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More than 30 key metrics that can drive your content marketing strategy

Posted by Sheera Eby on October 15, 2013

Content marketing is a growing strategy being employed by marketers. Content marketing can serve many purposes within a marketing mix. Setting a content marketing strategy and focus is essential to success.



I’d argue that the best mechanism to establishing objectives and strategy is to start at the end. That is, to first consider what you want to accomplish, which outcomes you hope to achieve, and which metrics are tied to those outcomes.

Starting with metrics can help you translate those measurements into meaningful objectives. The objectives can then lead to establishing strategies that directly support those objectives. I’ve found starting with the end point during a planning process can often provide a more clear path to success.

This disciplined process is especially important for content marketing because the area is so multifaceted. Content marketing can serve as a mechanism to increase website traffic, generate leads, build customer relationships, nurture leads and even create awareness. Choosing a focus ensures you’re able to architect a strategy and construct relevant content that will deliver on your goals.

Here are 7 goals that can help you steer your content marketing and content creation efforts.


1. Generate web traffic and improve search
Content marketing can be an effective lead generation technique and has the ability to ensure your company can get found when prospects are in the right mind-set.

Content creation tends to be more of a scientific than creative process. Through careful keyword and search analytics, you can analyze current search behavior to determine what users are interested in and then build a keyword tree to determine related keywords that can help generate traffic. Generating web traffic and improving search ranking are measured through a number of different metrics. Here is a list of metrics that can be considered in this category:

  • Increase in web visits
  • Increase in unique visitors
  • Total page views
  • Average time spent on site
  • Average time spent on page
  • Number of repeat visitors
  • Increase in search rankings for keywords
  • Overall number of ranked keywords
  • Number of indexed pages
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Number of blog subscribers
  • Views per post
  • Number of comments
  • Click-through rates from on-site banner ads
  • Number of inbound links

Determining topics to focus on isn’t as simple as determining what content you have on hand. A more analytical content creation process typically will result in a more effective approach. Factors for setting a content strategy include monthly search volume for a keyword, difficulty to rank against keywords and accessibility of content development for those keywords. This is where art meets science.


2. Convert web visitors to leads
Many marketers are under pressure to generate leads versus generating web traffic. Although traffic can result in more leads, the two goals are supported by slightly different tactics. Metrics that align to converting more web visitors to leads include:

  • Landing page (with forms) views
  • Downloads and forms completed
  • Number of leads (new contacts that meet lead criteria)
  • Cost per qualified lead
  • Offer redemption
  • Landing page conversion rate
  • Landing page bounce rate


3. Lead nurturing and moving unqualified leads to a sales-ready state
The lead nurturing process requires courting. When prospects find your site through content marketing, they might have been looking for a solution and stumbled upon your company. During the lead nurturing phase, prospects are trying to evaluate whether they agree with a company’s philosophy and whether your company’s products or services might be a solution to their needs.

Content creation provides an avenue for decision makers to investigate products and services on their terms. By highlighting expertise, philosophies and approaches, marketers can provide more dimensions around their products, services and offerings. Metrics that can be considered for this goal are as follows:

  • Leads moved to a sales-ready state
  • Leads that engage with content
  • Number of times leads engage with content
  • Leads that fall out of the funnel
  • Leads that actively opt-out of nurturing communications
  • Email open, click-through and opt-out rates


4. Build relationships with customers
Many companies recognize that it costs more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing customer. Ongoing relationship building is a natural focus for many companies content creation efforts. Companies are using content to present new uses, share tips and product usage ideas, and build an overall community. Metrics that support content marketing tend to align with engagement, retention and customer measurements, including:

  • Customers engaged
  • Average duration/time spent engaging
  • Number of times engaged
  • Comments and reviews
  • Shares and retweets
  • Average value/average order size
  • Frequency of purchases (and returns)
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Calls to customer service
  • Website revisits
  • Customer tenure
  • Social media following (increase)
  • Social media engagement (clicks)
  • Customer satisfaction rate


5. Package thought leadership content for sales presentations, conferences and other purposes
Content marketing has the opportunity to serve multiple masters. Once a company has gone through an extensive content creation process, it is worthwhile to consider how to repackage some of this same content. Metrics that fall under this umbrella goal include:

  • Number of presentations
  • Total number of impressions (those that you came in contact with)
  • Number of contacts generated (prospect database growth)
  • Number of qualified leads generated (through presentations and conferences)


6. Drive conversions
Marketers are under greater and greater pressure to measure programs based on the total end game: conversions. While many organizations rely on their sales teams to drive conversions, some companies have joint sales and marketing ownership over conversions. Metrics that support conversions include:

  • Converted leads
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • Number of conversions
  • Value of converted leads
  • Average value of a converted lead (via content marketing)


7. Determine how you can tie your content marketing to support social media efforts
Many marketers are constantly looking for topics to message in social media. Leveraging content in social media can transform these efforts into customer-centric versus company-centric communications. Additionally, integrating social media and search engine marketing can help extend reach and build more visibility for the inbound marketing efforts. Metrics that support this area tend to reflect traditional social metrics, including:

  • Reach
  • Number of social clicks
  • Number of new followers
  • Number of post views
  • Shares and tweets
  • Number of @mentions
  • Percentage engaged


Content marketing is a multifaceted area. Before embarking on a new content marketing approach, it’s critical to identify what your organization wants out of the efforts. Hopefully, this article has provided fodder to help you prioritize your content marketing efforts and establish a focus that can lead to success.


*Source for some metrics from HubSpot’s blog, “The Ultimate Glossary of Performance Metrics Every Marketer Should Know”

Topics: Inbound Marketing

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