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We had a chance to write about the efficacy of content marketing before. This article will supplement the information we have given previously and we will cover other factors affecting the effectiveness of this form of marketing: its aims, reach, engagement and other complex issues. Each marketer, no matter what type of campaign is led, will be evaluated, basing the final score on the outcome of the activities.
And effectiveness is measured through the KIP – Key Performance Indicators. Thus, if you wish to finance a content marketing campaign, you should know how it works and what KPIs you should set for it. Efficacy of content marketing is a very complicated subject and it mixes a lot of concepts from other marketing branches: content reach, engagement and customer behaviour. Our article is not a ready-made solution that answers all of your questions. it is rather a list of important things you should focus on. We give you some hints which you can use to analyse your activities.
Reach KPIs are very general indicators which show how many users encountered your message. Of course, you can be more precise and see what type of customer you have reached (both in a behavioural and geographical context). When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of websites, the number of unique users who visited them is the easiest form of evaluation. The same goes for posts in social media – their reach can be easily observed.
a) Unique Users (UU)
One of the universal ways of measuring the effectiveness of a content marketing campaign is the incoming traffic. If the CM strategy brings more users to the site, it means the content itself fulfilled its purpose. A number of Unique Users can be measured daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly etc. What's more, UU should be measured together with the average time each user spends on the site and the bounce rate. This should give you a full view of the traffic and the effectiveness of your content.
b) The number of readers / followers / subscribers
Content marketing often relies on building a community of loyal customers who positively view your brand. This group is a very important clientele – its members actively take part in discussions and support their brand. Depending on the foundation of your content marketing campaign, you can measure the number of followers (in social media), readers (of your newsletter) or subscribers (in the case of paid content).
If your brand relies on interaction in its content marketing, you have a large variety of tools to measure the engagement of your audience.
a) Shared and incoming links
The number of incoming links is a good way to see how engaged your audience is. You can interpret it in accordance with the set goals and actions you perform. For a multi-levelled campaign in which the communication with the users is led through different channels, you can sum up all PR activities, including articles, press releases, links to your events, social media activity and shares. Tools such as Brand24 or Newspoint can be very useful in checking all of the above actions, as they are able to follow all activities which share the chosen keywords.
b) Comments and interactions
You can present engagement of your users in a variety of ways. For example, you can show a sum of comments and interactions with a given material. Comments and discussions can be also measured for the whole service or social media profile. Such data can clearly show how engaging the content you create is, how interesting it may be for your audience. If you analyse the posts and articles with the largest number of interactions, you can easily deduce the preferences of your customers.
This is a great measuring method for educational materials (reports or e-books) and entertainment content (apps and widgets). The number of downloads tells you how popular the published material is among users and you can quickly take action to increase the number of shares and downloads through viral marketing.
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most popular tool used for the analysis of website traffic. Content marketing effectiveness can be checked through the reach KPIs mentioned in point 1, but you can supplement it with the average time each user spends on your site and the bounce rate. You can also use other more advanced KPIs, like the number of newsletter subscriptions, better sales of a certain service or product (for e-commerce) and so on.
User behaviour – The number of Unique Users states WHETHER your content is interesting for the internet community – you can see which information is read by more people, how they find it using Google or other services and how they share it. KPIs which relate to the behaviour of your users will tell you HOW the information fulfils their needs. For example: if the average time spent on the website is short, it means the content is not interesting, too long, unreadable or reached by a wrong target audience.
One of the most important things you should check when it comes to measuring user behaviour is the bounce rate. It shows if the person who came to the site read it further or left it after seeing one page. Testing and optimising the bounce rate may help you to improve the availability and reach and, in turn, increase the average time spent on your site.
We left this indicator for last for a reason. It is also defined by many various terms, with “growth hacking’ being the most popular. In simple terms, growth determines the number of users who permanently stayed with the brand without the use of paid ads by the implementation of different tools which positively affect the growth of the user base. You can also mix all of the aforementioned KPIs to measure and compare it. The method of growth measuring is easy – you set a “point zero”, the moment in which you have started your growth campaign using content marketing. You have a certain number of followers, readers etc.
Now you set a KPI that states that you aim for x% more users than you have today. Growth KPIs are the main reasons many enterprises change marketing agencies to see a better increase results and lower costs. This article, as we have said in the beginning, was not written to give you a guaranteed solution to all of your concerns. But it should give you some idea how to plan realistic, efficient KPIs for content marketing activities.
To summarise: chosen KPIs for measuring the efficacy of CM are usually a mix of the reach, engagement and behaviour, and they can be easily measured through the use of growth KPIs which check the difference between the starting point and the end of the campaign.