THE KEY POINTS
- Audio version available at the bottom of the page.
- It’s vital you let those planning and creating your content know what you want it to accomplish.
- When it comes to site metrics, Google Analytics is your primary tool, but others can go deeper.
- Social media is where people tend to do more engagement, but just because you didn’t get a like doesn’t mean it wasn’t seen and appreciated.
- Be clear about what you mean by “conversion.” Does that mean a site visit or a closed sale?
First figure out what you want it to accomplish. If my dad never told me what to do, then chewed me out because I didn’t deliver what he in hindsight expected to see, that wouldn’t be fair right? To be clear, dad was never like that. He was incredibly laid back.
It’s also fair to let the people doing the strategy and creation of your content know what you want it to do, because that plays an enormous role in what you make, how you make it, and how you distribute & promote it. The distribution options are quite vast. Check them out in the “The Distribution Channels for Content” post of the Content Marketing for the Very Busy series.
In TV and radio, they get ratings. When the ratings are good, you know your show will get renewed. When they’re bad, call your agent, because you’re going to need a new gig. It helps everyone if you’re clear about how success is going to be measured for the stuff your brand puts out there. This is done with success metrics, of which there are many.
Many of these metrics, while interesting and helpful, are by themselves circumstantial evidence.
If you want your website content to be consumed, loved and shared so that more people know and feel warmer about your brand, you’re looking for site metrics.
For the content on your website, Google Analytics will show you things like how many views a page got, how much time was spent on each, did people go there and immediately leave, are they liking a particular kind or format or length of content more than others, were they inspired to act on the CTA on the page, did they comment on something or share the page, were they attracted by other headlines they then clicked on and read? Google will also show you how people wound up on your site so that you’ll know on which channels your promo posts are working best.
Here I must warn you that many of these metrics, while interesting and helpful, are merely circumstantial evidence. Just because someone didn’t stay long on a page or comment or share something doesn’t mean they didn’t like, appreciate, or learn something from the content. Many simply consume it, enjoy it, then go away. You still made a good impression.
If you don’t get all this engagement, that doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t crowd pleasing stuff.
If you want your content to be red hot on Social Media, you’ll be looking at social media metrics.
Of course, each social media platform is different, but generally you’ll look for the coveted views, likes, shares, comments and clicks. Again, if you don’t get all this engagement, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t crowd-pleasing stuff. But people to tend to be more prone to engage in those ways on social than on a website.
This will show you what kinds of posts are working and are wanted most by your intended audience. You can also look at reach or impressions to see who was at least given a chance to consume your content. Unless you’re a genius, organic reach will be lower than you want it to be. That’s right, just because people liked your page and basically asked to see your content doesn’t mean platforms like Facebook will let them.
You have to pay to get it to as many of them as possible, and you have to pay to get it to people who haven’t liked your page. Paid promotion will have its own metrics that will show you if the content in the post you boosted or the content in your social ad was good enough to get the CTA you were going for, be that traffic to your site, more page likes, more impressions/exposure, etc.
Everyone’s looking for magic beans, but be reasonable about what your expected conversion rate should be.
If you want your content to bring in leads, then you’re looking at conversion metrics.
How good should conversion to a lead from content be? Everyone has a different idea about that. Some expect 10% conversion, some 20%, some even 50%. Be cool. Everyone’s looking for magic beans but be reasonable about human behavior and what your expected conversion rate should be.
Also be clear by what you mean by conversion. For some, conversion means a piece of content converted people into website visitors. For others, conversion means something like a video led directly to a sale. Again, be cool. In my book, if the content consumer did what you asked them to do in the content, that’s a conversion. Then more content can take it from there and pull them on through the buyer journey.
If you establish a success metric, then fail to make the CTA address that metric…that ain’t fair.
Your success metrics should also be different depending on where the lead is in the sales funnel, and whether or not you made content crafted specifically for that part of the funnel. Typically, businesses look to content to fill the top of the funnel. Then it’s knuckleheads like me that blather on about how much more content could be doing throughout the rest of the funnel, and even after the sale for customer retention.
Also be smart about your CTAs. If you establish a success metric, then fail to make the CTA address that metric…that ain’t fair!
All that said, these are the conversion metrics according to the amazing Neil Patel:
- Traffic sources – What’s converting best; direct to the site from the many way you’re out there promoting your URL, the search engines, email, or social?
- New visitor conversion rate – How a first-time site visitor behaves is super informative. It will show you if the content on the page is strong enough to get them to take the next step.
- Return visitor conversion rate – If you’ve grabbed the IP of a first-time visitor, you can tell if they went away then came back later. Aha! Something they saw got them intrigued and seeing where they go on their return visit will show you what they still need in order to be closed.
- Cost per conversion – This helps you know if what you spent on your content was worth it. If your cost per conversion is higher than the average order, that’s not a great place to be in. But…there’s intangible value in a content conversion in terms of brand exposure, awareness and affinity even if an order isn’t placed right away. The content has done its job even if it didn’t result in a sale, so be fair with your content budget and your definition of conversion.
- Bounce rate – If people take one look at your site then leave, that’s the opposite of converting. You’ve clearly got a landing page content problem IF…the problem isn’t in an off-putting design/UX or a slow loading page.
- Exit pages – Just like you’d want to know which scene is making people walk out of a movie, you want to know what page people are on when they decide to leave before taking the next step in the buyer journey. That exit page is lacking the content incentive they need to stay.
Clearly, there are far more metrics in the content marketing world than this. You can get incredibly granular since content metrics are often so intertwined with overall marketing metrics, channel metrics, platform metrics, paid campaign metrics, marketing automation metrics…you get the picture. But in terms of being able to tell if your content asset was a fine and worthy piece of production, the above will most assuredly help your content makers get a win.
Once you’ve gone through the series and feel like you’re ready to talk about what sensible next steps can be taken, we’d love to talk shop with you, no commitment. Just fill out the easy form, or email Stiles, or we hear sometimes people still actually use the phone! Feel free to do that to.