Marketing analytics 101

How to track and measure your digital marketing channels

If you own a business, measuring the success of your marketing efforts is a must. Working out how your marketing program has impacted on your revenue and profits is often the first thing people tend to focus on. As a result, perhaps the most common question marketers ask is: “did this campaign deliver a return on our investment?

Let’s say you own a driving school you want to drum up leads. You’ve decided to make the most of the network of digital marketing channels available to business owners these days

You can spend a few hundred dollars on Google Adwords to push people to your website through search advertising. You might decide to invest in local SEO to help customers find you through organic search. Facebook and Twitter off you the chance to promote posts and expand your reach beyond the people already following you.

While each of channels offers distinct advantages, the problem with digital marketing in general is the gap in knowledge on how much your advertising or content marketing effort has helped with your business goals.

For example: if the plan was to drive new customers to your business, has ramping up your social media posts helped make that happen? Have those customers submitted their contact information or made an appointment for lessons, or have they just liked and moved on?

The first port of call is to evaluate the ROI on any paid advertising campaign like search, social or display.

For example, let’s say you spent 20 dollars on pay per click (PPC) ads last month. Sales linked to the PPC amounted 200 dollars. In this case, your base ROI was 200% — that’s a pretty tidy amount! This a clean example of how you can measure the benefit investing in this type of marketing.

The problem for many business owners isn’t ROI on paid advertising, that’s pretty clear cut: money out becomes money in. You can total your advertising expenses and compare them to the money earned and get an understanding of how well you invested.

But what about the SEO audit you outsourced, or the guest blog writers you employ ad hoc, have they delivered on your marketing objectives?

When it comes to measuring the success of their marketing efforts, it’s common to think of ROI first. This makes sense because it’s directly tied to revenue. Let’s be clear; money is by no means the only indicator of how well your marketing strategy is working. If nobody views, shares or responds to your content for example, it’s unlikely you’d rate that a success and even less likely to earn any revenue for you.

You won’t often find tangible figures when looking at content marketing metrics. For example, your objective with a blog article is to increase engagement with your visitors while improving your brand perception. How do we measure that?

Every form of marketing requires different metrics and analysis to see how useful they are. Success of your content marketing efforts requires a bit more outreach and more work, but it’s also the type of marketing that can prove itself best over the long term, even if you can’t analyze your ROI as cleanly.

In this article we’re going to cover how you can make sense of the different types of metrics are which are useful for the various types of marketing channels. There are just three crucial pieces to measure marketing channels, this guide includes the three steps you need to track and measure your digital marketing efforts including:

  1. Figuring out what to track.

  2. Tracking and analyzing the data.

  3. Creating actionable insights from what you’ve learned.


Measuring your ROI

As we’ve shown, your ROI is simply the difference between what you've spent and the revenue earned. Measurement and optimization of your total ROI involves all of the costs associated with the marketing channels you’ve invested time and money in.

The following two steps are a guide to what you should include in your calculations:

Figure out how much you spent

In this step you should include everything you spent on marketing. Did you hire a marketing agency? Are they on a fixed monthly billing or does it vary based on hours worked?

What tools and platforms are you using? For example, you might be using a premium email subscription service to get out your monthly newsletter. Even if it’s only $20 a month, that’s still over $200 per annum that you need to account for.

What did it cost to produce and maintain your work? Even if you have a one page website with your businesses contact details, that counts. Make sure you include any audio, video, images or outsourced work that you paid for. Even if you produced all your content in-house, there’s still a cost attached, because you’re paying yourself, or another content creators’ salary.

Add together any distribution costs. We are talking about any paid promotions, such as PPC and social advertising, as well as promotion through other media channels like Facebook ads.

Do you use any special tools or software to distribute your content? Perhaps you pay a monthly fee for your blog platform, or a professional Microsoft Office and Adobe package.

The sum of all these expenses is the true cost of producing your content.

Work out how much you’ve earned

This is the how much you got back in return. How you calculate your conversions depends on how your business converts leads. For example, If you run an e-commerce site, you can measure your on-site sales. The basic idea is to figure out the amount of conversions you've had and how much profit you’ve made from them, this figure is your average conversion value.

Let’s say you add up all the sales that resulted from a piece of content, this is the sum of how much you earned, which is your ‘return’. Here’s an example of how that works. If you spend $250 on creating a piece of content and get leads worth $2500, then your rate of return is 1,000%.

Do the math and determine your bottom line

If you earn more in sales than you spent producing content, and paying for advertising, then it’s worth it.

Going beyond ROI

When it comes to digital marketing, using only ROI as a measure of a successful campaign can fall short.

Sometimes, there’s a clear link between a marketing push and revenue, such as when people read a piece of content, click on your call to action, then buy something. It’s also pretty straightforward to assess whether your PPC campaign is working well - it’ll generate leads that turn into sales.

Other times, that process takes a bit longer, the relationship between sales and how they were procured isn’t as direct.

Let’s say you invest in content designed to attract people to sign up for your newsletter. As email sign-ups rise, it’s likely that a percentage of those new signups will become customers. It may take two weeks, it may take two years. In a case like this, it’s hard to judge whether certain campaigns are successful using only ROI as a metric.

Marketing success isn’t always about money. It can be about getting the word out.

The remainder of this guide will help you identify how many of your marketing goals were impacted (or generated) via paid advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, etc.

If you’ve been posting on social media about an flash sale at your art supply store, the chances are that you want people to visit your website or come to your brick and mortar location. Thanks to social media advertising and targeting, you can make it so your posts are seen by the right audience: artists, students, teachers, and parents.

But promotion isn’t enough - you have to make sure that the content is engaging enough that they’re sharing it and expanding your reach. This is the sort of organic marketing metric that’s separate from the initial investment, but still impacts overall success.

This means you need to set your marketing ROI in terms of your goals.


Setting goals and measuring success

Before you can begin tracking your marketing channels, you need to identify two things:

  • What are your objectives?

  • How will you measure success?

Defining your marketing objectives?

What do you want to achieve with your marketing efforts? Answering this question can help you get content analytics to focus on. The idea is to spend less time gathering data across the board and improve your performance according to your objectives.

Your key metrics (or Key Performance Indicators otherwise known as KPIs) should be directly related to your desired outcome. There should be some business value that you want to generate with your marketing strategy.

Ask yourself: What is the end goal of each piece of content you put on line? Why are you advertising your product or service.

To get you in the right mindset, here are some common objectives:

  • I want to generate sales leads

  • I want to improve search visibility (SEO)

  • I want to increase trials/sign ups

  • I want to increase customer retention

  • I want to increase my brand recognition

Defining how you measure success

The metrics you use to measure the success of your efforts should flow directly from the objectives that you have set forth. With a bit of practice, identifying which metric you need to look at will become second nature.

Take a look at the following marketing metrics, they can answer many of your most pressing content marketing strategy questions:

Consumption Metrics:

  • How many people are consuming your content?

  • Which channels are they using?

Social Sharing Metrics:

  • Which of your posts are being shared?

  • Who is sharing them?

  • How/where are they sharing?

  • How often are they being shared?

Engagement Metrics:

  • Do you consumption and sharing metrics translate into “engagement?”

  • Does your content inspire users to take some kind of action?

Sales Metrics:

  • How does your content influence your sales results?

  • Which ways does your content drive revenue?

Ok, at this point you know your marketing goals (KPI’s) and the general metrics you should be looking into.

Let’s say your ultimate goal is to use content marketing as a way to generate sales leads. Your metrics should measure measure those results. These metrics will tell you, specifically, how well your content marketing efforts are helping you generate those leads. It may look like this:

Objective Generate sales leads
Possible success metrics
  • Email addresses collected through ebook downloads

  • “Contact us” inquiries generated from blog pages featuring the ebook

  • Conversion rate for email subscribers obtained through the promotion

  • Click through rate from search engines, advertising, etc

As you see, you’ve have taken your primary objective and broken it down into specific measurements that you can monitor every day, week, or month to determine if you’re getting the results you expect.

Ultimately, the plan is to define what you want to achieve for your business, as a result of your online advertising, social media, and content creation.


Measuring advertising success

Let’s begin by taking a look at the types of paid advertising methods you should be tracking.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

As with any other marketing initiative, launching a PPC campaign is not an end in itself. You need to devote time to track it’s performance. Let’s dive in to how to measure and analyze its effectiveness to ensure that you’re maximizing your return on investment (ROI).

The metrics we’ll discuss are important, you goals will determine which you should focus on, so let’s think back to your goals, what matters to you the most? These objectives are the primary determinant of your success in PPC.

We’ll be using Google’s PPC advertising program for the examples given here, but the metrics are universal.

Click-through rate

The Click-Through Rate (CTR) is one of the most closely monitored metrics by PPC experts. It’s basically a measure of how many people who see your ad and then click on it. You can calculate your CTR by dividing the number of individuals who click on your ad by the number of people who view it (clicks divided by impressions).

A higher CTR means that your target audience has found your ads helpful. This relevancy can help your Quality Score increase. Ads with higher quality scores have a much lower Cost Per Conversion.

If you’re experiencing low click-through rates, it may be a sign that you should look at your keyword selection, your ad copy, and the landing page you’re sending visitors to.

Cost Per Conversion

Cost Per Conversion (CPC) is important in determining how much you have to spend to gain a new client.This is the number that determines whether or not a campaign is successful. If you have to pay more to gain a new customer than that customer is actually worth to your business, then your campaign is failing; you haven’t attained a return on investment.

If your campaign costs more than what you earn from a new lead, then you’re not using your budget wisely. Keep track of your CPC to learn how to improve your campaign. Use the data from this metric to adjust your strategies and reinvest on what works.

Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate can show certain aspects of your campaign that need optimization. This metric is measured by the number of visitors who visited your site and left without responding to your call to action.

If your campaign has a high Bounce Rate, it means that you’re targeting too broad an audience, a good number of which are simply not interested in what you’re offering.

Conversion rate

The Conversion Rate refers to the number of times a user clicked on your ad and completed a desired action within a certain window of time. Whether it was making a purchase, signing up for a free trial, or filling out some other kind of form. You have to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of any PPC campaign is conversion. By tracking this metric, you’ll be able to gauge if people are buying your product at an ideal rate.

Conversion rate is just as important as click-through rate – you don’t want to pay for tons of clicks and traffic if none of that traffic ends up taking a meaningful action.

Strong conversion rates mean that the money you spend per click is coming back to you in profits. That’s what we call a good ROI.

Quality score

Last, but certainly not least is Google's Quality Score. Quality Score is the search engine’s measure of the relevance of your keywords. They use it to ensure that searchers see the most relevant ads possible and have a positive experience.

The factors that determine your Quality Score include:

  • The click-through rate (CTR) of the keyword and its corresponding ad

  • The relevance of the keyword and ad to the search query

  • The relevance of the keyword to its ad group

  • The CTR of the display URLs in the ad group

  • The quality of your landing page

It’s important to maintain good Quality Scores because Google uses them to determine your ad rankings as well as how much you pay per click. Even if you think you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s when it comes to keyword research, campaign structure, and ad text optimization, you should keep a close eye on your Quality Scores.

Low Quality Scores are an indication that you’re missing some piece of the puzzle and you’re going to pay more to help your business grow.

Tools

Want a quick way to check your performance for key metrics like these? The AdWords Performance Grader is a free tool that performs an instant PPC audit on your AdWords account, comparing your performance in areas like Quality Score and wasteful spending to other advertisers in the same budget range.

Display Ads (banner ads)

Display ads, also known as banner ads can be great for maximising your potential reach and attracting more qualified leads. Let’s cover how to define performance metrics for your display ads. We’ll judge the success of your display ads in terms of which goals you have set for your campaign.

From leaderboards and half-page sizes to rectangle ads large and small, display advertising relies heavily on creative visuals and bold graphics to get consumers’ attention. Display campaigns have proven themselves rewarding marketing strategies when done effectively.

There are for primary Key Performance Indicators that you need to measure when evaluating your display ad campaign’s success.

  • Impressions - How many times an ad appears.

  • Reach - How many people see an ad.

  • Engagement Rate - How many people interact with an ad.

  • Click-Through Rate - How many people click on an ad.

Each KPI is important on its own but it’s through their interaction that you get insight on how well your display campaign is performing.

Impressions

When your ad appears, it creates an impression. Impressions help you quantify how many times an ad appears on a web page. An impression is simply a view. Viewers don’t have to click, hover, or engage with the ad for an impression to occur.

Recording a large number of impressions shows that your ad is reaching a wide audience. More views increases the chances for conversion. But if you find that other KPIs, such as engagement, don’t grow along with your impression rate, you may want to rethink your display campaign strategy. Pay attention to the placement of your ad, when it should be visible, and your target audience to increase your chances of conversion.

Reach

If your display ad appeared while I was browsing, it appearance marks as an impression. But its presence also provides another KPI metric: reach. Reach measures how many people see an ad. For display advertising, this KPI quantifies the number of unique views a particular ad receives. A unique view means that a single person viewed your ad once. Having the same person view the same ad twice does not amount to two reaches.

Keeping an eye on reach metrics ensures that you’re not wasting time or money by showing ads to the same person. Again, this may help with brand awareness, but if the wrong person keeps seeing your ad, you may be missing out on the people that matter.

Engagement Rate

Usually expressed as a percentage, the engagement rate indicates how many people interact with a display ad. This could be a simple action like hovering over an ad, or in the case of rich media, something more complex such as watching an embedded video clip or listening to audio.

Engagement including time spent on your site, or number of pages viewed, is a good indicator of the quality of new traffic to your site. Be sure to compare engagement on a product-by-product basis, too. If your new visitors' bounce rate is high or their site duration is low, you may need to adjust your strategy.

High percentages of engagement strongly correlate with higher conversion rates. If a person expresses interest by playing around with an ad, they might want to learn more about what’s being offered. Having interactive elements in your display campaign can drive up engagement percentages and potentially increase consumer participation in the long run.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Basically, CTR lets you see how many people click on your ad after seeing it. Like engagement rates, CTR is recorded in percentages. It’s calculated by taking an ad’s total number of clicks and dividing it by the total number of impressions.


How to track your social media efforts

By now you’ve got the know-how to analyse whether your paid advertising efforts are worth your while. We’ve touched on the fact that content marketing metrics work a bit differently. There’s plenty of data we can look at to see how well your content can be great for maximising your potential reach, and attracting more (qualified ) leads.

To make the most out of the mass amount of data available, you need to take the metrics that directly tie your tactics to your objectives. They should help you answer questions like, is this content actually creating value for our business? This will be how you’ll measure success and determine if your strategy is working or if you need to change your approach.

Measuring social media success

Any post on social media by your brand should be considered an ad, even if it's not promoted. At the same time, you should separate promoted tweets and posts from your regular ones in order to find out which ones perform better within their respective segments.

For social media, you need to look at forms of “applause.” These include the share rate, the volume of followers, and likes or others. Track your growth, see the social media posts that garner you more reach and see what you did differently on those. Within a few months on social, you will be able to get statistically valid data on what timing and what type of content works for your audience.

Before we begin looking at your social metrics, log in to your Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest insights. Analytics lets you examine just how many comments or mentions you’re pulling in per post. If we wanted to drive that metric up, we’d want to look at which kinds of posts are pulling in the most mentions.

Audience Growth

The number of followers you’ve gained over the last month, week, or even day is an obvious metric to keep an eye on.

  • Why is audience growth important?

    It’s important to pay attention to the rate at which your follower account grows. If you see a slow and unreliable trickle of people following your accounts, you may want to increase your posting speed. If you’re losing followers, you should examine what has been shared or posted recently and question whether you need to adjust your strategy.

    The takeaway is that you should always be earning new followers, not losing or holding steady at your current follower count.

  • How do you track audience growth and follower count?

    This metric this relies on the easiest number to find on social media—no matter the platform. You can easily see how many followers (or Likes, if you’re running a Facebook page) you have.

    You could also use a third-party tool that keeps track of this for you and provides regular reporting. There are a number of tools out there that can track your audience across multiple social media accounts over time.

Audience engagement

Audience engagement counts whether your content is resonating with your online audience is the amount of quality social interactions each piece of content garners.

  • How to measure:

    Track your growth, see the social media posts that garner you more reach and see what you did differently on those. Monitor the gross amount of tweets, retweets, likes, shares, comments, mentions.

  • Tools:

    Knowing how to read your social media data is a big first step towards measuring your engagement and ultimately knowing your ROI. You can start by checking Insights directly from your social sites including Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Additionally, this post from Sprout Social has more tools you can use.

Clicks Per Post

When sharing blog posts or third-party content, it is important to measure the number of times that users have clicked on the links you’ve included.

  • Why it’s important?

    Your social posts may get a great deal of attention, likes, shares, RePins, etc.—but ideally, that engagement will carry over to some of your non-social properties, too.

    When people click through the links on your content, they’re not just saying, “I like this.” They’re saying, “I want more.” Measuring clicks per post also helps you estimate incoming traffic from your social media efforts.

Click-through rates

Sharing and commenting are solid metrics, but when your content prompts a reader to click, you can find out more about how and why he or she is engaging.

  • Why it’s important?

    By tracking the number of people who click and what kinds of content they’re clicking to see, you can learn even more about your audience members and how to engage them.

Likes per post

When we talk about likes, we are using the term as a catch-all for types of Likes, favorites etc. Basically, any way people can “upvote” posts they enjoy. This metric involves tallying all the ways people have affirmed your post over a given amount of time, and then dividing that number by the amount of posts you published over that time.

  • Why it’s important?

    You want to nurture an engaged community, so it helps to look at which posts are getting that thumbs-up from your followers. Watching this metric helps you keep track of how your average post is resonating with these folks.

Shares per post

This encompasses any type of sharing including videos on Youtube, post on Facebook, Retweets, Repins. Your total shares per post will include any channel-specific social share metric that demonstrates the reach of your content. Look beyond the number of social shares, and closely examine who is sharing your content.

  • Why it’s important?

    It’s great when a piece of content goes viral or earns lots of shares, but if no one in your target audience or no one who influences your audience is engaging, those numbers aren’t as meaningful.

Comments per post

It takes more effort for a reader to post a comment on a blog post than it does for them to like it, so this is often a strong gauge of how engaged your community is. For Twitter, this could include both Mentions and Tweets linking to you. Identify the individuals who are contributing to your content and who care about your industry, and look for the types of content that engage them most.

  • Why it’s important?

    “The one metric I really look at is comments per post. It tells me how engaged my audience is. No matter how much traffic you have, if you can’t cultivate an engaged audience, you won’t be able to convert those visitors into customers.” –Neil Patel, founder of Quick Sprout and co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics.

    To better understand your audience, take Neil’s advice and monitor your comments.


Understanding email marketing metrics

According to a study by iContact, customers who receive email newsletters typically spend 82% more money. This makes a compelling argument to measure the effectiveness of your email content marketing and discover the key email metrics.

Compared to other channels, email has an enormous advantage- it’s perfectly traceable in every aspect. It is always possible to track how many users open messages, how many have clicked within them, which emails brought more conversions and so on. The success of email could be measured by the open or conversion rate. It could also be tied to the number of opt-outs you receive after the email blast.

First we’re going to look at on-mail KPIs: these refer to the user’s interaction with the message itself, then off-mail KPIs. These measure everything that originates in the email and goes elsewhere, for example, an embedded link to an e-commerce site, website or blog.

On-mail KPIs

These metrics are tracked directly by the email marketing platform, which makes them automatically available and easy to read. This category includes openings, clicks, unsubscriptions, bounces and so on.

Open Rate

  • What It Is:

    Among email metrics, the open rate (OR) indicates the number of emails opened compared to the total amount delivered.

  • How to Calculate It:

    (Emails opened / Emails delivered) * 100 = % open rate

  • Why?

    Email headlines are content too! Don’t forget to A/B test them to increase the likelihood of a high open rate. The elements that affect opening rates most are the subject and preheader: carry out tests frequently and pay extreme attention when drafting interesting copy that arouses curiosity and urges recipients to open the message.

Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate

  • What It Is:

    The percentage of email recipients who clicked on a “share this” button to post email content to a social network, and/or who clicked on a “forward to a friend” button.

  • How to Calculate It:

    Number of clicks on a share and/or forward button ÷ Number of total delivered emails * 100 = % email sharing/forwarding rate

  • Why?

    The rate at which your email recipients forward or share your email with others may not seem all that significant, but it's arguably one of the most important metrics you should be tracking. Because this is how you generate new contacts. The folks on your email list are already in your database.

    Conversion is still a primary focus, but this doesn't help you attract new leads. Encourage your readers to pass along your email to a friend or colleague if they found the content useful, and start tracking how many new people you can add to your database this way. Keep a careful eye on your sharing rates to discover which types of articles and offers tend to get shared the most, and use that insight when you plan email campaigns in the future.

Click rate

  • What It Is:

    The percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links contained in a given email.

  • How to Calculate It:

    Total emails clicked OR unique clicks ÷ Number of delivered emails * 100. (Example: If you receive 500 clicks in total, and delivered 10,000 emails your click through rate is 5%.)

  • Why?

    If a good open rate is indicative of a good subject, the click-through rate is determined by the email’s content – images, copy and especially calls-to-action. To improve this crucial email KPI, it is important to carry out frequent A/B tests on wording and the style of CTAs as well as on the content layout and images used. This is especially useful if your email newsletter contains links to different blog posts or products, so you can ascertain which are most attractive to your subscribers.

Conversion rate

  • What It Is:

    Every email has (or should have) a clear objective that corresponds to the action you would like users to carry out. Some examples of objectives are: make a purchase, read an article on your blog, fill out a subscription form, request a quote or sign up for an event or webinar.

  • How to measure your conversion rate:

    Number of users who have completed the action / Emails delivered) * 100.

  • Why?

    The conversion rate is the metric that measures how effective your message is in relation to your objective. It is important to be constantly aware of this metric on both a general level as well as by type of campaign or message, studying its history and averages at different levels.

    Conversions are intertwined with a call-to-action’s quality: this is why experimenting with and frequently testing CTAs is fundamental for guaranteeing their maximum effectiveness. If the goal of your email marketing is lead gen, you should be tracking how many leads you're capturing every day, and every month.

Bounce rate

  • What It Is:

    The percentage of your total emails sent that could not be successfully delivered to the recipient's inbox.

  • How to measure our bounce rate:

    (Total number of bounced emails ÷ Number of emails sent) * 100 = % bounce rate.

  • Why?

    Internet service providers (ISPs) use bounce rates as one of the key factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. Having too many hard bounces can make your company look like a spammer in the eyes of an ISP.

Off-mail KPIs

These metrics analyze various aspects relative to the email channel, such as the volume of traffic attracted, the average purchase amount, the conversion rate and so on. These are normally provided by analytics systems that are outside of the email platform, such as Google Analytics.The following KPIs can be monitored by taking data from your email platform data with data from external analytical systems like Google Analytics.

List growth rate

  • What It Is:

    The rate at which your email list is growing.

  • How to Calculate the growth rate of your email list:

    This is by no means as complicated as it looks. For example you might have 500 new subscribers - 100 unsubscribes and email/spam complaints) ÷ 10,000 email addresses on the list * 100 = 4% list growth rate in a given period.

  • Why?

    If your focus is on attracting more visitors to your site, signing up more blog subscribers, that kind of thing -- your goal will probably be growing your subscriber list. Aside from the call-to-action metrics (CTR, conversion rates), you'll also want to be keeping tabs on your list growth and loss.

    While you should be aiming to grow your list in order to extend your reach, expand your audience, and position yourself as an industry thought leader. Its common to for an email marketing list to naturally decline by 22.5% every year -- which means that it's more important than ever to pay attention to growing your subscriber list and keeping it at a healthy size.

Unsubscribes/ opt-outs

  • What It Is:

    Your opt-out rate shows how many people received an email from your business and made the decision to unsubscribe.

  • How to Calculate your opt-outs:

    Unsubscribed users (this information is available from your email server) / the amount of emails sent * 100.

  • Why?

    Keeping track of subscription trends is important, but knowing how many users unsubscribe is equally important. Having a few opt-outs per email, shouldn’t trigger any red flags. In fact, by giving those readers the opportunity to opt-out you’ll likely be improving other metrics because you’ll be removing less engaged contacts from your list.

    A spike in opt-outs, on the other hand, should be more closely examined. This is typically the result of a change that did not go over well with your readers. Remember that the top reasons people unsubscribe are related to frequency, content, and subscriber expectations. Are you bombarding your readers_ Re-evaluate your sending frequency or your messages’ content and run several tests to identify – and correct – whatever may be the cause.

Content marketing

  • Pageviews:

    This metric shows you which and how many pages are viewed on a site. Any time a page is loaded (or refreshed), that counts as a page view. This is a basic KPI, but it’s oh-so-important in monitoring specific content performance particularly for key landing pages.

  • Unique visitors (UV):

    This metric shows you how many individual people visit your site. It is determined by a user’s IP address and cookie on the browser they are using, so any repeat visits from that same user won’t be counted. UV’s help you understand the size of your target audience.

  • Demographics?

    Google Analytics gives insight into your audiences’ ages, genders and general interests. You should keep an eye on these stats to ensure that your content is consumed by the appropriate audience for your brand.

  • Geography:

    Now that you know who is viewing your work (and how many times), find out where they are coming from. By determining audience geography you can decide to allocate resources to a specific location and, if needed, adjust your budget and targeting strategy to market to a certain geographic area.

  • Average time on page:

    This metric provides insight into the engagement of your audience. If you post a 5,000-word essay and the average time on page is 20 seconds, you can assume your audience is skimming, or not really reading at all. The longer the time spent on a page, the more likely it is that the reader is truly consuming your work.Heads up: Google Analytics doesn’t account for those times when users accidentally leave your site open for hours. That’s distraction, not engagement. In general, this is a good indicator of the effectiveness of your content.

  • Bounce rate:

    This metric tells you the percentage of visitors who came to your website, viewed one page, and left. Unlike ‘time on page,’ a high bounce rate is a sign that your website is not user-friendly, meaning people left the site after the initial encounter instead of exploring other pages. To set an appropriate “bounce rate baseline,” consider user intent and content purpose. For specific information like movie times, the rate will be higher. For online shopping or newspapers, the rate will likely be on the lower side, as users are likely to browse around for a while.

Finally, keep in mind that, rather than placing so much emphasis on individual numbers, track the progression overtime to gauge which topics—and even days of the week—are of interest to your audience.


How to keep track of your metrics

Once you’ve created content that you think will drive the desired actions, you can start measuring the efficacy of your content program. We suggest measuring yours on a monthly basis.

Monthly Reporting

Create a spreadsheet that documents and tracks:

  • Your marketing goals (prioritize if more than one)

  • KPI’s you’ll be measuring

  • Changes per month (sales per sources, engagement per sources, changes by month, etc.)

Track your marketing channels efficiently

  • Begin small - don’t measure everything all at once!

  • Go broad before you go deep - Get a complete picture before you dive into the minutiae.

  • Consistency counts - Generate metrics for your content over a period of time (also to identify which older content is evergreen + what should be reworked or retired)

  • Monitor your metrics - it is important to measure your goals on a frequent basis, for instance website traffic could be on a daily or weekly basis, not on a monthly basis as this tends to draw a straight line graph in Google Analytics. You’ll need to see what causes fluctuations in your numbers and make note. Holidays and weekends are associated with less traffic, while Thursdays may be the busiest day of the week. Learning how your traffic works and adjusting your strategy to meet it helps you hit your goals.

  • Gather data - Create graphs to understand what channels are delivering the most leads and, more importantly, what channels are delivering customers. Remember, channels that are driving sales and business for your company are the effective ones -- where you want to invest more of your limited marketing dollars.

  • Report on performance - Reporting on how you’ve hit or missed your targets and goals should be done regularly. Monthly is ideal for the big picture, weekly is likely better for things like email campaigns and PPC advertising.

Use your data wisely

Take advantage of your metrics to refine and fix your campaigns. The secret of a successful business lies in the ability to learn and optimize continuously. A smart approach to your content marketing metrics will help you stay focused on your desired outcomes. For pulling off a successful strategy, this focus is paramount.

Start with fewer metrics, such as the core metrics that fit with your core business objectives as well as a small number that laser focus on your one or two top content goals. This allows you to use your metrics to better improve your content. Then, expand from there once you master a small number of metrics. When you can see right away the impact a piece of content is having or how a certain type of content is directly affecting your bottom line, you can then go back and continually refine your content strategy. Remember: smarter metrics means smarter content marketing decisions – and better outcomes.


Conclusion

No two companies are alike, and how you spend money is unique to your goals, business, and industry. However, every small business can benefit from tracking the ROI associated with every major expense. Doing so will help you prioritize where to spend now and determine how to invest wisely in the future.

Performance measurement for new content initiatives can be overwhelming and admittedly, we’ve covered a lot in this guide. There’s no need to cover all bases, remember to focus on your goals and measure the metrics that indicate whether you‘ve met your business objectives.

By making it a habit of monitoring your marketing, you can create a system that will help you fundamentally transform your advertising and content strategy and performance, maximizing your direct impact on revenue. Remember: Start your measurement of digital marketing success with business goals in mind.

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