Metrics is a big word in digital marketing at the moment and no more than for content marketers. The field of content marketing may not be an exact science – how exactly do you assess how well an individual article has influenced decisions or viewpoints?
But, if your content marketing strategy is going to get off the ground, you need to understand some core metrics. Start with basic website analytics, including:
Unique visitors: This gives you the best picture of your site's traffic. Each visitor is only counted once, so you get a good indication of your site's reach.
Search engine traffic: How many visitors you're getting from search engines like Google and er, well, Google (Bing is picking up, but it remains dwarfed by Google). This will help you see how well your content is optimised for search engines.
Bounce rate: This refers to those visitors who immediately leave your site without stopping to read some other pages. Good website content, whether news, blogs, static copy or features, plays a key role in helping people stay with you. A bounce rate of less than 40% is good.
Page views: Simply, just the total number of pages viewed by visitors – if your content is engaging – and your bounce rate is good – you should be getting more page views than unique visitors, ie – they are reading more than one page.
Inbound links: How many other sites are linking to your content. This is a good indication of how well thought of your site and its content is. More importantly, the more inbound links, the higher up your site will rank on Google and other search engines.
Conversion rates: Now we're getting into the nitty gritty – how many people are converting by say, sharing content or signing up to a newsletter. The first five are really inbound metrics; that is, you are measuring how many people have seen the site, like the site etc.
Conversion rates are ultimately more important as they are defined by how you as a business want to measure the success of your content – orders, Facebook likes etc. However, measuring the success of content by how many people read an article and then buy your product, is a very narrow approach.
Content has a much wider impact and it can be hard to see how one article has helped to get you more customers.