improvement from your previous strategy? How many of your visitors ended up converting? And which pieces of content resulted in the highest revenues? All of these factors will determine the actual performance of your content strategy.
Google Analytics give you sufficient details about the conversion rate and revenue generation from your content strategy. But you also have the option to use tools like Hotjar and Kissmetrics to understand your website conversion rate.
Using Hotjar, you can determine the overall conversion of your site and the drop-off rate at each stage of the sales funnel. This helps you understand if any of your pages require some optimization to reduce the drop-off rate and eventually improve your overall conversion rate.
In addition to understanding conversion rates and identifying leaks in the sales funnel, the Kissmetrics tool will also help you run A/B tests on the changes you’ve made. After you identify pages with high drop-off rates, you will make an effort to optimize the page. The A/B testing feature lets you compare the changes between the previous version and the new version of the page.
These are some of the most important B2B content performance metrics you should measure to understand the real ROI of your content strategy. As you can see, it’s important to analyze different stages of your sales funnel and all the channels through which you’re promoting your content. This will help you get the most accurate and comprehensive data about the impact of your content strategy.