How do you measure the effectiveness of content? Content marketing has come a long way and there are now definitive metrics to answer this question. Here are 29 of the best metrics labeled by channel (i.e. blog/site, email, social media, assets and feeds) and grouped by the type of metric (i.e. consumption metrics, retention metrics).
Page Views: Page views tell you how many and which of your content pages your visitors are consuming, which can help you identify the content that’s performing well.
Unique visitors: Page views can be skewed by visitors who click through several pages or repeat visitors, so unique visitor stats tell you the overall size of your audience and how much of your traffic is repeat visitors.
Average time on page: Average time on a page gives you insight into whether people are quickly skimming your content or sticking around to consume it more slowly.
Email opens: Email tools like MailChimp, Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot or Act-On can tell you how many people opened your email and at what time. This offers insight into the best time of day to send emails and effective subject lines.
Email clicks: Those same email tools can tell you which links within your email were most popular, which could help you choose more clickable links and anchor text for the future.
Asset downloads / Form Completions: For gated content, you can use your marketing automation tool to measure form completions; in other words, how many times someone fills out the form preceding the content completely and with valid information.
Return rate: Return rate shows you how many of your visitors are return visitors vs. new ones. It’s good to have a mix of returning and new visitors, but you’ll have a different relationship with these two groups.
Bounce rate: Bounce rate is calculated based on two clicks: the entry click and the exit click. If both those clicks occur from the same page on your site, that is counted as a “bounce” because the reader didn’t click on other links to explore your site.
Page per visit: While bounce rate measures the numbers of people who leave without clicking to any other pages on your site, pages per visit quantifies people who do click around.
Unsubscribes and opt-outs: You can track retention of existing email list subscribers by keeping an eye on unsubscribes and opt-outs. Similarly, you will want to track new subscribers to see if you can grow your list at the same time.
Follower count: For social media, the primary means of retaining a visitor is receiving a “follow” from them, so they can continue to get updates and hopefully come back to your site. To track follower growth over time, there are many services that you can use such as Twitter Counter.
Feed subscribers: Similar to emails, you can measure the number of feed subscribers to gauge retention. This can be done using a feed analytics tool like FeedBurner or FeedBlitz.
Social media shares: What type of content motivates visitors to share? With a tool like SharedCount, you can get a unified statistic on the number of shares of piece of content across all networks.
Social media likes: Similar to social media shares, you can measure likes (or favorites) as a way of gauging shares since “liked” content often shows up on the feeds of friends and followers.
Comments: The number of comments on a given piece of content can give you a feel for engagement. But, keep in mind that many conversations now happen on social media rather than in a blog comment field.
Session duration: Session duration, also called dwell time, is the length of time a visitor spends on your site during a visit across multiple pages.
Page depth: This shows you how many pages your visitors are visiting per session. Are they just reading one piece of content and then leaving? Or are they very interested and consuming several pieces of content?
New leads generated: To find the number of leads generated, use your marketing automation tool and CRM to calculate how many new leads came into your database after touching a piece of content.
Existing leads touched: To find the number of leads touched, use your marketing automation tool and CRM to calculate how many existing leads in your database interacted with a piece of content.
Funnel conversion rate: Which pieces of content helped convert leads lower into the funnel the most?
Pipeline generated: Using a first-touch attribution model, you can aggregate the total dollar value of all opportunities where the first touch of the lead associated with the opportunity was with a piece of your content.
Pipeline touched: You can aggregate the total dollar value of all opportunities where the lead associated with the opportunity has touched a particular piece of content.
Revenue influenced: Look at the dollar value of revenue closed where the contact associated with the deal consumed one or more pieces of your content prior to converting.
Production / Cost Metrics
Time to publish: How long does your team take to move from an idea to a published piece of content? Measuring this timeline will give insights into content creation process and your team’s efficiency.
Content throughput: This refers to the volume of content your team or individual team members produce over a given time (say a month). It’s another metric to assess your team’s efficiency.
Content backlog: Content backlog will give you a sense of how quickly your readers are consuming your content. Compute the Average Number of Days between Posts divided by the Average Days Since Last Visit.
Production cost per post / piece: Calculate your costs per piece based on staff time or freelance invoices. This metric is helpful for future budget and planning purposes.
Distribution costs per post: Content distribution is a growing expense that can sometimes exceed the initial product costs of a piece. Tally up costs like time or money spent promoting on social media or using native advertising networks.