Content Marketing KPIs: Which Ones Do I Track to Identify Real Success?

Content Marketing KPIs: Which Ones Do I Track to Identify Real Success? (& How to Track Them)

by | Dec 10, 2019 | Content Marketing

How do you track your content marketing successes (or failures, to learn from and improve next time)?
It all boils down to tracking the right content marketing KPIs.
Note that we didn’t say all the content marketing KPIs – just the right ones.
You aren’t alone if you’re wondering why some content marketers succeed and others fail.
What makes the difference between the two? ?
Is it the volume of website traffic? The number of likes, comments, and shares? Revenue from unequivocal quality content?
All those are examples of content marketing KPIs (key performance indicators). Some matter more than others. If you want success, you need to know which content marketing KPIs to track.
Here are the top twelve that should be at the top of your list. Let’s dive in!

Content Marketing KPIs: Which Ones to Track & How to Track Them Correctly

Why Track Content Marketing KPIs?

The Top 12 Content Marketing KPIs to Track

Content Marketing KPIs for User Behavior

1. Bounce Rate
2. Scroll Depth
3. Time on Page

Content Marketing KPIs for User Engagement

6. Conversations

Content Marketing KPIs for SEO

7. Backlinks
8. Organic Traffic from Search Engines
9. Keyword Rankings

Content Marketing KPIs for Company Revenue

10. Leads
11. Conversion Rates
12. ROI

How Do You Track Content Marketing KPIs? Use These 6 Handy Tools

Content Marketing KPIs Measure Your Success

How do you define real success in the world of content marketing? ?️ @JuliaEMcCoy lists down the top 12 content marketing KPIs that you should keep track of to identify if your efforts are producing great results. ☝️ Click To Tweet

Why Track Content Marketing KPIs?

In sports, it’s easy to track success. For example, think of soccer. In soccer, your aim is to get the ball through the goal. One goal equals one point. The team with the most goals wins the match.
But content marketing isn’t that simple. It’s like playing soccer with a hundred goals instead of two. What’s more, when you shoot the ball into the goal, you aren’t sure what score you’ll get. Some goals give you a hundred points while others give you two points.
The key with this type of soccer is first to find out which goals give you the highest points. Then you start putting energy into shooting the ball into them.
This is what tracking content marketing KPIs is all about.
You need to find out which content marketing KPIs are important and give you the highest improvements (scores). Then, you set out to outperform yourself on them.
When you track the right content marketing KPIs, you’ll start winning in content marketing.
Why bother tracking content marketing KPIs? ?️ Getting to know which KPIs perform well gives you an idea of how you can further boost them. It's also good to know which ones badly need a strategy makeover. ? Click To Tweet

The Top 12 Content Marketing KPIs to Track

These 12 content marketing KPIs are your safety net and formula for success. Let’s dive in!

Content Marketing KPIs for User Behavior

First of all, let’s look closely at content marketing KPIs that show you how users interact with your content.
1. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate refers to the number of visitors who view only one page of your site. It’s one of the top content marketing KPIs because it tells you what visitors feel about your content.
Here are 5 reasons visitors click on your site, scan it, and immediately click the back button.

  • Your content is boring.
  • Your paragraphs are too long.
  • Visitors can’t find what they’re looking for.
  • Your site isn’t user-friendly.
  • Your writing style doesn’t fit user needs.

For example, if you’re a user and you find this as the opening paragraph of a blog?

Source: Grammarly

You’ll most likely run for the hills with your go-to back button.
The more visitors click the back button without visiting any other pages on your site, the higher your bounce rate will be.
So what’s a good bounce rate? According to The Daily Egg, it depends on what industry you’re in. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep your bounce rate below 70%.
2. Scroll Depth
Scroll depth is one of the content marketing KPIs that’s closely related to bounce rate. Scroll depth indicates how far down the page your reader goes before leaving.
What causes a reader to leave your page halfway through reading it? Mostly, it’s when you don’t follow through with the promises you made in your headline.
For example, maybe your headline looks like this.

Source: Have The Relationship You Want from Rori Raye

This headline makes one promise: After you read the article, you’ll know the secret to winning the man of your dreams. Forever.
Now, what if you’ve reached the halfway mark and you’re nowhere near discovering this secret? You guessed it. You’re going to click back.
The point where you stopped reading is your scroll depth.
Keeping track of your readers’ scroll depth will help you figure out exactly where your content stops working. This is one of the content marketing KPIs you can rely on because it helps you measure the success of your content.
3. Time on Page
As the name suggests, time on page refers to how long users spend on your page. Using this valuable content marketing KPI, you can tell what your readers feel about your words.
According to Capitalize My Title, it takes an average of 1 minute to read 300 words.

Now, if your blog has 1,500 words and your reader spent only 2 minutes on it? That’s right. He didn’t read everything.
What you need to track is reader time on page corresponding to how many words your post has. If readers are clicking back after less than a minute but scrolling to the end of the page? They’re scanning your headings but not devouring your content.
As a valuable KPI for content marketing, time on page shows you if readers are loving your content or not.
Content marketing KPIs for user behavior include ? bounce rate, ?️ scroll depth, and ⌛ time on page. Know what each KPIs are in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy ? Click To Tweet

Content Marketing KPIs for User Engagement

When anything is inspiring, controversial, or new, it will be talked about. This is why user engagement is one of the huge content marketing KPIs to keep track of.
You need to keep track of how often your content gets shared on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Shared content is one of the biggest content marketing KPIs in 2019 because of how big social media is.
To give you an idea, take a look at how popular social media is today.

You need to track this content marketing KPI religiously because, in social media, it’s plain difficult to stand out.
For example, take Facebook. Facebook users are bombarded daily with distractions. There’s instant messaging. Inspiring quotes from friends. Posts from an ex. Photos of a rival’s latest vacation. If your content can compete with all of these and get shares? That’s right. Your content is beyond juicy and delicious.
Here’s an example from Bright Side called 10 Things We Don’t Appreciate Until Life Slaps Us on the Face.

It’s easy to see why this post got 1,700 shares on Facebook. It’s innately human, relatable, and despite being sad, strangely hopeful.

Want to learn the 11 top skills for becoming a top-notch content marketer? Download our Profitable Content Marketer Cheat Sheet here!

Comments on your posts are huge content marketing KPIs because they show that users consider you worth their time.
Let’s take a look at this example from English Literature’s Facebook page.

Source: Facebook

As you can see, the post has only 381 comments compared with 27,000 reacts and 9,900 shares. Why is that?
It’s simple. Composing, editing, and posting a comment takes more time and energy than liking and sharing combined.
So if people are commenting on your posts, sharing their insights, and asking advice? You’ve nailed it with this huge content marketing KPI.
6. Conversations
In content marketing, conversations refer to how you talk to your prospective clients. This includes live calls, chat, discount coupons, and more.
Conversations are important content marketing KPIs because the buying process has drastically changed over time. Buyers are now more informed, skeptical, and careful. They can no longer be bullied into the traditional 4-stage sales funnel that worked wonders in the 20s.
Instead, they go through the marketing lifecycle. Part of this lifecycle is finding value in products and services, asking questions, and getting the right information. When you have experts standing by to talk to prospective clients, you can get a 60%-80% conversion rate!
If you carefully take care of your conversations as vital content marketing KPIs, you’ll win over brands still relying on the outdated sales funnel strategy.
Content marketing KPIs for user engagement include ? shares, ? comments, and ?️ conversations. Know what each KPIs are in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy ? Click To Tweet

Content Marketing KPIs for SEO

7. Backlinks
Backlinks are essential content marketing KPIs.
To understand this, let’s look at what backlinks do. Check out this image from Moz.

As you can see, website A has a link to website B. There are a number of reasons why one website links to another.

  • It makes a site more valuable as a resource.
  • It encourages engagement with other sites.
  • It sends out trackable traffic.

So if other sites are linking to you, what does it mean? Simply, it means they trust you. You have vouch-worthy, high-quality content and a good standing online.
Backlinks are essential content marketing KPIs, but make sure yours are high-quality and not black hat SEO links.
8. Organic Traffic from Search Engines
Another great content marketing KPIs to watch is organic traffic. When you get a ton of traffic from search engines, you’re doing something right with your content.
Take a look at this pie chart from Conductor Spotlight.

Since 64% of traffic comes from organic search, it’s a good idea to keep your Google ranking high.
However, even if your content is good, it won’t obtain a high ranking on search engines if it isn’t optimized correctly. To pull traffic into your site from search engines, you need quality content plus cutting-edge search engine optimization (SEO) practices.

Want to learn how to rank highly on Google through stellar SEO writing? Download our SEO content writer cheat sheet here!

9. Keyword Rankings
Keyword rankings are content marketing KPIs closely related to organic traffic. What to look for is how many keywords your content is ranking for on Google. To do this, you can use great software like Google Analytics.
Content marketing KPIs for SEO include ?️ backlinks, ⛖ organic traffic, and ?️ keyword rankings. Know what each KPIs are in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy ? Click To Tweet

Content Marketing KPIs for Company Revenue

10. Leads
Leads are potential clients who come to you via a lead magnet. In short, users exchange their personal information and e-mail addresses for a freebie you offer.
Here’s a popular lead magnet from International Living.

Want to know the world’s top 10 havens for retirement? All you need to give is your e-mail address. Sounds like a good exchange! This magnet provides International Living with leads and a growing e-mail list.
The more leads you have, the bigger your chance of growing your brand. This is why you should track your leads as essential content marketing KPIs.
11. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is one of the best KPIs for content marketing because it shows how compelling your content is. Conversion happens when you tell users what to do and how they do it.
Take a look at Great Escape Publishing’s homepage.

Source: Great Escape Publishing

Who doesn’t want to travel the world while creating a full-time income? Users are curious and click find out more. A percentage of them will buy a photography or travel program. This percentage is the conversion rate to watch out for when tracking content marketing KPIs.
12. ROI (Return on Investment) 
ROI refers to the revenue you get minus your total investment. For content marketing, it’s how much you earn minus writer pay, the cost of hosting your website, and other expenses you incur in business.

Source: Business 2 Community

When tracking ROI, take into account the required expenses to get quality content. Then, note how such content is performing. Does it bring in higher revenue than expense?
For example, take a look at this chart.

Stellar content works like this. It builds momentum. As can be seen in the chart, the cost per lead dropped 80% in five months because of the high revenue the content brought in.
Content marketing KPIs for company revenue include ?‍?‍?‍? leads, ? conversion rate, and ? return on investment. Know what each KPIs are in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy ? Click To Tweet

How Do You Track Content Marketing KPIs? Use These 6 Handy Tools

After learning about the essential content marketing KPIs that you need to keep track of, the question now is: how do you exactly find these?
It’s easy. You can rely on the tools already provided for free by Google and the social media platforms you’re using. You can also go for paid tools if you need some extra help to easily track and understand these data.
Here are six practical tools you can use:

1. Google Analytics

Checking Google Analytics is the fastest way to get an overview of your site’s performance – the blog posts that are getting the most traffic, page views, bounce rates, traffic sources, and more.

2. Facebook Page Insights

If you’re curious about the shares, likes, clicks, reactions, and comments your posts receive on Facebook, you can simply use its free Facebook analytics tool.

Besides measuring your Facebook page’s performance, you can use this tool to know more about your audience’s demographic data, which is important if you’re trying to build a new buyer persona for your content strategy.

3. Twitter Analytics

For those who are actively sharing content through Twitter, checking the social media channel’s analytics page is a must. Access Twitter’s activity dashboard, and you can find the detailed number of retweets, follows, replies, and link clicks on your Twitter page.

You can also easily check your page’s performance through mobile.

4. SEMrush

You may have already read about SEMrush several times in our blog as a highly recommended SEO tool for keyword research.
However, its usefulness doesn’t stop there. With SEMrush, you get to see updated metrics such as your site’s visits, unique visitors, bounce rate, visit duration (time on page), backlinks, traffic sources, traffic cost, top pages, keyword rankings, and more. Get to see most of the important content marketing KPIs in an instant – all in one place.

5. BuzzSumo

BtuzzSumo can monitor engagement across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit. With BuzzSumo’s Content Analyzer, you can get a list of your best-performing content in a certain period of time just by typing in your domain in the search box. It also lets you know the number of engagements for every major social media platform.

Moreover, BuzzSumo’s Monitoring feature is something you shouldn’t ignore. It can search for your brand’s linked and unlinked mentions, which shows you the brands and influencers that you should build relationships with.

6. The Content Marketing Trifecta Equation

If you are dealing with clients, executives, stakeholders, and business partners, you’ll know that sometimes it’s best to go straight to the point and provide them what matters most in the content marketing KPIs of company revenue: ROI. In this case, you’ll need to look for the average rates of earned traffic, leads, and sales. These three will serve as the benchmark numbers needed to compute the ROI associated with conversions from content marketing.

The Content Marketing Trifecta Equation helps you estimate how many leads and sales you can expect to see per month using content marketing. We actually used this equation in our own blogging ROI case study.

  • Monthly Visitors x 16% Organic Traffic to Lead Conversion Rate = X Leads/Month
  • X Leads/Month x 14% Lead to Sale Conversion Rate = X Sales/Month

Take note that the “16% Organic Traffic to Lead Conversion Rate” is the current average rate for converting organic traffic to leads across industries, based on a MarketingSherpa’s 2013 SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey. Moreover, studies show that leads generated from SEO have an average close rate of 14%, thus “14% Lead to Sale Conversion Rate” is used in the equation.
Learn more about how you can compute and explain the ROI of content marketing in this infographic.
How do you track content marketing KPIs? ?️‍♀️ Some of the most practical paid tools you can use include SEMrush and BuzzSumo. But there's also free to use tools like Google Analytics and your favorite social platform's analytics page! ? Click To Tweet

Content Marketing KPIs Measure Your Success

Keeping track of these 12 KPIs will show you if you’re succeeding or failing in content marketing. Not getting good results from one or more indicates serious trouble for your brand.
On the other hand, if all 12 are performing well, you can sit back, relax, and celebrate a little. But don’t forget to get back to work tracking them once the party’s over.
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