Although analytics and reporting may sound the same, they aren’t. Dive into the difference between the two to learn which one you need.
Reporting | Sep 24
Mara Calvello on March 31, 2021 (last modified on April 1, 2021) • 18 minute read
Creating content is harder than it sounds.
From choosing the right keywords to creating an eye-catching title, a lot goes into building content for your website.
Whether it’s a sparkling new landing page or a new addition to your blog, how do you know if all of your hard work is paying off?
There’s a long list of metrics that you can track to see how your content is performing. We’ve narrowed it down to 15 so you can have a better understanding of what your team should be keeping an eye on.
Out of all of the answers we’ve got from experts, the answer of conversion rates was the most popular. Improving your lead conversion rate is no simple task, but your content can help get you there.
First up to explain why conversion rate is so important is Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media Studios, who shares, “Some of your articles are better mousetraps than others. It’s tricky, but if you calculate the conversion rate from visitor to subscriber for each of your articles, you’ll know exactly which posts to promote. Relaunch them, keep them in social rotation, and link to them from your highest-traffic posts. Boom. You put your best cheese on your best mousetrap. The calculation is a little tricky. You need to divide the number of times when that post was ‘previous step – 1’ in the reverse goal report with the number of unique pageviews for each post.”
Also a big fan of tracking the conversion rate of published content is Ben Heinkel at Ethical Clothing. “When we’re looking at a content program whose aim is to drive leads, the conversion rate of visitors to leads for each content piece is without a doubt the most important metric. That shows how good the content is at turning our readers into interested leads, as well as if we are attracting the kinds of readers that would be interested in our service or product,” states Heinkel.
Adding to the draw of conversion rates is Dr. Thomas Brown from BabelQuest who elaborates, “It is important to our clients that their content initiatives are having a tangible impact on their bottom line. It is important to us that we are able to prove the impact of our content. A focus on conversion rates and the number of leads generated bridges the gap between content created and the leads hitting our clients’ pipelines, putting us in a really strong position and validating the clients’ content investments.”
Ashley Cummings from Ashley R. Cummings also pays special attention to the conversion rate of the high-quality content she creates for customers. “When I write content for my clients, I first want to know what the conversion rates are for a particular piece of content. The goal of content marketing is to engage readers and boost sales. I know I’m successful if the content is converting. I also want to know the organic search rankings for the content I’ve written. This tells me I’m hitting the mark and producing high-quality content,” adds Cummings.
Looking for a lead that can turn into a deal? Tracking conversion rates will get you there, according to Erik Wright from New Horizon Home Buyers, who shares, “Conversions are most important to us because that is the lead that can turn into a deal.
All the content we put out is for one of two reasons:
When people spend time on a website reading and clicking around, Google tracks these actions. The more relevant Google rates a website the higher it appears in organic searches. Having engaging content will increase our search rankings and therefore provide us with more leads.”
While a lot of metrics can be considered your tried-and-true bottom line, for Dan Potter at CRAFTD, it’s all about how your content converts. “Most importantly, I see if the traffic from our social media and website is generating sales. The conversion rate is your bottom line. Popularity with engagement on social sites and frequent web traffic is appealing, yet for us as a jewelry line, that alone isn’t sufficient. If your company is not maintaining a high enough ROI, you won’t be in business for too long. Although we do value engagement to boost brand awareness and increase authority online, the overall conversion rate is what matters most. We can effectively track this using Google Analytics viewing value per visit,” explains Potter.
* Editor’s note: Take advantage of the free Google Analytics Dashboard template from Database that provides a complete insight into crucial website metrics, like bounce rate, conversion rates, time on page, and so much more.
If your sales team can’t use the content you’re creating to bring in qualified buyers, it’s time to come up with a new way to write content.
Jessica Ayre at Text Request, elaborates on this point by sharing, “Content should be a great asset for your sales team to share with prospects. It should also be a resource for upselling and educating current customers. If you want to bring in new people, your content should aim to bring in qualified buyers.”
Finally, Jonathan Aufray from Growth Hackers Company drives this tip home by adding, “Focusing on the number of leads your content generated is essential. Bounce rate, new visitors, and other metrics are secondary. What you want is to get qualified and targeted traffic, generate leads, and make sales. That’s how you can measure the success of your content program.”
If the content your team is taking the time to create doesn’t interest your customers, answer their most critical questions, or keep them coming back for more, chances are you’ve missed the mark.
Take the advice of Jessica Lewis from Relative Insight who elaborates, “Relative Insight is a SaaS company and our content marketing strategy has been designed to educate prospective customers about how our technology works. Through the content we create, our aim is simple – to pique people’s interest and inspire them to want to see the technology in action.”
At the end of the day, you want your content to support your business initiatives, and chances are good that you want your business to make money.
As you hit publish on your content, be sure to track how it’s influencing total revenue. For this, Jeff Ferguson at Amplitude Digital recommends, “One of the biggest problems we see when working with clients on content marketing is a misunderstanding of the various metrics associated with the consumer journey. For years, various bloggers have churned out posts telling people to be focused on traffic or engagement metrics; however, that only tells part of the story. Just about anything could be considered ‘content,’ including product pages on an eCommerce or Direct to Consumer website. While it would still be important to consider traffic and engagement metrics for these pages, end the end, revenue is the ultimate KPI.”
In addition to revenue, you should also be tracking and calculating ROI, return on investment.
We got a lot of experts who wanted to stress the importance of ROI and content, and the first one here to share is Adam Connell from Startup Bonsai. “ROI is a critical metric for any business to track because it lets you know exactly which channels are working for you,” shares Connell.
Here to elaborate on ROI further is Sanket Shah at InVideo. “The main purpose of updating the site content is to get more traffic to the website. ROI of content marketing depends on how much people are engaging with our content, how are they responding. If our content will be unique and of high quality, it will surely be a good ROI,” adds Shah.
Also a fan of tracking ROI for your marketing campaigns is Kevin Kohlert at Borealis Digital Marketing. Kohlert adds, “The most effective way to measure the success of your content program is by measuring goals/conversions with Google Analytics and/or a third-party Analytics program. This may include phone calls, contact form submissions, sales from ecommerce, etc. If customers are taking action after visiting your page, you can assume that your content is serving the needs of your prospective clients/customers. At the end of the day, ROI is everything for any marketing campaign.”
Before we dive into the various engagement metrics that you should be tracking from your content, Shae Blevins at Greteman Group wants to stress that they all matter.
“Engagement metrics are some of the most important onsite metrics we use to determine whether or not our content turned out to be successful. Pages per session are especially important because we want to see users exploring our website after reading our content. Time on \site is also important, especially if we’re seeing a higher bounce rate. Perhaps the user just read the content, and through our targeting, we can bring them back again and again until they’re ready to explore more. Event tracking on our CTAs in content and across the website allows us to see which content drove people to act, subscribe or purchase,” shares Blevins.
Alright, let’s elaborate a little more on the individual engagement metrics that you can track after you publish content.
First up is page views, and Rebecca Cartwright at Nettitude is starting things off by sharing, “Page views are one of the most basic metrics and help us to know if people are actually able to find our content. Combined with bounce rate metrics, we can find out if it was compelling enough to read properly. When measuring the success rate of our blog, page views tell us what content is most popular. Additional metrics enable us to see if it’s led to a lead submission of further viewing of our key commercial pages.
CTR tells us if our social posts are compelling, if they’re doing their job of taking people to the website, and most importantly if we’re attracting the right target audience with the right content. Form conversions So it’s great that people are reading our content, but what’s the impact? That’s the most important part. Form conversions tell us if someone submits an inquiry, downloads our whitepaper, or subscribes to the blog. If we get form conversions, we know our content is creating a real impact on the bottom line – generating marketing qualified leads.”
Another important engagement metric your team needs to track from content is the time your customers are spending on your site.
Starting this engagement metric off is Brian Stewart at ProsperoWeb, LLC. “We track how long people spend on our site and how many pages they visit in each session to see if they are truly engaged with our content. The aim is to keep them on our site for as long as possible so that they can read more of our relevant content. This crucial engagement is critical to our company’s success, as our clients must understand why we are different from our competitors and why we are the best at what we do,” shares Stewart.
Adding to the importance of time on site is Storm McManus of Storm Marketing Consultancy, who states, “The longer a visitor spends on your page, the more interested they are in the content you’re offering. This tells me as a content marketer that the content is solving some kind of problem for the visitor (engaging them, entertaining them, educating them).
Furthermore, if the visitor takes up the CTA on the page (which all website content should have) then this is an indication of highly converting content. If the same visitor browses your site beyond just the one page, then this is an indication that your content speaks to them and their problem.”
Also here to stress that time on site is a metric you should be tracking is Brian Lindamood at Questline Inc. “You must determine if your audience finds your topics helpful and interesting. You can gauge this by looking at page views, which is the highest-level measure of a content asset’s popularity. This can include traffic to content from social media, email, and Google search results.
To determine if popular content is also effective at reaching program goals it’s important to look at engagement metrics such as time on page. If a piece of content has a large number of views but less than an average of 30 seconds spent on-page, you can discern that visitors are not finding it useful or engaging,” elaborates Lindamood.
Looking to increase social media conversions? Your content can do that. But only if you take the time to track metrics from social, like social shares.
Brian Dechesare from Breaking Into Wall Street explains this metric further by sharing, “Looking at the social share count of any content page is critical to understand which content hits well with consumers, and which doesn’t. SERP rank is a great indicator of overall content program success, as a brand’s rank should slowly rise as consumers start to have more trust in your brand, increasing overall authority.”
Another engagement metric that your team should consider as it tracks its content is the bounce rate.
Here to share more on bounce rate is Rohan Kadam at Vital Feedz. “I run an informational website and hence the success of my content is directly proportional to the revenue that my business makes. I track many metrics to decide if my content is successful. The most important metrics for me to track are bounce rate, number of subscribers, and number of shares. These three metrics allow me to see how well my content is being engaged with by my readers. I aspire to add value to my reader’s life through my content.
When I see that my bounce rate is low, it means that my readers are enjoying my content and finding it valuable. I rely on my email subscribers because my subscribers act like my content advocates. The email subscribers help me promote my content well. Hence whenever I put out good content, I immediately measure if I have gained new subscribers. Lastly, social media channels act as a good resource of traffic hence I measure the social shares that my content has received.”
No matter the type of content you’re creating, the keywords you write for, or the industry you’re in, it’s absolutely crucial that you track how your content is ranking once it goes live.
Catherine Foo from Zoewebs shares further by adding, “When the blog article is ranked at the top positions at Google, I will know my content is unique, SEO-friendly, and can provide values or knowledge that readers would like to know. Also, I can check for the web page view/ website traffic by using tools such as SEMrush. Some published content gained satisfied page views or traffic, but some are not, meaning that I can know readers’ preference on certain topics, my content quality, and it helps me to improve my content in the future.”
* Editor’s note: Take advantage of the SEMRush position tracking dashboard via Databox to track changes in your website’s ranking. You’ll get real-time updates regarding the average position, your competitor’s visibility, and more.
Also stressing the importance of how your content is ranking is Antonio Wells at NAMYNOT Inc. As an SEO professional, I personally monitor the first five pages of SERPs. Ranking on pages 2-5 can yield areas that can be improved to the first page. And lastly, traffic is a key metric for my campaigns as with some clients it can translate to leads, or eyeballs’” shares Wells.
How many total sessions is your content bringing to the website? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out.
Total sessions is one of the metrics that Trina Moitra from Convert.com makes a point to track after publishing content. Moitra elaborates to say, “We have a clear delineation between metrics. We use one metric that’s completely in the control of the content team (number of content pieces published in this case) as the Upstream metric.
We have a Downstream metric, which quantifies how we hope the Upstream metric will end up influencing the prospects we hope to influence. Then we have an overall GOAL metric – which is the metric everything is striving to improve. So, the number of content pieces published is our Upstream metric. Blog sessions generated (as a proportion of the total site sessions) gives us an idea of how the content pieces are influencing the traffic. Finally, Free Trials is the metric we look to adjust our core strategies and validate any experiments we run in the Content Team.”
If you’re sending the content your team publishes via email, like in a newsletter or directly to a certain target audience, be sure you’re keeping a close eye on the email open rate, too.
EJ Mitchell at LiveCareer shares, “We know that our content program has been successful once we see increases in traffic to a specific page. However, it’s almost impossible to see traffic peaks without reaching out to your target audience. At LiveCareer, we usually send our articles to journalists and bloggers interested in career and HR topics. As we know, journalists are busy people who get multiple pitches each week. For our content to stand out, we need to create compelling email subject lines that will encourage people to read our content. Then, we check our email open rate and see how we can improve our subject lines in the future.”
If you’re creating content for a small business or a smaller niche audience, you may want to factor in how your content plays a part in your customer retention rate.
Daivat Dholakia from Force By Mojio explains how to do this further. “Our business model depends on people going to our website and learning who we are. We aren’t as dependent on social media as some other brands. The people who use us mostly find us through our website. Also, we depend on customer retention more than attracting every single potential customer. We work with a small niche and small businesses with fleet services in need of management. This means that it’s integral that those people are able to find us and know what we do,” shares Dholakia.
A tried and true metric regarding your SEO strategy and the content you build is backlinks and how many your content has.
Because the number of backlinks is such an important part once your content is published, it’s imperative that you take the time to track how many your content has.
A big fan of keeping an eye on backlinks is Richmond Howard from Greenery Guide. Howard elaborates to say, “ One of my favorite new strategies is to create content that is specifically designed to attract natural backlinks from sites needing sources. I track these using the ‘best by links’ function in Ahrefs.
A few months ago I started keeping track of changes in traffic each month to specific articles. Whenever a site slips in traffic, it tells me that I need to update the article, add internal links, and try to get backlinks to that specific post. I love to keep an eye on articles ranking at the top of page two on Google. These are articles that google already likes, but just need the extra boost to get onto page one.”
At the end of the day, the content you create is unique to your business. Because of this, the success metrics you decide to track once your content is live will vary and it’s up to you to decide what is most important.
Spencer Grover from LevelJump shares more on this last point by adding, “Content unites the entire sales cycle – it’s a continuous thread. But that means that you need different pieces of content for different things, and expecting one piece to be great across all stages is wildly optimistic. Instead, choose the primary success metric for every piece of content you produce, then optimize for that.”
There are a ton of metrics that you and your team can decide to track once you publish content. But remember, there’s no time to waste! The sooner you roll up your sleeves and get started tracking how your content is performing, the more data you’ll have to utilize and learn from.
Reporting | Sep 24
Reporting | Sep 23