You know what they say about opinions — everyone has one. And when it comes to your content pieces, sure, opinions are helpful. But objective data? That’s indisputable. Objective data tells you, without a shadow of a doubt, which content is benefiting you and which isn’t.
But where do you get this objective data? Key performance indicators. KPIs are performance markers that give you insights into the impact of your content marketing. Of course, there are innumerable KPIs. So, which should you track?
We’ve compiled seven KPIs that can help guide your content marketing efforts in the right direction by telling you what content is thriving and what content might be falling short.
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Why your company needs to track content marketing KPIs
Without a quantitative understanding of how your content is performing, you won’t ever know if your content marketing efforts are really working. An educated guess might get you in the ballpark if you’re lucky, but without setting KPIs that can actually show you how you’re doing in a measurable way — it’s ultimately futile.
In fact, Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 report found that 83% of the most successful content marketers utilize KPIs to measure content initiatives. It’s clear that the best and brightest content marketers are not only putting together documented content marketing strategies; they’re also measuring them against specific KPIs that they set.
But content marketers are still hungry to learn more about how their audiences consume content. According to a survey conducted by Contently, “50% of respondents expressed a desire to be able to measure how much real attention people are paying to their content.” That means content marketers still need to track KPIs that can tell them how people are interacting with their content, not just how often.
With roughly 70% of marketers making investments into their content marketing strategies, the competition is stiff, and you need every competitive advantage you can get. Tracking the right KPIs can help you stay ahead of the competition by giving your audience the content they want on a consistent basis.
Content marketing KPIs you should be tracking
If you want to get a fuller picture of how impactful your content marketing efforts are, there are specific KPIs you should be tracking. Here are seven crucial KPIs that your company’s content marketing efforts should be tracked along.
Backlinks are the number of outside links that link back to your website.
How to track it: The easiest way to measure your backlink traffic is by using a tool that can track the number of backlinks your content is receiving. Alexa’s Competitive Backlink Checker tool can show you the percentage of backlinks your site is receiving amongst up to nine competitors.
Why it’s important: More backlinks to your content translates into better overall visibility to users. Google also rewards sites that have a higher concentration of backlinks because it will recognize your content as being more reputable since other sites are linking to it regularly. There’s even an opportunity to become an influencer within your industry if you continue to register a high volume of inbound links through your content strategy.
Engaged time tells you how much time users are spending engaging with your content.
How to track it: Parse.ly uses a “heartbeat” pixel that allows you to track content engagement by producing a signal that lets the system know whether or not a user is still engaged with a piece of content. Parse.ly can help you determine specific engaged time with content metrics, such as total engaged minutes and average engaged minutes.
Why it’s important: Knowing how engaged users are with your content can help you understand how people are consuming it. Unlike using your bounce rate as a KPI, engaged time isn’t reliant on entry/exit events, so each visit is measured in a more accurate way. You can differentiate between a longer and a shorter visit. For example, there’s a difference between someone who spends 10 seconds on a web page and leaves and someone who spends 15 minutes on that same page before leaving.
Share of voice
Share of voice shows the amount of organic traffic a website has produced for a specific keyword.
How to track it: Alexa has a share of voice tool that can easily identify your keyword share of voice percentage. All you need to do is input your target keyword to see where you rank among competitors for a particular keyword.
Why it’s important: Share of voice is important in helping you understand how much authority your company has on a specific industry topic. The bigger your share of voice, the more authority you have as an expert on a particular topic in the eyes of users and Google. Because of that, it’s also an important KPI in helping build your overall brand awareness.
Social shares tell you the amount of times a piece of content is shared through social media channels.
How to track it: Parse.ly has built-in functionality that can help you track social shares. Parse.ly can show you all the sources of traffic that are coming from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more. This is done through Parse.ly’s social referrals metric located in the dashboard. There is also the ability to see how many likes and comments your content is getting with the social interactions metric.
Why it’s important: With 94% of marketers using social media for content distribution, you need to know which social media channels are the most successful for your company. Knowing where you’re getting the most social-sharing traction will help you tailor your content marketing efforts to target specific social media channels with high organic traffic.
Top sections tell you the top-performing sections on your website.
How to track it: Use Parse.ly to track all of the top-performing sections of your website. The platform can tell you which sections are receiving the most pageviews and engaged time. Parse.ly even generates a Top Listings Report that gives you insight into the most popular sections, tags, authors, and pieces of content on your site.
Why it’s important: If you know the top-performing sections on your website, you can create more content that is specifically designed around those sections. For example, if your “tutorials” section within your blog is thriving with plenty of engagement and pageviews, you can build more content centered around that particular section.
Conversions tell you the number of times a desired action has been completed as a result of your content marketing efforts.
How to track it: Parse.ly Conversions Premium is the most effective and easiest way to track conversions. This feature can help you find detailed conversion information such as which content converts the largest amount of readers, which content contributes to the most conversions, and which types of conversions are the best for your content.
Why it’s important: Conversions tell you if your content is doing enough to get readers to take an action. Whether that’s a purchase or simply downloading an eBook or report, having knowledge of your conversions is paramount in measuring the success of your content marketing strategy — it’s the “mission accomplished” aspect of your content performance.
Website traffic sources
Website traffic sources tell you the source of your website traffic.
How to track it: Website traffic sources can be found under the Acquisition tab in Google Analytics in the Source/Medium report. It breaks down traffic based on the source channel, with some examples being Google/organic, email/Mailchimp, and CPC/Google.
Parse.ly, however, offers an even more user-friendly solution. All you need to do is click the “Referrers” tab located in the dashboard where you can find organic traffic sources. If you want to track paid acquisition, you can simply click the “Campaigns” tab where all that information is available. Parse.ly even allows drilldowns by referrer category or groups of campaigns.
Why it’s important: This shows you where your website users are coming from. It reveals your percentage breakdown based on the source to help you identify the channels bringing the highest ROI. If you know the majority of your traffic is coming from organic search, for example, you can put more time and money into content marketing campaigns centered around SEO.
Measure your content marketing KPIs with accuracy
Content marketing KPIs aren’t just something to measure arbitrarily; you need to constantly keep track of them and refine them to have a better idea of the impact your content marketing efforts are having.
Whether you’re trying to maximize your content marketing ROI with higher conversion rates or enhance user experience and find new leads, the bottom line is that your content marketing success hinges on the right KPIs being in place.
Parse.ly can help you track all the most important content marketing KPIs with accuracy and ease. Sign up for a free trial today to unlock the secrets to top-performing content today.