How to measure the results of content marketing? KPIs for content activities Author Agnieszka Tokarska Read bio You hired a content marketing specialist, and you don’t see the expected results? Perhaps you’re working in a content marketing agency yourself, and you wonder how you should measure content marketing performance? In both cases, it’s worth stopping and thinking about what KPIs you should use to better evaluate the success of undertaken content marketing activities.In this article, you’ll find out:What indicators you can use to measure the content marketing resultsWhy it’s so important to clearly define the goals when cooperating with a content marketing agency and why a tailor-made strategy is crucialHow you can track and report the selected KPIsContent marketing activities: goals and resultsAccording to statistics found on SEMrush (a credible and authoritative source), in 2020, 84% of surveyed companies had a content marketing strategy, but only 11% of them deemed it perfect. Mentioning it is really important because measuring the effects depends mostly on pre-determined objectives (both marketing and business ones) and the strategy developed at the beginning of the content creation cooperation. Therefore, if we implement a thought-through content strategy based on achievable and clearly defined goals, the activity measurement will be much easier.Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are, as the name implies, key indicators for determining the success and effectiveness of our activities. They are often used in the content marketing and public relations industries due to the relatively high difficulty of measuring the real effects in those industries. The mentioned content marketing strategy, which includes the most significant goals, is a good starting point for establishing our KPIs.Indicators for measuring the effectiveness of content marketing initiativesThe below content marketing KPIs can be successfully used to measure the marketing results.Website trafficWebsite traffic is one of the most relevant content marketing KPIs. In accordance with the already mentioned SEMrush survey, 83% of companies consider organic traffic as the key indicator of content effectiveness. After all, even if the content is complex and creative, and the products are unique and of high quality, without visitors, your website will never have a chance to reach a wider audience and, in effect, be successful.A necessary tool for measuring the website traffic is Google Analytics, especially the “users”, “views”, and “sessions” metrics. Of course, there are various ways we can analyze the traffic. We can focus only on organic traffic, divide it by the platform (mobile devices vs. desktop), compare results from the previous month to the current one, and also showcase the specific parts of the website (for example, blog or product categories).SEO visibilityIn fact, we should’ve begun with this point, as the most valuable organic traffic is acquired through ranking high for important keywords for our business. It’s worth monitoring the number of keywords in the TOP 3, TOP 10, and TOP 50 on Google. The keywords that provide us with the most traffic should also be constantly tracked. A great tool for doing so would be, for example, Senuto (the “visibility analysis” panel and the “rank tracker” module that allows you to create projects and monitor them).BacklinksIf in addition to on-page activities, we additionally do off-page ones, then a significant KPI for us would also be inbound links (backlinks), new referring domains, number of external publications, and shared content. These indicators not only prove that there’s an interest in our content, but they also strengthen the overall authority of the domain.To observe the activities that happen outside our website, we will need certain tools, like Brand24, Newspoint, IMM (brand mentions), or Ahrefs (backlinks). They allow users to track content marketing results but also create an opportunity for acquiring new dofollow links (for example, by contacting editors that mentioned our brand but inserted a faulty link).User behaviorThe perfect content is the one that answers user questions but is friendly to Google crawlers at the same time. To measure the user engagement in our content, we should pay extra attention to these metrics from Google Analytics:time on page,bounce rate,pages/session,new/returning visitors.We have to remember, though, that we should interpret them differently depending on the website or content. For example, a high bounce rate is nothing to worry about when it comes to one-page websites or short informational pages. However, in other cases, it can mean that our website perhaps has a bad UX or our content is not true to the title.User engagement isn’t limited to those things. It’s also commenting under a blog post, posts shared or liked, or any other interaction that would help us better understand the reader and adjust future content for them. That’s why tracking genuine audience engagement is crucial.Views and CTRIn addition, we can also find valuable information on the effectiveness of our content marketing activities in the Google Search Console. The GSC data analysis can show us if the chosen and applied keywords are in fact resulting in more traffic and a higher click-through rate in organic search results.If one of our content marketing goals is to increase brand recognition, with the help of Google Search Console we can also track brand movement (by filtering questions that include the name of the brand or organization).ConversionContent marketing may serve different purposes — from building an expert position in the industry, through educating the reader and creating communities, all the way to increasing the reach or introducing new services. However, usually, the goal of all digital marketing efforts is to sell products or services. What’s worth emphasizing is that it’s not direct sales. The final decision to buy the product or service belongs to the client, and it’s influenced by various factors. That’s why it’s much harder to actually measure the “content sales force”.We can, however, measure the conversion effectiveness that may be tied to sales. To track conversions that are vital for our website, we need to create goals in Google Analytics, that mark the completion of an activity on our website (for example, spending minimal time, completing the form, clicking on a link, or adding a product to the cart). Remember why you are creating valuable content and what its end goal is. It may, but not necessarily, lead to sales.Domain authorityAuthority is not an easy metric to measure, but it’s very important for the evaluation of a domain’s worth and for other indicators. High authority often means better SEO scores, more organic traffic, and higher domain trust. It can be measured using already established metrics like Moz Domain Authority or Ahrefs’ Domain Rating. Both of them show a score on a scale from 1 to 100, where 100 means the highest authority. Unfortunately, there is no universal answer to the question of what DA/DR would be sufficient. The best thing to do is to try to get the highest score that surpasses the competition.These kinds of metrics are the easiest to follow, which doesn’t mean they will be adequate. It’s worth taking into consideration other factors that contribute to the rise of brand authority, for example, backlinks, mentions, or media outreach.How to track content marketing KPIs?In order to verify if our content marketing efforts are followed by the desired results, it’s necessary to not only choose the right content metrics but also their constant tracking and evaluation. Make sure you have access to the data and tools that you need and schedule a tracking frequency (for example, weekly tracking of selected metrics + a report with all of them once a month). If you’re using automated reporting (from Google Data Studio, for example), you have to find time for data analysis. You’re not doing it for the sake of doing it or because you require a few additional numbers and charts, so you could present them to the board, no. You’re doing this to achieve even better results and be more successful, and in time, new customers will come along.It’s best to select different metrics to gather data because when they’re separate, none will give you a clear answer on the effectiveness of conducted activities. Still not sure which metrics to follow? Answer the questions below, and you’ll definitely figure it out!Do the chosen metrics really align with my key targets?Do I have the right tools to measure them?Can I work on the basis of the results, and how should I do it?ConclusionsThe discussed KPIs are only examples of the most popular content marketing metrics used for measuring the success of the activities, which include running a blog, but also creating product descriptions, internal linking, or link-building.Measuring the results of your content marketing program and its analysis is a constant activity of perfecting the processes and learning. Without them, in today’s ever-changing world, it’s hard to reach your target audience and be successful at the same time. Every mentioned metric can be a waypoint, showing us the way to perfecting our efforts or to an affirmation that the things we do, we do right.