Kick-Butt KPI: Key Performance Indicators for Measuring Your Content’s Success

Posted on July 7, 2015 by Alana M

kick buttSuccess is nothing if it can’t be measured – after all, how do we know we’re doing anything “right” if there isn’t some sort of quantifiable way to be sure? In the content marketing world there are a number of key performance indicators (KPI) that can help you gauge not just the reach of your marketing campaign but also its efficacy. Back in the day, when content marketing and I were both bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, “hits” were all that mattered, but now we know that it’s stickiness vs. bounce rate, engagement combined with conversion, etc. To that end, here are a few marketing measuring tools (aka KPI) that you need to know in order to really know. You know?

Unique Visitors

This is perhaps closest to the “hits” statistic that we all know and are comfortable with save for one important difference: While hits measure every visitor that drops by your site, unique visitors refers to how many different people have stopped by to say hi. This is an essential KPI for any business, period, but it’s even more important for businesses that are working with varying forms of content and want to see which pieces (or authors, *ahem*) are garnering the most unique hits.

Bounce Rates

“Bounce rate” is a fun, insider-ish way of referring to how long a user stays on your site. I’m purposely mentioning this KPI right after we talked about unique visitors because the two go hand in hand. You can have all the web traffic you could possibly dream of, but if they’re only on your site long enough to see your design is wonky or that your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re really up Internet creek without a marketing strategy, if you get my drift. If people aren’t staying on your site, you’re either not delivering the content that were expecting to see or you’re delivering it in a way that isn’t working for them. I strongly suggest you get some marketing measurement tools and figure out why.

Click Patterns

I find this to be one of the most fascinating examples of KPI out there today. It used to be that you could only tell when people were visiting your site, but know you can tell what part of each page they’re reading down to the pictures they hover over and which sections of a page users are gravitating towards most. Neil Bhapkar of UberFlip talked about heat maps and click patterns in an article for the Content Marketing Institute, citing the easy and ability of tools like CrazyEgg, Uberflip’s Zoom Points, and Google Analytics.

Social Shares

Who doesn’t love it when they post a new piece of content and their Twitter notifications start blowing up, right? There’s a great piece by Jason Miller at the Social Media Examiner that discusses ways to track social media traction in far more detail than we have space for here. Jason says, “Content is the fuel for your social media engine, but if it’s not relevant and useful, it’s a waste of digital space,” and in my opinion he couldn’t be more correct. By all means measure how many shares you’re getting on social media, but beware of “vanity metrics,” as Miller calls them, and make sure you know what’s going on beyond the flurry of “likes” and clicks.

Writer Bio: Alana M is fascinated by click patterns. When she isn’t hard at work writing all kinds of witty and engaging content, she enjoys long walks on the beach, lion taming, nuclear physics and lying about her hobbies.


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