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How we measure content marketing success

Category: Online Marketing

Is our content marketing strategy working? A question we ask ourselves at Mangools many times. There are multiple perspectives when talking about content marketing performance. This a case study of how we measure content marketing success.

First, you have to define goals, which reflect with your overall marketing and business goals. Being able to set the right goals and ending up with meaningful reports will boost your content marketing effectiveness.

Set the goals

At Mangools, we have set the following content strategy goals:

  • Creating brand awareness
  • Building relationships
  • Generating qualified leads

Set the content marketing KPIs

In accordance with the previously mentioned goals we have set these content marketing metrics (KPIs):

  • Organic traffic
  • Referral traffic
  • Social outreach
  • Engagement
  • Conversions (qualified leads)

All the goals are influenced by each other. We cannot expect conversions without any traffic. Getting traffic on your blog posts is an essential part of fulfilling any goals.

Differentiating the organic and referral traffic is one of the basics, yet extremely important. However, there’s no straightforward metric to measure the brand awareness. The number of shares, mentions or comments are great ways how to approximate it. And what about the quality of your content? It’s not only about shares and comments. Bounce rates, session durations and other Google Analytics reports help us a lot.

All in all, everything is about generating a revenue. And that is the reason, why we all measure leads and conversions.

Measuring organic traffic

To see the data in Google Analytics, we’ve created a segment called “Blog”. We track all our landing pages, apps and blog under the same Google Analytics account and tracking property, so that’s the most comfortable way to track the blog independently.

We go to “Acquisition” to see the organic traffic results and set the filter to “organic”.

measure content marketing organic traffic

Another of the most accurate ways how to measure traffic from content is in the Google Search Console. You just have to set filters properly, to get blog traffic only.

  1. Go to Google Search Console.
  2. Click on “Search Analytics”.
  3. Under pages switcher, click on “Filter pages”. Add that part of the URL which identifies the unique part of the blog URL (eg. /blog). We use WordPress for our blog and we publish it under “Blog” subfolder. We want to track the blog traffic only, so in our case, it’s “/blog/201” This is because we set the permalinks to “/blog/date/post-name”. You can see it in the URL of this post, as well.
  4. The most important number is “Total clicks”.
  5. We recommend tracking the results on a monthly or weekly basis to see the progress of your content marketing performance. It depends on the frequency of new posts, target audience and geographical regions.
how-we-measure-content-marketing-search-console

Measuring referral traffic

The simplest way to measure content marketing referral traffic is using Google Analytics and you probably already do it. Referral traffic can be found under “Acquisition” tab.

A quality referral traffic doesn’t bounce too much. We publish many related posts in our blog, so we anticipate more visited pages per session. Likewise, we motivate users to read a few articles instead of one by putting internal links. User engagement needs to be built by various content types.

We need to add two segments for tracking: “Blog” and “Referral traffic”. Then we go to “Landing pages” under  “Behavior” and set the filter to “/blog/201”. This is the way we measure the referrals of each blog post.

measure content marketing referrals

Measuring social outreach

These metrics show us the popularity, virality and engagement of our content. We measure the social outreach and user engagement by the number of mentions or shares on social networks. There is a great tool for this called BuzzSumo.

measure content marketing social outreach

When looking at the number of shares, take into account your paid campaigns on social networks. The number of blog posts shares promoted on these sites can be highly affected by this activity, so it will not reflect the real organic user engagement.

Engagement

When looking at the numbers, we pay attention to user engagement metrics, mainly “Bounce rate”, “Pages per session” and “Avg. session duration”. These three give us a nice picture of the visitor’s behavior.

So what can we see behind the numbers? First of all, they indicate how people interact with your content and whether they like it or not. Moreover, poor numbers tell us that we didn’t reach the right audience. Knowing the audience is the key to success. We deeply analyse the user’s behavior in Google Analytics in the “Behavior flow” from the landing page and source perspective. On top of that, we analyze the site content and exit pages.

measure content marketing behavior flow

Measuring conversions

We all know that content marketing brings the real benefits in the long-term. You can become a thought leader, a respected authority in the field and build a large basis of followers willing to share your content. On the other hand, we need to determine whether it brings us any conversions.

It’s critical to set your conversion goals. We measure content marketing conversions as paid subscriptions to our tools and two types of leads: new users and blog subscribers. Again, we track them in Google Analytics.

In our case, we need to measure the conversions made once the blog post was a landing page. It means, we can see the number of conversions brought by each of the articles. We add our “Blog” segment, go to “Behavior”, click on “Landing pages” under “Site content” and set the filter to “/blog/201”.

measure content marketing conversions

Content marketing report

Alright, we have the numbers and it’s time to get a bigger picture now. To see our progress, we have prepared a special spreadsheet document, so-called “Content marketing report”.

measure content marketing report

We measure our KPIs regularly and at the end of each month, we update the report.

Measure content marketing effectively

Download our report template

The content marketing metrics depend on your own KPIs, so feel free to skip some of them and add other interesting numbers for your business such as engagement metrics.

How do you measure content marketing success? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Pingback: How we measure content marketing success – contentmarketing411()

  • Hello, great insights just a quick question, how do you know your brand awareness is increasing? 🙂

    • Thank you for the comment, it is very good question. In general, there are several tactics for measuring brand awareness like:

      * Google analytics – Acquisition – Direct access
      * Search console – Search analytics – Access from branded keywords
      * Google Trends – Branded keywords

      The problem is, it is a bit tricky to identify the real influence of content marketing effort on the brand awareness. We see it as a natural by-product of this activity and therefore we prefer more accurate metrics as we mention in the post.

      Peter

      • True that, still we weren`t using branded keywords as metrics until now. We`ll try it out for sure 🙂

  • Ricardo Ramos

    Nice tips, thanks!

    But let me just ask you one thing.

    Users and companies have been changing their behavior/strategies towards mobile apps and social media, in prejudice of websites.

    Social media is becoming increasingly important (some companies are not even bothering to build a website). Today, nearly 80% of business have a dedicated team, social media is now a standard operating procedure.

    Sports stars, like Lionel Messi, Kobe Bryant and Cristiano Ronaldo, have left websites almost completely and are engaging with their fans via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The website they own is not devoted to the player itself or to sell products, but as a place to promote their social media profiles.

    Another example is obsessee.com. obsessee.com has as its only function to connect to their various social media profiles. And there are other examples of brands that only exist solely on social media.

    There are more than one million apps in major app stores, something like an app for any circumstance in our life. In the scientific literature, there are evidences that users prefer to use Mobile Applications instead of web browsing and stores which have an app have more changes of selling their products than those who do not (Kang, Mun, & Johnson, 2015).

    This evidence suggests a change in users’ behavior and companies’ strategy towards Websites,
    influenced by the increasing use of Social Media and Mobile Apps.

    As an expert, what do you think about this?
    Why do you think users are changing their behavior?
    Can you imagine this a problem to the future of websites due to its (probable) decreasing use?

    • Hi Ricardo! Thank you for the feedback.

      Regarding your question, I’m not sure whether you are comparing website content or you mean website vs social media in general.

      But it’s natural that “brands” which don’t need traditional written website content (sport stars, bands, singers, actors, actresess, …) have presence only on social media. They simply don’t need a website, because they make money by playing, racing, acting, singing and so on. It’s a completely different market with a different target audience and goals.

      I can’t respond to mobile apps market, I don’t have any experience with it.

      Yes, the behavior is changing, it’s more social, That’s why companies share their content on social media. But this has been happening for last couple of years, it’s nothing new. Social media have been a phenomenon for more than a decade. And we can clearly see it’s not and it won’t be a problem for websites in the future.

      It’s an opportunity to target masses, share content on more platforms, get more engagement, bring more customized solutions, get in touch with real people, real readers, improve both personal and business branding, etc.

      Once again, this isn’t a new thing. It’s been here for many years.

      Hope this helps!

      Maros

      • Ricardo Ramos

        Hi Maros. Thank you for your reply. very enlightening.

        I was generally speaking.

        To illustrate my point of view, imagine this scenario:

        On my Facebook news feed I find an article review about a restaurant, and after reading the review, I feel compelled to visit the place. To get to know others opinion, I decide to make a search on Tripadvisor or Foursquare platforms. After reading positive reviews from others, I decide to ask my wife through WhatsApp if she wants to join me.

        To know where the restaurant is, I search for it on Google. The search result provides
        important information on the right side like the review from others and also includes a button to directly call the place, which I use to make the reservation. Google Maps provides the information of the exact location and I can use Uber to go to the restaurant and Waze to check the traffic conditions.

        This scenario illustrates the possibility of making everything by only using Mobile Applications and Social Media platforms, without the need of visiting one website.

        This gives me the idea that websites will no longer have the same “job” has they have now. Some years ago, websites were the center of the Internet experience. I think we cant say the same thing now.

        However, I cant believe that websites will stop existing. Just have a different purpose in the future. Can you imagine a different future for websites?
        Its my opinion that they will only exist to provide content to other platforms such as social media and apps.

        And, in your opinion, why do you think users are changing their behavior? Dont you think its important to understand their point of view in order to follow their interests?

        • Hi Ricardo.

          Exactly, when you’re looking for a POI, as they’re called in gps navigation apps, no one basically needs to get on their website. You need (mobile) search/apps/voice search (siri, cortana, amazon echo,..).

          We’ll see what those bring in SEO and overall digital business field. I also wrote about this: https://mangools.com/blog/top-5-seo-trends-2017/

          However, I do think there are many online products that will still be used via their websites, web apps. Of course, in general, the importance of websites for consumers is lower than in the past. It depends on the product/content.

          To your last question. Omnichannel rules the world! People want to satisfy their needs seamlessly. So yes, if you want to be successful you have to follow the target audience’s interests.

          Maros

          • Ricardo Ramos

            you are there!

            Thank you Maros!

          • Thanks Ricardo!