The 10 Most Important Content Marketing KPIs

The 10 Most Important Content Marketing KPIs

Philippa Dods
8 November 2018

KPIs – Key Performance Indicators – are not only essential in content marketing. Every business activity, including every aspect of Marketing, should be measured and evaluated using metrics. This is the only way you can safely determine which components of your marketing strategy work and which do not. If you and your team are running content marketing, you should measure the results of your efforts accordingly.

However, there are many different metrics that can help identify the success of marketing activities. In this blog post, we take a close look at the 10 Most Important Content Marketing KPIs for your brand. We’ll look at why accurate measurement is important, and what exactly the top KPIs are. Grab a cup of coffee and get stuck in.

Bonus Extra: Watch this free on-demand Webinar on How to Prove Your PR Works: Measuring the Metrics That Matter.

What Are Content Marketing KPIs?

We know that KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator, however, it is not clear what exactly that means. A KPI is a quantifiable measure of how the performance of marketing campaigns can be tracked over time. Content marketing KPIs specifically help to figure out if a particular type of content is helpful in achieving higher-level goals. For example, you can see if certain topic blocks on your site are generating more organic traffic, or if some formats keep readers on the site longer than others. KPIs can also be used to find out if certain content delivers a barely noticeable performance.

An important note about tracking content marketing KPIs is that they are not set in stone. Often, what you are measuring at the beginning of your content marketing strategy will have completely changed one month later.

Measuring content marketing KPIs - Meltwater Africa Blog

What is The Importance of Content Marketing KPIs?

There is a fundamental advantage that KPIs bring to one’s content marketing strategy – they illustrate whether you’re on track or not.

Generally, the creation of content takes a comparatively long time, especially for high-quality content that impacts SEO and intercepts the right target group, which is why setting and aiming to achieve the appropriate KPIs is incredibly important.

“Running a content marketing campaign without metrics is like going on a diet and not measuring yourself.” 

If you don’t know whether the actions you’re taking are beneficial or detrimental, you simply won’t get anywhere. You won’t know if you’re getting closer to your goal, or further away. Having strong content marketing KPIs in place is a huge help in discovering how many people are reading your content and where they come from, and even how long they have been engaging with your content. This, in turn, will give you an indication of what to do more of, where to share your content and who to target. KPIs will also indicate whether the type of content you are providing is relevant to your audience at all.

Use a media monitoring tool to help you keep track of how your KPIs are being evaluated.

There are monitoring tools to help you keep track of how your KPIs are being evaluated. With this, you can create personalized dashboards that can keep you and your team up-to-date with the progress of your content marketing campaigns in real-time.

Bonus Extra: Get a free demo of the Meltwater media monitoring tool here

the importance of content marketing kpis

Which content marketing KPIs should you focus on?

Now let’s get to the juicy bit. Of all the KPIs, how do you know which are the ones to be tracking? Keep in mind that different measurements may be important at different times in your campaigns – but here are our top 10 content marketing KPIs and how to measure them.

1. Visitors (Unique Visitors)

The number of unique website visitors is arguably the most important KPI when it comes to content marketing, and 88% of respondents of an eConsultancy study use Unique Visitor count to measure the success of their content. It’s an important metric because it shows how many people your content got on to your website for the first time, as opposed to all views or returning visitors – which could include employees or yourself.

You can use Google Analytics to set up the tracking of site visitors. Although, be warned, the number of site visitors also has a problem that you may not be aware of: If your contribution was only read by ten people, the ratio of all other metrics will also change. This means that each individual reader has a greater impact on the results of all other average metrics. For example, if one of these ten readers stays on the page much longer than the other visitors, one user will drive up the average time spent by all users. Keep that in mind and, among other things, look closely at the number of your readers. Having said that, it’s always interesting to know how many people have landed on your posts. Therefore, the Unique Visitors KPI should always be considered.

2. Duration (Time Spent)

The length of time visitors spend on your site plays an important role in general, but especially in helping your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). The longer the average time visitors spend on your posts, the chances of ranking highly on Google increases. Google prefers the Duration KPI because it sees users on your site for a long time as an indication that you are providing high quality, relevant and interactive content. This is appreciated not only by Google but also by your target audience.

The only way to increase the duration of time spent on your page by unique visitors is to create meaningful content that your target group finds interesting and engaging enough to read it all.

Why visitors may be spending a short duration on your site:

  • You’re sharing and marketing your content to the wrong audience, so when they arrive on your site, they realise your content is not relevant to them.
  • You don’t have an About or Contact page (the next two most highly-clicked pages after visiting a homepage).
  • You’re overpromising and underdelivering
  • There is a bug giving visitors spam pop-ups everytime they click on something on your page.

Some tips to increase the duration of time spent on your site include:

  • Writing long-form, engaging content on your blog
  • Incorporate visual content on your landing page: high-quality pictures and videos
  • Create an interactive survey or quiz that site visitors can take

duration spent on website - content marketing kpis

3. Bounce Rate

When you’re working hard to increase your site’s search performance, one of the things that you should do is to reduce a high bounce rate. In other words, a high bounce rate is a symptom that something is wrong in your strategy – you’re not attracting the right site visitor or the visitors coming don’t have a good user experience. 

When a user (e.g., customer, prospect, or reader) visits your site on any page (known as an entrance page) and leaves without visiting other pages on the same domain, that’s a bounce. Your bounce rate is the percentage of all users who enter and exit on the same page, without any clicks to other pages on your site. High bounce could mean you don’t have an enticing, well-organized landing page. You might not have a landing page at all, creating CTA confusion on your main home page.

 Tips to increase your bounce rate and conversation rate:

  • Improve your content’s readability: Use a legible font, use headings sub-headings and make sure your paragraphs aren’t too long.
  • Avoid spammy pop-ups: Pop-ups are a great way to gather email addresses but they disrupt the UX, so use sparingly.
  • Create a compelling CTA: This could be to your Products page, Contact page or to “Start a Free Trial” – just ensure it is clear and compelling.

4. Number of Backlinks

Don’t overlook your inbound linking strategy as you think about search engine optimization and effective content marketing KPIs for your site. An inbound link is a hyperlink back to your site from another Web site. The one constant and reliable strategy in search engine optimization is that sites with a variety of high-quality backlinks rank higher in the search engine results pages.

Why these links are important to your website:

  • bring potential customers to your site when they click on the link
  • boost the number of visitors to your Web site
  • dramatically improve your search engine rankings

search engine optimisation and content marketing kpis - meltwater blog

5. Traffic Source

Next, it’s vital to have a look at your traffic source(s).

Knowing where your website traffic is coming from, and where it’s not coming from, is incredibly beneficial when it comes to content seeding and dissemination. If you’re getting significant traffic from LinkedIn, and little from Facebook, then it may be time and money efficient to take a break from Facebook and sponsor some posts on LinkedIn.  Similarly, if you have an influencer marketing strategy in place, you should be tracking the success of each influencer and each platform to understand the success of the collaboration.

With Bitly, you can create your own individual links so you can track exactly how many site visitors arrived at your website from which source. With Google Analytics, you can also create tracking codes that you can use to measure traffic from individual sources. Use this in addition to media monitoring tools for an all-rounder analysis of your content marketing KPIs.

Often, measuring traffic source as a content marketing KPI will surprise you. You may discover where some of your target audience is, that you never would have otherwise.

traffic on website - most important content marketing kpis

6. Location of Visitors

The location of your own target group is important in order to adapt to the conditions of different markets.

Tracking the location of visitors helps you find out where most readers of your published posts are in your own content marketing strategy. For example, with your content marketing strategy you may be trying to reach a target audience in South Africa – but in an evaluation, it may turn out that most users come from Kenya.

From this, you can draw very different conclusions. Either you have to change and adapt your strategy and your published content, In order to better address the desired target group in South Africa, or to seize the market opportunity in Kenya and continue to reach the target group. The expansion of other international editorial content can also be a strategic advantage here. The location of local visitors is important too. For example, if a brand has an online store that is based in Cape Town, but website visitors are coming from Johannesburg – it may be time to expand deliveries to different cities.

7. Social Shares

These days hitting “like” on a post is a passive, mindless action. Likes are good and you definitely want them, but sharing is a conscious decision. When someone shares or retweets your post they are giving a personal recommendation to their friends, colleagues, and family. Because of this, shares are a great indication of the quality of your work.

Therefore, the number of shares on social media platforms works as an effective KPI as it gives insight into how people respond to your content. If you are sharing your content to the same audience at the same time each week, but some pieces are getting many more shares than others, it may be a sign that you need to avoid the content of the lesser-shared pieces.

social media shares for content marketing kpi

8. Devices

It’s imperative to understand whether your audiences are engaging with your content on their desktop, tablet or smartphone.

If your website and content is not optimised for every type of device that your audience uses, it’s likely that the user experience will suffer because the design is wrong, the duration of time spent on your site will decrease and bounce rates will fluctuate.

It’s important to not only have your site optimised for every device – but also to be checking which devices your visitors are using. Often, the proportion of mobile users will be surprisingly high. In a study from Think with Google, it was reported that almost twice as many users use their smartphone every day to visit websites than they do on a laptop desktop. Today, “mobile” doesn’t cut it – different iPhone models, for example, all have different sizes. Your best bet would be to make sure your website is completely responsive – this means that the layout and design of each page automatically adjusts according to the screen size of the device used.

how to use whatsapp as a marketing tool - meltwater africa

9. Generated Leads

The overall aim of most content marketing efforts is, ultimately, to generate leads. Therefore, tracking how many leads have been generated from specific pieces of content, is necessary.

Lead generation is also one of the most important factors for measuring your ROI.

A simple way to measure the number of generated leads from your content marketing is to set specific events to be triggered by desired actions. For example, if the goal of your blog post is to generate Webinar registrations, you can measure how many visitors read the blog post and then signed up for your Webinar, or left their contact details for more information (see #3 for creating a compelling CTA).

10. Number of New Subscribers / Followers

Last but not least, we recommend you keep track of the number of new subscribers and followers you are gaining.

The total number of people following your brand on social media indicate your reach without any engagement. This is the total amount of people that could see your post and have actively said they want to.

Remember, while these are all smart choices, you should only focus on the social media KPIs that are most relevant to the platforms your brand is active on and that have the most relevance to your audience’s behaviour. Every audience is different. If your ideal buyer isn’t inclined to hitting “like,” but is still closing, don’t beat yourself up about it. Track what makes sense and actually reflects success.

Do you need any help or advice in evaluating your campaigns and monitoring your set KPIs? You are welcome to chat to the Meltwater India team and book your free demo today.