How Do You Measure Content Effectiveness?

When creating or attempting to improve your digital presence, effective content is crucial. From blog posts to social media updates, content marketing can engage audiences and drive business growth. However, unlike other marketing tactics, determining how effective your content is may be a bit less straightforward as you’re simply looking at words on a page with no direct action taking place. Exactly how do you measure how well content is performing?

Understanding the right metrics to track and how to read them can help provide valuable insights as to how well your content is performing and shape future content strategy.

Defining Content Marketing: Creating the Answer to Consumer Questions

Content marketing is more than just churning out words. Every piece of content you create for your website and marketing needs to have a purpose behind it, providing valuable answers to the questions your audience is asking. In essence, a content marketing strategy should effectively spread awareness about what you do and create genuine interest with users in working with or buying something from your company.

Using various content avenues, such as blogs, videos, and social media posts, you showcase your business as a knowledge authority in your industry. Ideally, you want customers or clients to think of your brand first when they require the solution or product you offer.

Well-thought-out content marketing has proven successful for companies. The latest numbers from the Content Marketing Institute show that content marketing efforts bring in conversion rates six times higher than other marketing efforts. So, how do you know what you’re doing is actually working? This is where understanding the meaning behind content marketing metrics becomes critical.

Measuring Success with Content Marketing Metrics

Gauging the impact of your content requires an understanding of the metrics that matter. Content marketing metrics are numerical and descriptive data points that highlight the impact and effectiveness of the strategy. Several metrics can be used based on your company’s unique goals, but generally, they include organic search traffic, page views, traffic sources, click-through rate, and social media sharing. These metrics are generated when implementing performance analytics tools, like Google Analytics, into your website and marketing, then accessed via a related dashboard.

Each metric offers a different insight, so what you choose to track will depend on the content format, the channel it’s living in, and your goals. Analyzing your metrics helps evaluate how existing content is performing, what types of content resonate most with your audience, and determine if your content marketing efforts are contributing to your business goals. Knowing what these numbers mean helps inform and optimize future strategies for greater content marketing success.

Key Metrics and How to Use Them

Exploring the right key metric categories informs effective content strategies. From visibility metrics to engagement indicators, the below sections outline the most important metrics and what each reveals about the effectiveness of your content.

Tracking User Behaviors

User behavior metrics offer valuable insights into how audiences interact with your content. The following metrics help track your users’ behaviors:

  • Pageviews: Pageviews, or simply “views,” are the total number of visits you are receiving to your web pages within a specific time frame. If a single user visits the website or page several times, each instance is counted as a pageview, so it does not indicate your site had that many unique visitors. This metric can offer insight into the types of content that are attracting the most users. The content could be about a specific topic or service, or possibly a specific format, such as how-to guides. The pageview metric helps inform future content marketing strategies as it informs what topics your customers are looking for and how they want to consume the information.
  • Users: Users are a more “drilled-down” version of pageviews as they only look at the total number of unique visitors to the website rather than all visits or views. This metric offers a better idea of how many individuals are actually visiting your website or page and finding it useful.
  • Sessions: Sessions represent a single visit to your website and is somewhat a combination of pageviews and users. For example, if a single user visits your website in the morning for several minutes, then leaves and comes back later that afternoon, they aren’t considered a new user, but it will count as a new session. Sessions themselves can be broken down a bit further to offer greater insight:
    • Percentage of New Sessions: The percentage of new sessions indicates how many are performed by first-time visitors compared to returning users. The number is calculated by dividing the total number of New Sessions by All Sessions.
    • Website Sessions by Source: For those running ads or content marketing efforts in other channels, understanding where the sessions are coming from will offer a glimpse into which channels are performing well and where you may need to perform some optimizations.
    • Pages Per Session: This metric specifically defines the average number of pages users viewed during a single session on your website. This metric provides insight into how engaged users are with your content, or if they simply consume one thing and leave.
  • Average Time Spent on Page: Understanding how long a user spends on a page can be indicative of how useful the content is, whether it’s quality content, or how well it resonates with the audience. If it’s a long-form blog, for example, and users are only on it for a few minutes, it’s possible they aren’t finding the answers they need, whether due to poor organization or a lack of relevant information and have decided to look elsewhere.
  • Bounce Rate: Once a user lands on your website, you want them to stay for a while, exploring and reading through your content, before eventually making a purchase or taking the desired action. The bounce rate indicates those who have gotten to your site but almost immediately navigated away. Sometimes, people click an ad by accident and immediately backtrack. If that seems to be the case, your bounce rate should be relatively low. Some site and content issues can end up causing a high bounce rate, including slow site speeds, poor user experience, or content that did not meet their expectations based on what they clicked to get there. Even if the content you have in place is high quality, people will still turn away if other website issues create difficulties.
  • Impressions: Impressions refer to the total number of times the specific content was shown to users on a specific platform. This metric is most useful for ads or social posts as they are content pieces that would be generated to show in front of relevant users rather than the user going directly to the content, such as with pageviews.
  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR): A lot of users viewing your content is great, but ultimately, you want them to take action. Your CTR will offer visibility into whether users are following your content to take the desired action, visiting your website for more information, or clicking to learn more about your offered products and services. A high number of visitors with a low CTR requires further examination to determine why users aren’t taking action, which could be anything from confusing content to poor user flow, a broken link, or another potential issue.

Evaluating SEO Performance

High-quality content is essential, but if it does not match the user’s intent, search engines won’t bother to populate it within search results, making it a useless piece of content that does nothing for your business. Having a strong SEO foundation is crucial for content success. The following SEO metrics can provide insights into how your content is working for search engine marketing:

  • Average SERP: Everyone wants to reach that top spot in the Google search engine results, but you can’t get there unless you know where you’re starting. The Average Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking of your content can tell you whether it’s due to be optimized for better performance. The lower you are in the SERPs, the less traffic you’re likely to receive. According to search data, the number one result in Google receives roughly 34% of the organic traffic for that search, whereas the tenth result receives under 3% (and it only gets lower from there). Most users will click on a result populated on page one, so a realistic goal to begin with is to get your page populating within the top ten.
  • Keyword Rankings: The right words can make a big difference. Selecting the right keywords for your content requires answering the question: “What are my potential customers searching for on Google?” If your content seems to be ranking well for the keywords you have selected — in other words, populating within the top ten search results for the keywords — then you’ve chosen well. For content pieces that may have performed well previously but appear to be dropping in rankings over time, it is time to take another look and optimize for new keywords when necessary. User behaviors are always changing, and what they’re searching for will, too, so it’s important to stay on top of keyword rankings to be sure you’re meeting the needs of those new inquiries.
  • Traffic Sources: The traffic sources metric allows you to see exactly where your website users are coming from. Users may find you through organic search, visiting your website directly, through a page referral, from social media, clicking a paid search ad, and more. Understanding where your users are coming from helps you determine what channels are giving you the most traffic, thus ensuring you know where to focus your time and resources for the best content marketing success.
  • Organic Search Traffic: Organic traffic is the website visits coming from unpaid search results. Basically, the user typed in a search, your business was populated as an option, and the user chose to click on your result. Understanding the amount of organic search traffic you’re receiving can offer insight into how well your content is attracting your target audience to your website. Be sure your content itself matches the user intent, but don’t forget to tailor the meta description and page title to offer an accurate glimpse into what the user can expect to find on your page!

Calculating Conversion and Engagement

Conversions and engagement metrics provide a clearer picture of your content’s impact on audience actions. Here are the specific content marketing metrics to track to get a good look at how the content is performing beyond mere views:

  • Conversion Rate: The conversion rate shows the percentage of people who completed your desired action within a specific time period. Your conversion rate can indicate whether the content you’ve created is contributing to your goals, and can be easily tracked to specific conversion events in Google Analytics. A conversion doesn’t necessarily have to be a purchase; it can be simple actions like signing up for a newsletter, placing a call, or booking a demo.
  • Content Marketing ROI: Your content marketing return on investment (ROI) is a percentage showing how much revenue was gained from content marketing compared to what was spent over a specified timeframe. You can calculate your content marketing ROI by subtracting the investment from your return, then dividing that number by the investment, and multiplying the number by 100. Understanding your ROI is essential in determining if the money you’re putting in is worth it, or if you should focus those resources elsewhere for a potentially better return.
  • Average Engagement Time: The average engagement time metric indicates how long people spent with your content on average. Naturally, this will vary over each page, but if the pages with more content are showing fairly short engagement times (think 20 seconds on a 2,500-word blog), the content is likely irrelevant, low-quality, or not easy to consume.
  • Average Engagement Rate: The average engagement rate is a social media metric that is useful in determining content marketing success. This is the percentage of people interacting with your social content relative to your number of followers. When used for a website, the metric indicates the percentage of engaged sessions. Low average engagement rates could indicate the content is irrelevant or uninteresting, but it could also point to poor user experience due to site issues. For a session to be considered an “engaged session” per the Google search console, one of the following criteria must be met:
    • The user stayed on the website longer than 10 seconds
    • A conversion event was performed
    • The session included at least two page or screen views

Reviewing Other Content Sources

As any marketer knows, content doesn’t exist solely on your website. Sometimes, content that is related to your website but not actually living on your website can offer a glimpse into how well the content you do have on your website is performing. Further, gauge your content’s reach and influence using the following metrics:

  • Content Shares: When content is particularly useful or interesting, people want to share it. Keep track of how much your content is shared, whether it’s a blog from your website, a social media post, or other piece of content. If users think it’s useful enough to share with their own followers and colleagues, you have definitely hit on a valuable topic.
  • Backlinks: Backlinks are when another website links from their content back to your website. The more backlinks there are showcasing your website as an authoritative, reputable source, the more credible you become to search engines like Google. Knowing how many backlinks your website and content has helps you see how credible your business is to search engines. The more credible your website appears, the more likely the search engine will show it to users. Creating relevant, useful content is one of the best ways to generate backlinks to your website and become an authority in your field.
  • Email Opt-In Rates: For businesses using email marketing, it’s crucial to build enough trust with users that they will be willing to share their contact information. When your content marketing is doing its job, users will be more likely to want to hear more of what you have to say or want to keep your business top of mind for future purchases. In short, effective content encourages email marketing opt-ins from potential customers.
  • Brand Mentions: If other relevant sources are talking about your business, it’s (hopefully) a good thing. Brand mentions occur whenever another entity references your brand, product, or service online, typically via social media posts. Tracking your brand mentions can allow you to see what people are saying about your business and where they’re talking most about you. This could be an indication of where your audience is thriving and help you better strategize your content marketing efforts.
  • Follower/Subscriber Growth: This metric examines how many new social media followers or subscribers you gain within a specified time. High growth rates indicate the content you are publishing on your social media channels is effective at reaching and connecting with your audience. Slow rates or even a loss of followers could indicate they aren’t finding value in what you share and could benefit from a social media strategy evaluation.
  • Social Media Engagements: When running a social media campaign, tracking the engagement metrics as part of your content marketing allows you to see how users are interacting with your content, whether through likes, shares, or comments. As you analyze this over time, you can better understand what types of content resonate most with your audience and allow that to inform future content marketing strategies.

Why is it Important to Measure the Success of Content?

Measuring success through the proper key metrics is crucial for optimizing digital marketing efforts. Data-driven decisions are more likely to result in a successful content marketing strategy as you know where your audience lives and what it is they’re actually searching for. Content can provide tangible results, encouraging high-quality leads, customer purchases, and more.

Each content marketing metric will help you measure the effectiveness of your campaign, informing you when tactics are working and when you may need to optimize. Keeping tabs on content performance allows your team to do more of what’s working and spend less time and resources on what’s not. Much like other marketing efforts, content is not a “set it and forget it” tactic, but a tool that requires ongoing attention to evolve alongside your customers’ needs.

Rough Numbers? Tips for Improving the Results of Your Content Marketing

If you’ve been tracking your content marketing performance for some time and noticed your numbers are not quite where you want them to be, there are some steps you can take to improve performance.

  • Create a thorough content strategy. Documenting your content strategy ensures alignment with business goals and establishes the metrics to track for performance monitoring.
  • Get to know your audience. Before you send out any kind of content, you should ensure it is created with your audience in mind. Who are they? What are they looking for? You should know information such as their demographics, professional status, buying behaviors, and more in order to target your content precisely.
  • Write relevant content. All content should be aligned with what your audience wants and/or needs to capture their attention and transition their top-of-the-sales-funnel interest into action. The best way to approach this is to find out what kinds of questions they have or what common problems they regularly try to solve. You can discover this information by talking with sales or customer support teams, performing keyword research, monitoring online forums, and examining competitor websites.
  • Align your content with users’ search intent. Search engine results are generated based on an assumption of the user’s intent or the underlying reason behind their search. For example, if a user is searching for the “best content marketing agency,” Google will assume the user is looking for comparison-type articles and rank these kinds of posts higher in search results. Performing a search intent analysis can help you understand what searchers want and create content to meet those needs.
  • Create topic clusters and pillars. Topic or content clusters are groups of content surrounding a specific topic that help build authority. Within this cluster, there should be a pillar page, which is a high-level overview of a broad topic. Each cluster page covers subtopics related to that pillar in more detail. The pillar and cluster pages should be connected together via relevant crosslinks which will help establish your site as a thorough resource offering a web of valuable information for users.
  • Follow content best practices. Content should always be written with best practices in mind, making it readable for a general audience (or at least to your target audience), well-organized, and easily skimmable with relevant headers and lists. The content should showcase your experience with and expertise on the topic, cite credible sources, and be consistently high-quality across the site.

Achieve Content Metric Success with Timmermann Group

It’s not enough to simply create content and push it out to the masses; for the best success and optimization, you must have an understanding of the content’s impact on users. Using data-driven insights and strategic expertise, you can get the most out of your content marketing efforts.

At Timmermann Group, we’re more than just a digital agency — We’re your partner in achieving measurable success. From crafting compelling content strategies to analyzing performance metrics, we’re committed to driving results that matter.

Don’t settle for guesswork when it comes to your content. Contact us today to elevate your content and turn your digital ambitions into reality.