12 content marketing KPIs and metrics agencies should track

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Almost 30 years ago, Bill Gates made the famous proclamation that "content is king." A lot's changed since the days of dial-up internet and web pages that look like a freshman web developer's end-of-semester project. But when it comes to digital marketing, it's still “long live the king!”

That's why 70% of marketers state that content marketing is a key pillar of their overall marketing strategy. With that said, a big part of creating a successful content marketing strategy is the ability to measure content performance. 

To help your agency evaluate the results of its content marketing efforts, let's take a look at 12 content marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics you can track to make sure you're producing amazing content!

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Benefits of tracking KPIs in content marketing

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Creating content without measuring its performance via content marketing metrics is a lot like playing a ballgame without keeping score — it might be a fun time for everyone, but you're not going to know if your agency is winning or losing.

When you define and track content KPIs for each content marketing campaign, you can look forward to several big benefits, such as:

Performance measurement

Content marketing KPIs will tell you how well a single piece of content is performing, as well as shed light on your overall content marketing performance. This ability to measure content performance at both the granular and big-picture levels can provide a lot of valuable insights. It tells you what's working well and what isn't, so you can continually optimize your content for better results.

Improved content strategy

Are your agency's shorter articles performing better than its longer pieces? Has your audience shown a liking for website content that is lighthearted and humorous, rather than content that is formal and straight to the point? These are the kinds of questions that content marketing KPIs can answer — and answering them will help your agency continually hone its content workflow and strategy.

Good strategies aren't created in the dark. By tracking content marketing KPIs, you can shine a spotlight on your content performance and take a data-driven approach to improving your content marketing strategy.

Goal alignment with business objectives

Choosing the most important KPIs to track allows you to align your content marketing goals with your overall business objectives. Let's say, for example, that one of your agency's objectives is to increase brand awareness. In this case, tracking content KPIs like web traffic and number of brand query searches will help you tailor your content marketing goals to this key business goal.

When you focus on improving content KPIs that are directly tied to your agency's big-picture goals, you can optimize your content strategy in a way that’s designed to deliver the results your agency values most.

ROI calculation

The average cost of a content marketing campaign ranges from $6,000 to $60,000+ per month. If your agency is shelling out this kind of cash on content marketing, you want to know what you're getting in return.

With content marketing, calculating ROI can sometimes be a little tricky. This is because high-quality content can provide value in a variety of ways — from directly generating leads and sales, to boosting brand awareness, to improving your website's search engine optimization. 

So, the best way to calculate the ROI of your content marketing campaigns is to track metrics that allow you to measure all the various ways that your content is delivering value.

Brand awareness KPIs

People don't often talk to people they don't know, and they don't often purchase from brands they don't know either. Boosting brand awareness and establishing your brand as an authority in its industry is one of the biggest benefits of content marketing, and here are four KPIs you can use to measure the brand awareness that your content is generating.

1. Organic website traffic

Organic website traffic is traffic that comes from a search engine or inbound link, rather than a paid advertisement. In other words, it's a measure of how many people are finding your agency's website without you having to pay for their clicks.

Organic website visitors is one of the most impactful metrics for any agency to boost, since there's no better way to improve brand awareness than by having customers discover you on their own. By measuring organic traffic using a tool like Google Analytics, you can evaluate how well your content marketing efforts are performing when it comes to driving organic visitors to your website.

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2. Page views

Page views is a metric that tells you how many views each page on your website receives. The more page views you have, the more people are visiting your website and exploring all the information it has to offer.

Tracking page views enables you to take a more focused approach to measuring the brand awareness results of content marketing, compared to tracking overall web traffic alone. It lets you see how your content marketing efforts are working to drive potential customers to the pages you want them to visit the most, such as product pages or lead generation pages.

3. Number of brand query searches

This metric tells you how many people are using a search engine to search for your brand by name. These are visitors who were already aware of your brand before they ever powered up their laptop, so it's a great metric to track when it comes to evaluating brand awareness.

You can use Google Analytics or a similar tool to track the number of brand query searches that you get. Doing so will tell you a lot about how your agency's content is working to inform people about your brand.

4. PR placements/citations

PR placements/citations are mentions of your brand and backlinks to its content that are published by other websites, blogs, and online news outlets. These backlinks are great for boosting SEO, but they're also useful for getting your brand in front of more eyes.

Creating valuable content that other websites will want to link to is one of the most effective ways to generate more PR placements. You can measure how well your content is working to generate these backlinks by setting up Google Alerts for mentions of your brand name and other brand-specific keywords or by using a backlink tracking tool, such as Moz or Semrush.

Engagement KPIs

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But just driving visitors to your website isn't enough to turn them into customers. Once they are there, you've got to dazzle and delight them if you want them to stick around. To see how well your content is working to encourage visitor engagement, here are five important metrics to track.

5. Time on page

Average time on page is a measure of how much time a visitor spends on a page before they click away. The more time your visitors spend on your web pages, the more likely it is that they find the content there interesting and engaging.

Improving time on page can help you reduce your website's bounce rate (a metric that tells you how many people click away after viewing just one page on your site — not nearly as fun for digital marketers as it sounds). Tracking average time on page can also help you evaluate how gripping your target audience finds the content that you create.

6. Followers/subscribers

When someone follows your social media pages or subscribes to your newsletter/blog, it means that they enjoy your brand's content so much that they don't want to miss whatever you publish next. Along with helping you generate leads and expand your content's reach, growing your follower/subscriber count is also a sign that you are creating compelling content.

7. Content downloads (templates, eBooks, spreadsheets)

Most content that a company creates is given away freely without asking for anything in return. Gated content, however, requires something from the visitor before they can access or download it. In the case of news outlets, this usually means a paid subscription. For content marketers, gated content is generally used as a lead magnet to collect those tasty email addresses!

Visitors have to think highly of your content before they're willing to offer anything for it in return — even something as simple as their email addresses or the time it takes to download a piece of gated content. If your content downloads go up, you can be sure that your website visitors find your content valuable and engaging.

8. Click-through rate (CTR)

CTR is a measure of how many people click on a link, and it can apply to a lot of different things in digital marketing. In the context of content marketing, CTR means the percentage of people who click on the links in your content.

High-quality content can be used to guide visitors down a sales funnel, leading them from one piece of content to the next, before ultimately plopping them down on your product page or another landing page. 

For this to work, your content has to be engaging enough that visitors are willing to go along for the journey. Tracking CTR will allow you to make sure that your content is working to send visitors down the path you want them to follow.

9. Social media engagement

Content marketing doesn't just mean publishing blog posts on your website. With 4.8 billion using social media, reaching your audience on the platforms where they spend most of their time online is a key content marketing objective.

There are a lot of metrics you can use to see how your social media content is performing. But engagement (defined by how many people engage with your posts by liking, commenting, or sharing) is the one that's the most impactful.

Conversion KPIs

Driving sales and boosting profits is the ultimate goal of any marketing campaign. All the content marketing objectives you reach along the way are just steps to get there. To measure how well your content is working to achieve its primary purpose, here are three KPIs to track.

10. Conversion rate

Conversion rate is a measure of how many people who visit your site end up converting into a customer or lead. It's expressed as a percentage and tells you how well your website is working to convert the visitors that it attracts.

Most people like to learn more about a brand and its products/services before they are willing to open up their wallet. This is where the value of engaging, informative content comes into play. By tracking your website's conversion rate, you can evaluate how well your content is working to convert visitors into paying customers or leads.

11. Leads generated

Generating new leads is often a key content marketing objective for agencies. There are several ways that content marketing can work to generate leads, from using gated content as a lead magnet to engaging and informing customers so that they are more likely to hand over their email addresses.

Of course, content marketing can also generate leads by simply driving more traffic to your website. However it manages to deliver, tracking the leads generated from your content enables you to evaluate one of the most important objectives of content marketing.

12. Sales generated

All of the content marketing objectives and KPIs that we've covered so far have led to this: how many sales your content is generating. If your content isn't ultimately working to add dollars to your agency's bank account, then it's failed its mission. By tracking how your content marketing campaigns impact sales generated, you can keep your content creation efforts aligned with this ultimate goal.

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With Teamwork, agencies are able to organize content marketing projects, assign tasks, track project progress, communicate with team members, and leverage a range of other powerful project management features. To get started effortlessly managing your agency's marketing projects, sign up for Teamwork today!

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