In order to gauge whether or not your content is successful, you’ll need to refer to your metrics, but figuring out which metrics to track can become an overwhelming task. A good way to mitigate this stress is by grouping the metrics into buckets based on your measurement goals. For example, say you have a content goal that focuses on building brand awareness. Metrics for this goal should revolve around tracking initial audience touch points (page views, sessions, devices, etc), which are commonly known as consumption metrics.
This post will follow the same bucket approach so you know what metrics are best to utilize for your goals.
So, without further ado, let’s chat metrics!
Consumption metrics measure where your content is being viewed, and how frequently. This is one of the most basic metrics and a great place to start monitoring the initial success of your content.
Key consumption metrics to monitor:
- Pageviews and/or page flow
Beware of vanity consumption metrics (e.g. paid social posts). For example, you may be promoting an infographic through paid boost on Facebook and see that your first day’s reach for that post is through the roof. Though the post may have shown up on thousands of social feeds, it doesn’t mean all those people saw your content. There’s more benefit in measuring consumption through your site.
If consumption metrics are used to measure how well your content sparks a viewer’s curiosity, engagement metrics will provide you with insight on whether or not you retained their interest.
Key engagement metrics to monitor:
- Returning vs. new users
- Average time on page
- Bounce rate
Engagement is a metric that should be measured over the long term — you shouldn’t rely on a single piece of content to measure success. Instead, look at multiple pieces across different topics over several weeks, or even months, and stack them against each other. This is where you’ll really start to see those trends of what is and isn’t working with your audience.
Some marketers argue that most, if not all, social metrics are vanity metrics and should carry little weight when measuring content success. A lot of this is due to the idea that the numbers can be rigged (i.e. the vanity metrics mentioned above). However, one should not paint social metrics with such broad strokes — some social metrics do carry quite a bit of weight; you just have to know what you’re looking for.
Key social metrics to monitor:
- Social shares (both on- and off-site)
- User flow
- Assisted social conversions
The idea here is to have a finger on the pulse of how social audiences respond to your content. In turn this can provide you with an idea of what kind of content to produce next and what social channel(s) you should leverage.
This is the metric everyone loves to see high numbers on, and it’s one of the best in determining the monetary success of your content. Leads can be measured by using a gated form or contact/lead forms.
Gated forms require people to register — name, email, etc. — before they are allowed to consume your content. This is not only a great way to collect info from interested parties, but when measured against other gated content, gives you insight into what content your audience wants. The only downsides are not everyone wants to provide their contact info — potentially resulting in a higher bounce rate — and not all those who do will be viable leads, which could yield potentially low conversion.
Contact/lead forms can be used to measure lead metrics of open content (such as your blog). This is as simple as utilizing the user flow metric to see how many people went to your contact/lead form from a specific content page. Of course, lead generation isn’t always this linear. There are usually multiple content interactions before someone fills out a form. In this instance, setting up a browser cookie to track when someone fills out your form, even if they consumed the content a month or two later, is a good option.
The success of your content should always be viewed through the lens of your business’s overarching goals. Know that all metrics you do decide to track and measure should complement each other and provide you with a trail of breadcrumbs that you can follow to a specific goal. This is how you know you’re measuring success.