Trying to prove the effectiveness of your content marketing campaigns can be difficult to say the least. While stats like referral traffic, engaged page time and customer acquisition/conversion costs should all play a part in your program analysis, keep in mind that content marketing is also a slow burn. You may not be able to draw an immediate, straight line between content consumption and increased sales, and that’s okay. Just as an online survey can only provide limited insight into brand awareness, content marketing analytics are a small snapshot into the current state of your bigger brand building efforts.
That said, if you need immediate stats that are actually relevant and meaningful, start here:
Tool #1: Google Analytics.
What to measure: referral traffic sources.
There’s a wealth of data to be gleaned from Google Analytics, which can feel overwhelming at first. Narrow your focus to the stats that matter most. Start by looking at referral visits: how many visits are you receiving from content that’s posted on other websites? What about social media channels? Utilize the Acquisition/All Referrals and Acquisition/Social Reports feature to measure which content pieces resonate best with others (and consequently are linked in other blogs and websites) as well as which content pieces generate the most social referral traffic across different channels. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have very different audiences, so knowing which pieces resonate best on which network will help you refine you content creation and distribution process.
Tool #2: ChartBeat.
What to measure: audience attention.
A personal favorite of mine, ChartBeat achieves what other analytics platforms can’t: going beyond superficial metrics to analyze the depth of content interaction. All traffic is not created equal. This is why pageviews is a pretty worthless metric. Click data (e.g., click through rates, pageviews, etc.) can tell you if your headlines are enticing, but this information fails to provide any concrete engagement metrics. Enter ChartBeat. ChartBeat measures content quality by quantifying how long a reader stays on a specific piece of content and how far down the page the reader goes. Major players in the so-called “attention economy” – The New York Times, Forbes, Digital Content Next – use ChartBeat to track second-by-second visitor attention. Last year, Upworthy followed suit by announcing it was tracking “Attention Minutes” rather than unique: “Unique visitors are fine but reward breadth over depth of user experience.”
Tool #3: Marketo.
What to measure: lead generation.
According to Marketo, the average buyer guides themselves through 60 to 90 percent of the traditional sales funnel before ever contacting a brand or sales person, and 81 percent of shoppers do online research before ever setting foot in a store. In this buyer-driven environment, content is key for attracting, informing and engaging an audience. For agencies, Marekto’s best content marketing tools focus specifically on lead generation and lead cultivation. Want to know how many leads your latest B2B white paper generated or where these leads are three, six or nine months down the road? Marketo’s sales funnel analysis has you covered.
Erin M ghostwrites extensively on behalf of B2B companies to support their content marketing and thought leadership campaigns, and her clients range from major Fortune 500 companies to small business startups. When not crafting custom content solutions for her clients, you can find her adding stamps to her passport, scuba diving, or perfecting her secret cheesecake recipe.