Seven Easy Ways to Measure Content Marketing in 2015

By Tomas H. Lucero

As sales and businesspersons, our fortunes, and sometimes emotions, rise and drop based on the success of our content marketing plans. We rejoice when a specific promotion brings hundreds of new and returning customers to our website, and vice versa. Content marketing can often feel like a hit-and-miss, trial-by-error affair, until we learn how to measure it.  

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According to Armando Roggio, of Practical ECommerce, the effectiveness of content marketing can be measured by having business goals, tracking multiple metrics, learning to choose proper Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and measuring to optimize.

Put the cartwheel behind the horse, not the other way around. Establish your business goals before you create your content and before you attempt to measure. If you fail to do this, you will have no standard by which to measure progress and success. Trying to measure content marketing, or any kind of marketing, without goals is exactly like navigating without a map.

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Assure that your goals are SMART, that is: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Knowing what your goals are will facilitate tailoring your content to them.

Practical ECommerce lists content marketing metrics and KPIs based on recommendations by marketers and marketing companies.

Jay Bear at Convince and Convert recommends the following.

  1. Consumption metrics. Page views for a blog post would be an example.
  2. Sharing metrics. Like the number of tweets or Facebook shares an article gets.
  3. Lead generation metrics. This might be whitepaper downloads or email newsletter subscriptions.
  4. Sales metrics. Tracks the path from content to conversion.
  5. Reach. Includes KPIs like impressions, traffic, subscriber count, or similar.
  6. Engagement. Time on site, bounce rate, pageviews, return visits, referrals, and social sharing.
  7. Conversions. For NewsCred, this includes improvements in brand perception, behavioral conversions, lead generation, and actual sales.

None of these metrics, alone, will inform you about whether or not your content marketing is working. Using your goals as a map, though, you can keep track of several KPIs to reach your conclusions.

Tracking multiple metrics is one part of learning to measure content marketing. Another part is selecting the right KPIs. The “right” KPIs are one, relevant, and two, meaningful to your business goals.  First, choose the type of metrics you are going to use from the lists above, or a list of your own. Then attach two or more KPIs to each type of metric. For example, one category of metrics is “Views and Shares.” Appropriate KPIs for it are unique pageviews, website entrances, bounce rate, social media shares, and comments.

Practical ECommerce provides an illustration of metrics and KPIs associated to a specific, hypothetical, goal.

Always start with goals before you try to measure your marketing.


The specific KPLs you monitor should relate to your goals.

Finally, successful marketers don’t settle for knowing simply if a tactic is working or not. Instead, they try to improve. Your first attempts with content marketing will likely have low success rates. Remember that it’s a process. Use the measuring tips discussed here to evaluate the effectiveness of your current content marketing plan and improve it.

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