Content marketing is an essential piece of the overall marketing strategy for almost every business – whether you know it or not. If you’re using any kind of content to help educate, entertain, inspire or convince potential customers, then you’re doing content marketing.
In fact, the Content Marketing Institution defines content marketing as “the method of publishing relevant and valuable content to your target audience in order to drive profitable action”.
And that’s exactly what you’re doing if you use content – like white papers, blogs, product brochures, videos, infographics, case studies and website pages – in your sales funnel to help inform your leads about what you’re offering and encourage them to convert to a paying customer.
But how do you know if the content in your pipeline is working? What are you measuring to monitor its effectiveness? And do you know what you should be focusing on to improve it?
Here are our top key performance indicators (KPIs), and the metrics you should be measuring to see if your content is effective:
Firstly, as an absolute minimum, you need to understand and measure the volume of your leads/visitors and its impact on your content.
If you want to grow your pipeline, then you’re going to need more potential leads going into it. Many of these are likely to be via your website, but it’s important to understand where those leads have come from before that.
As well as total website traffic, a number you want to be always increasing, you should focus on traffic sources. Are your leads coming from PPC campaigns or from social channels? Are they organic traffic that has found you via your blog?
Knowing the metrics of traffic for each channel will help you set more effective KPIs for the types of content there.
Unique visits are the figure that represents the total number of individual users who have viewed your content over a period of time.
It helps you see how many people have interacted with your content.
Remember that the metrics for different pieces of content will have different values. For example, the number of unique visits to an end-of-the-pipeline case study is going to be much more valuable that the number of visits to an introductory brochure at the start of the funnel.
This metric is a helpful one in seeing which of your content is shared most often by your sales reps. You can use it to set KPIs that encourage your sales team to increase the amount of the content they pass across to the potential customer.
These figures will help you identify which content pieces are most shared and most valued by your sales reps. If there’s a white paper that all the reps like to share, it’s likely they find this a big help in closing a deal.
If there’s a blog your content team think is great but it never gets sent to the lead, there’s a possibility it isn’t useful to the sales team.
Next, you’ll want to know whether or not your content is getting noticed. Are your audience interested in it? Are they taking time to read it? Are they engaged?
Bounce rate is a metric used to show how useful your content is, as it details the percentage of users who ‘bounce’ from your page after landing on it. It shows whether your content matches the user’s intent and is what they are looking for – or if your content isn’t great and causes you to lose your reader.
You can see the bounce rate for individual channels, individual pages and individual content pieces, to help you see what’s effective and what isn’t.
Another way to learn if your content is engaging your prospects is through the ‘Time Spent’ metric. This shows you the average amount of time a user spends on a given page or piece of content.
For example, if you have an in-depth explanatory article that’s 2,000 words long but an average time spent of just twelve seconds, you know that your prospects aren’t reading this article.
You’ll want to track similar metrics of engagement like ‘Length Watched’ and ‘Pages Viewed’ too, in order to set content specific KPIs.
E.g. if you send videos or webinars as part of the content in your pipeline, you’ll want to know how far users are watching. Or if you send white papers or brochures, you’ll need to know how many pages your prospect is reading before they get in touch or drop off.
3. POPULAR CONTENT
Although volume-based metrics tell you how many users you have viewing your content, and engagement-based metrics tell you if the content is useful to prospects, they don’t actually help you understand if your content is popular.
Unique sends might indicate which content is most popular amongst your sales team, but is that the content your customers like best?
Number of Shares
If a web page, a white paper or a blog has been shared with someone else, this is usually a very good indicator that the content is both useful and popular. It was good for the original user, and they thought it would be good for somebody else too.
Include sharing functionality at the bottom of web pages to help you track KPIs, and monitor which posts on social media receive more shares too.
With good sales enablement software for your pipeline, you should also be able to track if any content that was sent directly to a lead has been shared with others in the organisation.
Number of Repeat Visits
If a user is returning again and again to a piece of content, it’s a very good sign that it’s useful and that they are interested in what you have to offer. Measuring repeat visits is a great metric that could help you act quickly when a lead is hot.
If you want to really understand how content is working in your pipeline, you’re going to want to dig down into some demographics. You need to look at individual content pieces and segment by:
- Job Title
This will help you identify audiences that are more or less receptive to certain types of content, when used in conjunction with other metrics.
For example, if your cost-saving case study has a low engagement rate with marketing managers, it might be that it’s more suited just for CFO’s. CMO’s may prefer a different narrative.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to measure how effective the content in your pipeline is. Whilst this does rely on many different factors, there are some useful metrics you can be tracking.
The ultimate test for a piece of content is whether it helped a prospect in your pipeline to convert into a sale. Using reverse-goal path in Google Analytics, you can see which pages a user visited before they converted.
Similarly, you can compare converted leads in your pipeline with the pieces of content they interacted with. For example, if a user was five times more likely to sign up after reading a certain case study, you’ll know that you need to make sure this content is used more often.
Click-through rates – the percentage of users who clicked on a link within a piece of content to move to the next stage of the journey – is another great KPI to show content effectiveness.
Any rate of 3% or above is very good, showing that users have been impressed by the content and want to know more.
Comments and Queries
Although this metric is more qualitative than previous ones, it’s still an important one to measure. By looking at the number of comments on your content – or the number of questions/queries about it – you can see how effective it is.
For example, if you have lots of positive comments at the bottom of a blog post, you’ll know it’s reached out to its target audience, and done its job.
But if you have a piece of content where users are asking questions like ‘what’ ‘why’ or ‘how’ – or they’re getting in touch with sales reps to ask for clarification – then it might be that something is missing from the content and could be improved.
The more detail and the more metrics you have on the content in your pipeline, the easier you’ll find it to:
- Identify top-performing content, to provide winning content to your sales team
- Pinpoint content to improve
- Position marketing material for increased relevance
- Set content KPIs for your marketing team
See how Data Dwell can help you measure, track and improve content in your pipeline, with a free trial of our Sales Enablement software.