29 Content Marketing KPIs worth Tracking in Your Content Marketing Strategy

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KPIs worth tracking in your content marketing strategy

Your content marketing strategy is incomplete without tracking relevant KPIs.

Tracking KPIs not only helps you calculate the ROI of your content marketing efforts, but you can also use the collected data to inform your entire content marketing strategy.

You always want to do more of what works and less of what doesn't.

So, let's jump into this article and examine the content marketing KPIs worth tracking in your content marketing strategy.

What are KPIs?

What are KPIs

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator.

KPIs are data points used to measure the progress towards whatever goal you set in your content marketing strategy.

You can use KPIs to judge the success of anything from a single article to entire campaigns.

To give this article some structure, I'm going to divide KPIs into 5 categories:

  • SEO-related KPIs
  • Engagement-related KPIs
  • Demographics-related KPIs
  • Business results-related KPIs
  • Traffic-related KPIs

Of course, not all KPIs are equally relevant to every situation.

Tracking the most relevant KPIs

Person holding chart and bar graph

There are dozens and dozens of possible KPIs you could be tracking at any given time.

Tracking all of them would be a waste of your time.

Not only that but giving too much importance to KPIs that are irrelevant to the results you're focusing on can misinform your content marketing strategy.

For example, let's say you want to measure the performance of one of your informational blog articles.

Ideally, when someone lands on your informational content, you would want them to:

  • Spend some time on the page
  • Read the content, the more the better
  • Check out more of your pages and not bounce back to the SERPs immediately
  • Share your content
  • Leave a comment
  • Subscribe to your newsletter if you have one

Having these goals in mind, some of the KPIs worth tracking, in this case, would be:

  • Time on Page
  • Dwell Time
  • Bounce Rate
  • Backlinks
  • Comments
  • Social Shares
  • Scroll Depth
  • CTR
  • Overall Traffic
  • Traffic Sources

This is just a hypothetical situation.

In another case where a user lands on a piece of transactional content, some of the KPIs listed above would lose value or became entirely irrelevant.

Only you can be the judge as to which KPIs are the most relevant for any given piece of content.

As a general guideline, you always want to track the KPIs that reflect the most desirable user actions in order to achieve the most important goals you set for that particular piece of content.

SEO-related KPIs

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Average Time on Page

Definition: The average amount of time users spent viewing a specific page or screen, or set or pages or screens.

Most important for: Informational content

Context: This KPI becomes increasingly relevant with the amount of content on the page. For example, if you publish a 5,000-word article and users' avg. time on page is 17 seconds, that's not good. It means your visitors are bailing before getting through the content. Decent avg. time on page is 2-3 minutes. Anything below is potentially worrisome and anything above is excellent.

Average Session Duration

Definition: Total duration of all sessions in seconds divided by the total number of sessions.

Most important for: Informational content

Context: Obviously, the longer the avg. session duration, the better. However, because of the convoluted way avg. session duration is calculated, lower session duration is not necessarily bad. For example, lower avg. session duration for transactional content is OK, but for informational content, it should be 2-3 minutes at least to be considered OK.

Bounce Rate

Definition: A percentage of all sessions on your website that ended with users only viewing a single page of your website.

Most important for: Transactional content

Context: Although you should always strive to get users to explore more of your website, a high bounce rate is not as important for informational content if users are clicking on your posts in the SERPs and spending a few minutes reading the posts before leaving the website. But a high bounce rate in transactional content indicates that users aren't compelled to click on your CTAs and go through with the purchase.

Backlinks

Definition: External links pointing towards your domain.

Most important for: Both transactional and informational content

Context: While it would be fantastic if people linked back to your sales pages, that's not going to happen. Naturally earned backlinks will always point to your high-quality informational content and that's OK because backlinks positively impact your domain as a whole as well and not just the page they point to. Hence, your transactional pages benefit from them too.

Search Engine Rankings

Definition: Ranking placement of your content in the search engine results pages.

Most important for: Both transactional and informational content

Context: It's equally important for both your informational and transactional content to rank highly in the SERPs for the targeted keywords. You might think it's more important for your transactional content to rank highly because that's where you make money, but informational content ranking highly in the SERPs leads to more of your potential customers discovering your transactional content too.

Engagement-related KPIs

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CTR (Click-Through Rate)

Definition: A percentage of impressions that resulted in a click.

Most important for: transactional content

Context: CTR is extremely important for all your content. Having said that, your transactional content has to be as optimized as possible for high CTR because that's where the magic happens. It's a good idea to A/B test headlines and CTAs until you discover true winners.

Scroll Depth

Definition: Measures how far a user scrolled down your content while consuming it.

Most important for: transactional content

Context: It's critically important to know how far down your articles users are getting to because if all your CTAs (Calls-To-Action) are at the bottom and hardly anyone is getting there, you have a huge problem. Of course, it's important to be aware of this for your informational content too so you can adjust it and make it easier to consume.

Likes

Definition: Likes represent users agreeing with or liking your content.

Most important for: Informational content

Context: Take Likes as a simple nod from your audience and nothing more. And don't take the lack of Likes as disapproval. Pandering to likes and publishing content you know will get more Likes just for the sake of getting more likes is not worth it. Having said that, it's not entirely useless being aware of this KPI.

Comments

Definition: Comments are written feedback from users after they consumed your content.

Most important for: Informational content

Context: Comments are a form of strong audience engagement. It takes an effort to leave a comment on a piece of content so they hold a lot of weight. Plus, communities are formed in the comments sections and even Google pays attention to that.

Google likes communities

Reviews

Definition: Opinion-based feedback on products or services.

Most important for: Transactional content

Context: Reviews are a very important KPI for anyone selling products or services. Including reviews and testimonials into your transactional content enhances it. Reviews carry a lot of weight and provide social proof as well as improve SEO.

Social Shares

Definition: Social Sharing is an organic promotion of content done exclusively by the audience on their own accord.

Most important for: Informational content

Context: People like to share highly-relevant informational content. Social shares help build traffic and indicate to search engines that your content is useful. Tracking and analyzing social shares tells you what kind of content has the potential of going viral.

Customer Retention

Definition: Customer retention is the ability to make your customers return and continue to buy from you.

Most important for: Both transactional and informational content

Context: Returning customers reflect your entire business. The customers will return only if you continuously provide value to them. If you have a business model that depends on customer retention, it's a good idea to track this KPI.

Downloads

Definition: Audience saving your downloadable content to their devices.

Most important for: Both transactional and informational content

Context: Depending on whether you're selling or giving away downloadable content, tracking the number of downloads will tell you how interested your audience is. For example, if you're giving away a template of some sort and no one's downloading it, maybe you need to change the pitch. Perhaps you're not conveying the usefulness of the template well enough.

Influencer Mentions

Definition: Influencers talking about your product or service to their audience.

Most important for: Informational content

Context: Tracking influencer mentions can help you understand what demographics your product or service resonates with. Information like that can help you create value-driven content for those specific audiences which makes it more relevant to them.

Demographics-related KPIs

Atlas ball shaped business compass

Geography

Definition: Geographical location of your visitors.

Most important for: Informational content

Context: Being aware of the locations your visitors come from can help you create more relevant content for specific segments of your audience. Relevant content provides more value and converts better.

Age

Definition: Age data of your visitors.

Most important for: Informational content

Context: Just like geographical data, tracking the age of your audience can help you create more relevant content for them.

Gender

Definition: Percentages of male and female users.

Most important for: Informational content

Context: This is another example of how tracking demographics-related KPIs can boost your content relevance. For example, knowing that your content is consumed predominantly by women, you can use this information to start creating content that resonates with them and makes it even more useful and relevant to them.

Business results-related KPIs

Person holding white and blue business paper

Market Share

Definition: Portion of a market controlled by a company or product.

Most important for: Informational content

Context: Tracking market share data can give you an idea where your next opportunity to grab more market share is and what kind of content you need to create to facilitate growth.

Leads

Definition: Leads are potential customers who enter your funnels.

Most important for: Transactional content

Context: Lead generation is one of the most important marketing results. Keeping an eye on lead generation and optimizing your transactional content for lead generation can help you pinpoint the true winners and convert visitors to leads.

Lead Sources

Definition: Lead sources tell you where your leads come from.

Most important for: Transactional content

Context: By tracking where your leads come from you are able to focus your attention on the channels that work as well as try to improve and optimize the content on the channels that don't work.

Sales

Definition: Selling your products or services.

Most important for: Transactional content

Context: It's no surprise sales are one of the most important KPIs of content marketing. You simply have to keep track of where your sales are coming from and, perhaps even more importantly, where they're not coming from.

Conversions

Definition: Conversions happen when visitors interact with your content and perform the desired goals of your content.

Most important for: Transactional content

Context: If you're strategic about it, you often have a goal behind your content pieces. Obviously, it's important to know if those goals are coming to fruition or, in other words, if conversions are happening. Only by tracking the conversions do you find out if the content is working or you need to make adjustments.

Newsletter Subscribers

Definition: Newsletter Subscribers are people who opted-in to receive your email newsletter.

Most important for: Both transactional and informational content

Context: Your newsletter, and email list in general, are one of the most important assets you have. It gives you access to people who, in one way or another, already expressed interest in your product or service. While selling through email is very powerful, it's a bad idea to stop providing value in the form of informational content to your newsletter subscribers.

CAC (Customer Acquisition Costs)

Definition: CAC is the cost of making a sale happen.

Most important for: Both transactional and informational content

Context: Even though it can be difficult to calculate CAC in content marketing, it doesn't mean it's impossible and you shouldn't try. Too high customer acquisition costs can be a bad sign for both your transactional and informational content. Being aware of that fact is a step closer to determining where the issues are and making changes.

Order Value

Definition: Order Value is the amount of money spent by your customer inside a single order.

Most important for: Transactional content

Context: If you're selling a single product or service, your order value will always be the same, obviously. But if you're selling many products or services, keeping track of the average order value is a good idea. Create transactional content and attempt to do a better job at recommending related products, bundle deals, upsells, etc.

Traffic-related KPIs

Light smartphone macbook mockup

Overall Traffic

Definition: Combined number of visitors in a set period of time.

Most important for: Both transactional and informational content

Context: Overall Traffic is an important metric, but it doesn't guarantee the financial success of your business. Overall traffic number becomes less important as you go further along the buyer's journey. Still, if your overall traffic is going up, it means you're doing something right.

High Performing Pieces

Definition: Content pieces that are doing extremely well by a metric you choose to observe.

Most important for: Transactional content

Context: It's a good idea to keep track of high-performing content pieces and analyzing them in order to gain key insights that you can apply to your other content. This is particularly important for transactional content because optimizing CTAs is how you make more money from the same amount of content. If you notice a transactional piece of content doing extremely well, you want to analyze it and find out why.

Organic Traffic vs Paid Traffic

Definition: The number of visits that come from search engines as opposed to paid marketing efforts.

Most important for: Both transactional and informational content

Context: If you're utilizing any kind of paid marketing efforts, it's important to distinguish that number and the number of organic visits. Content marketing is all about organic traffic and the only way to analyze your content marketing strategy when it comes to traffic is through observing the organic traffic.

Traffic Sources

Definition: Channels your traffic originates from.

Most important for: Both transactional and informational content

Context: Knowing where your traffic comes from is an important KPI to keep in mind because it enables you to better judge the success of your content marketing strategy. For example, if you're creating content with a goal of getting organic traffic from Google and then after 8-12 months you don't see any, that informs you something needs to change.

Conclusion

In order to determine which content marketing KPIs are worth tracking, you have to determine your micro and macro content marketing goals.

It's a good idea to track the most relevant KPIs for different types of content.

For example, the KPIs you want to track for your sales-oriented pages are very different than the KPIs you want to track for informational pieces of content.

Going the extra mile and making these distinctions will improve the quality of data you gather and allow you to make better decisions.

What KPIs are you planning to track?

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