Content marketing is a key strategy that can help businesses improve traffic to their sites, engagement, lead generation, sales, and more. However, knowing whether your content creation and marketing activities are reaching the goals you’ve set is critical. Without this information, you won’t be able to determine if your campaigns are successful and generating a return on investment (ROI). To determine the success of your campaigns you need to track the correct content marketing KPIs (key performance indicators).
KPIs refer to metrics that businesses can use to track the effectiveness of their content marketing strategies. These metrics can help businesses understand the impact of their content on their audience and make data-driven decisions to optimize campaign performance and ROI.
In this article, we will discuss the most important content marketing KPIs for content marketing in 2023 and how you can track them. We’ll be breaking them down into the different goals and objectives you may want to achieve with your content marketing.
Table of Contents
Traffic and Engagement Metrics
If your goal is to drive traffic to your website or to increase audience engagement with your content, whether through search, email marketing, or social media, you’ll need to track the following metrics or key performance indicators:
- Website traffic.
- Bounce rate.
- Time on site and Session duration.
- Page views and Unique page views.
- Click-through rate and Conversion rate.
- Social media engagement.
- Email open rates.
Tracking these metrics is essential if you want to see an improvement in traffic and engagement. More importantly, if these metrics show no improvement, you should have enough data to adjust your content and campaigns to better reach your goals.
Let’s go over the metrics in a little more detail.
To briefly define this key metric, website traffic refers to the number of users that visit your site over a specific period, regardless of their source (search engines, social media, etc.). So, why is it important to track your website traffic?
In short, it tells you:
- How many users are reaching your website.
- How many potential leads reach your site.
- The sources of your website traffic.
- Which content marketing activities are delivering results.
In turn, you can use this information to determine whether you’re reaching your KPIs, alter your strategy, and see where you should focus or improve your efforts.
You can track this, like many other content marketing metrics, through Google Analytics, which is a free tool.
As you can see, the Google Analytics Dashboard can track several metrics, not just how many users have visited your website, and we’ll be covering these metrics further down in the article.
The next key metric you should be tracking is bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page or who leave a page quickly after landing on it. If you have a high bounce rate, it means that visitors didn’t find the content or information they needed. However, it can also indicate that you have an issue with user experience.
Here are all the factors that can lead to a high bounce rate:
- Slow page or site loading speed.
- Low-quality content.
- Disconnect between the SERP and the on-page content.
- Designs that are not mobile- or user-friendly.
- Broken links.
Bounce rate is a key performance indicator because it tells you where you’re losing potential leads and clients.
Google Analytics can even show you the flow of your users on the site, indicating where you’re losing most of your traffic. This should give you a clearer idea of where you need to make improvements.
You should also consider doing a Core Web Vitals check on your site using Google Lightspeed.
Time on Site or Session Duration
Closely linked to bounce rate is time on site and session duration. These KPIs tell you how much time visitors spend on your website on average. It’s a great way to determine whether your content is actually appealing to users.
For example, if a user spends several minutes on a page, they likely find the content informative, interesting, and relevant to their needs. However, if they only browse for a few seconds, your content or marketing campaigns may need some improvements.
Time on page specifically refers to the amount of time a user spends on one page before moving to the next one. However, if they don’t continue to a second page, there is no time on page recorded. In terms of content marketing metrics, it’s like the user never visited your site at all.
Session duration, on the other hand, refers to the average time users spend on your site across all visitors. The time is tracked regardless of whether the users “bounced,” took action, or visited multiple pages. Unfortunately, if a user doesn’t spend time interacting with your site at all, Google can’t measure the time accurately. Again, time for these users is counted as zero seconds.
How long should users spend on your content? A “good” time can vary depending on various factors such as your industry, audience, and other metrics. However, according to MetricHQ, a good average is about 52 seconds. Contentsquare’s Benchmark Report shows that the number may be closer to 47 seconds.
When measuring your content marketing metrics and KPIs, consider the average for your industry before making decisions or changes to your campaigns.
Page Views and Unique Page Views
Both of these are somewhat self-explanatory content marketing metrics. Page views refer to how many times a particular page on your website is viewed by visitors. However, as you might guess, some users may be visiting the same page multiple times, particularly if they’re using the information as a reference. That’s where unique page views come into play.
Unique page views, as the name implies, refer to how many unique visitors your pages are getting over a specific period. For example, let’s say you have a page discussing some of the best tools to use for tracking your key performance indicators. Over the last 30 days, you’ve had 1000 page views, but only 600 unique page views. That means you’ve had 600 visitors in total over that period, but several of those users have returned to view the page more than once.
These content marketing metrics are a great way to tell if your content is popular amongst your target audience and meets their needs. As with many of our other key metrics or KPIs, these can also be tracked through your Google Analytics dashboard.
Click-through Rate (CTR) and Conversion Rate
When it comes to key metrics in content marketing, click-through rate (CTR) is one to which you have to pay particular attention. It’s one of the fastest ways to notice if your call-to-action isn’t working or the content doesn’t appeal to your audience.
To understand click-through rate, you first need to understand impressions. An impression is every time a user:
- Sees your site in SERPs.
- Views your ad in search or on a website.
- Opens an email or newsletter.
- Sees a social media post.
However, not all users who see these will actually “click through” to your content or landing page. Instead, they’ll simply view it and leave. That counts as an impression; it was viewed, but not necessarily clicked on.
Here’s the formula:
(50 Clicks / 1,000 Impressions) * 100 = 1% CTR
Depending on your position and industry, click-through rates can vary wildly. Not all pages will have the same CTR, either. Luckily, you can use Search Console to view the CTR of different pages.
Most ad and email marketing services will allow you to track conversion rates through their dashboard, like Google Ads, Facebook, and MailChimp. However, if you want to track your organic click-through rate (how many people click on your content via search engine results), you can use Google Search Console.
Do not confuse click-through rate with conversion rate, another key metric when tracking your content marketing efforts.Conversion rate refers to users taking an action that relates to a particular call-to-action such as filling in a lead form, subscribing to a newsletter, or making a purchase.
Here’s a simple example. Let’s say that you’re running a Google Ads search campaign with the goal of visitors filling in a demo request form. Every time a user sees your ad in search, that’s an impression. When they click on the ad, it changes your click-through rate. If that user then fills out the form, that’s a conversion. This applies to organic search results, social campaigns, content marketing campaigns, and more.
If your click-through rate is low, it’s time to review your CTA and content marketing efforts to see what isn’t working.
Social Media Engagement
Social media engagement is an umbrella term that covers several key performance indicators including the number of likes, shares, and comments that your content receives on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, etc. Together, these key metrics make up your social media engagement.
For example, if your Facebook post has 1000 impressions. That means 1,000 people have viewed the post. It also has 100 comments, 50 likes, and 50 shares, for a total of 200 engagements. That means your social media engagement rate is:
(200 Engagements / 1,000 Impressions) * 100 = 20% Engagement Rate
When it comes to tracking these KPIs when running paid or organic content marketing campaigns, you’ll likely use the built-in systems that these platforms provide. However, if you’re trying to drive traffic to your website through these posts, you’ll also be tracking the click-through rate.
Email Open and Click Rates
Email open and click rates refer to the key metrics that track how many recipients open your email and click on a link in the email, respectively. If you’re running an email content marketing campaign, you must track these KPIs to determine whether your emails and your CTAs are working.
Open and click rates, like many key metrics, vary between industries. Below, Hubspot shows how wildly these rates can differ from one sector to the next.
Lead Generation and Sales Metrics
Lead generation and sales KPIs are those key metrics that will help you understand whether your content marketing campaigns are turning visitors or viewers into leads and customers. Most importantly, they help businesses determine if their paid content marketing campaigns are actually delivering a reasonable ROI.
We’re going to discuss:
- Conversion rates as related to sales KPIs.
- Sales Revenue.
- Cost per Lead (CPL).
- Return on Investment.
We’ve already touched on conversion rate earlier, but let’s look at it in a bit more detail from a sales perspective. Conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors or users who take a predetermined action, including:
- Filling out a form.
- Making a purchase.
- Subscribing to a newsletter.
- Booking a demo or meeting.
Let’s continue with our earlier example of a content marketing ad campaign. In this instance, let’s say that people who click on your ad arrive at a landing page requesting that they fill in a lead form. If 500 people clicked on your ad but only 20 filled out the form, your conversion rate would be:
(20 Conversions / 500 Clicks) * 100 = 4% Conversion Rate
As with any of the key metrics we’ve discussed, the conversion rate can vary wildly by industry, type of content marketing campaign, target audience, etc. If you’re running an advertising campaign, you’ll likely be able to track your conversion rate in the provided dashboard of your ad, social, or email marketing service. However, you can also use a combination of Google Tag Manager, Search Console, and Analytics to track conversions.
Sales revenue is, as the name implies, the total revenue you’ve generated from sales. It doesn’t apply only to your content marketing campaign efforts, but to total sales made across your business. While it can help you track the efficacy of your content creation and marketing campaigns, it plays a more pivotal role when determining ROI, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
Cost per Lead (CPL)
Cost per lead (CPL) is essentially the cost of generating a single lead. To calculate this metric, you need to track the total cost of your campaigns and then divide it by the number of leads you’ve generated.
For example, let’s say you run a LinkedIn advertising campaign. The total cost of the campaign is $500. If the campaign generated 50 leads, your cost per lead would be:
$500 / 50 Leads = $10 per lead
This is one of the most critical content marketing KPIs. It can be an excellent indicator of a successful campaign or whether you are losing money. For example, if the product you’re selling is only worth $5, then you know you’ll need to adjust your campaign and CTA since you’re not making your money back per lead.
Return on Investment (ROI)
As far as content marketing metrics go, this one is the holy grail. It’s the final step in determining whether your campaigns are meeting your goals and KPIs and generating the amount of revenue you need. In short, return on investment refers to how much revenue you generate from your campaigns vs. how much you’ve spent. The easiest way to calculate ROI is to use this formula:
ROI = Net income / Cost of investment * 100
So, if your net income is $1,000 but your campaign costs were $700, your ROI would be $300, or 142.85%. It seems simple, correct? In many cases, it is that simple, particularly if you just want to have a rough estimate of how much revenue your content marketing campaigns have generated.
Unfortunately, calculating an accurate ROI can get quite a bit more complex, and that’s where many of the metrics we’ve discussed in this article come into play. To really understand how much revenue a campaign has generated, you need to be able to determine:
- Which campaign resulted in the lead.
- How much it cost to run that campaign.
- What were the costs during content creation.
- How much it cost to generate that lead.
- Whether you have any additional overheads (email service, sales consultant cost, etc.)
To understand whether your content marketing campaigns are reaching the KPIs you’ve determined, particularly return on investment, you’ll need to thoroughly evaluate the costs of your campaigns vs. your net income from these campaigns.
Content marketing is an essential aspect of any business’s growth and success. However, it’s not enough to simply use the “throwing spaghetti at a wall” technique. That is, create content and hope for the best.
It’s critical to track the correct KPIs or key metrics. It’s these insights that will help you understand whether your content marketing efforts are making an impact on your audience, whether it’s to foster engagement, generate leads, or boost sales. With these insights, you can make data-driven decisions when optimizing your campaigns.
We’ve outlined some of the most important content marketing KPIs for 2023. By tracking these content marketing KPIs, you’ll be able to achieve your goals and drive success. For the best results, remember to work with a content writing agency that’s willing to discuss your goals and capable of developing a content marketing strategy that aligns with your KPIs.