by Hana Abaza
Content marketing is getting all the buzz and rightly so. It can be incredibly powerful, but (and there’s a big “but” coming) your success hinges on quality execution and diligent measurement so you can continually iterate to improve your content marketing results. When you’re looking at establishing a baseline for how your content marketing efforts are performing, and communicating your content marketing ROI to your executive team, according to Joe Pulizzi, there are three key questions that need to be answered:
- Is it converting customers?
- Is it saving us money?
- Is it helping with customer retention?
While your CEO might not care about the details in every analytics report, you need to know what to measure so you can answer these questions. Sometimes it isn’t easy to pick out the metrics that matter. There are tons to choose from, but at the end of the day, remember that you need to report on results — not activity. Too often, marketers get caught up in reporting vanity metrics. For example, number of visits is good to know, but looking at it in a silo doesn’t tell you much in terms of how your content is affecting your bottom line.
Generally speaking, there are two sides to the equation when we’re looking at content marketing performance. First, we need to know how the content is resonating with your audience (read: potential customers). Second, we need to determine the overall impact on sales and, subsequently, your bottom line.
How Your Content Is Performing
The first set of metrics we’re going to look are indicative of how well your content marketing efforts are resonating with your target market, audience and buyer personas (or any other way you choose to label the people that are consuming your content!).
1. Increase in Social Sharing
Do they like it enough to share it? This should be one of the questions you ask yourself when publishing any piece of content. Would the person reading it be likely to share with a friend or colleague for whom it’s relevant?
2. Decrease in Bounce Rate
Do they get there and stay? Bounce rate can be indicative of a few things. If its high, it might be because the person on the other side of the screen didn’t get what they were expecting when they landed on the page. Another reason bounce rate might be high is the quality of the traffic. On the flip side, if your bounce rate is decreasing, chances are your content and distribution channels are hitting the mark.
Note that bounce rate can vary, but generally speaking 60-70 percent is average.
3. Increase in Time on Site
Time on site is another metric that speaks to the level of engagement. How much time are people spending on your blog or content Hub? Are they scanning an article and leaving after 30 seconds, or do they find enough value to read the full post and perhaps search for additional content like videos, eBooks and more? One key factor to increasing time on site is the quality of your content, but another is ensuring that your content is cross discoverable, meaning you can surface relevant content for your audience to consume while they’re still there.
Pro Tip: Creating long-form content or video content is a great way increase time on site, provided they are compelling enough to keep people interested!
4. Increase in Pages per Visit
Similar to time on site, pages per visit also speaks to the discoverability of your content and how much more your audience can get from one visit. Once they’ve finished reading (or watching), are you pointing them to another piece of content they might be interested in? At the end of the day, the more engaged people are, the more likely they are to turn into customers when the time is right.
5. Search Engine Rankings
As your content marketing efforts increase, tracking the increase in search engine rankings, as well as your ranking for particular keywords, is important. This is where being focused and having a keen sense of exactly what kind of content will resonate with your readers is key. The more people link to your content the better, but the last thing you want is to rank for a term that is totally unrelated to your business or your audience.
Pro Tip: If it’s unrelated to your business, but still of great interest to the people that will ultimately buy from you, that’s a different story. It’s OKto broaden the scope of your content topics, as long as they’re all still resonating with your target market.
*This is part one of a three-part series on Content Marketing ROI by Hana Abaza.
Stay tuned for part two: “How Your Content Marketing Impacts Sales.”
This post originally appeared on Uberflip.com.
Hana Abaza is the Director of Marketing at Uberflip where she combines a metrics driven approach with an unwavering commitment to creating an exceptional brand experience. She has a knack for communicating inspired tech solutions to mainstream audiences and, with more than a decade of experience in digital marketing, she gets results. Hana is also an energetic speaker and contributor to the Huffington Post, Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute and other industry publications. Find her on Google+ or follow her on Twitter @HanaAbaza.