A Key Performance Indicator, KPI, is a measurable value that shows how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Tracking KPIs is a great way of pinpointing what content works, and what doesn't. But which ones should you track? Let's find out.
Content marketing is a powerful tool when wielded correctly. An effective content strategy starts with a goal – often in the form of sales. To achieve that goal, the content strategy you employ must be diverse but focused. Each piece of content must be supported by others to create a funnel that potential leads will enter.
This means that your social media marketing, case studies, blogs, emails, digital ads, YouTube videos, and other content must all work in unison to achieve the goal. To determine what pieces of content are working for your brand, you must track many data points. These data points are what are referred to as Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs for short. But the question most marketers are curious about is ‘What KPIs to measure as a brand?’
Content strategy planning
When you are planning your content strategy, it’s essential to keep your end goal in mind. The sales funnel is a strong starting point: Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action. Your potential customer starts by becoming aware of your product or service. They show interest in what you’re selling. They decide they are interested and want to purchase. They take action and buy your product or service. Your KPIs should consider all stages of that funnel and apply to parts they best fit with.
A complete list of KPIs to measure as a brand
Let’s start by identifying the KPIs to measure as a brand. These KPIs will cover most content marketing you might be involved in. However, some will only apply to specific types of content. Places like Twitter or YouTube may have platform-specific KPIs that would not apply if your content marketing strategy is not including them.
Backlinks or inbound links are where other websites have linked to your content. In the past, backlinks were a sign of authority for content that Google would consider for search ranking. Nowadays, the value of links is to see how your content resonates with others. If you want to be seen as an authority in the space, this is a crucial indicator.
Bounce rates are a percentage of viewers who only look at one piece of content and then leave. Ideally, your content should be engaging and interesting such that it encourages them to want to read more. A content strategy aimed at reducing bounce rates should always recommend other content in a meaningful way.
A clickthrough rate is a valuable KPI to measure as a brand. Any time you share a link on social, in blogs, within YouTube content, or otherwise – you can determine the clickthrough rate. As the view count increases, you hope to see an increasing rate of click-throughs as well. You can use clickthrough rates to assist in the A/B testing of content.
Comments on posts or blogs can be a handy performance indicator for what gets people talking. If your content marketing is simple, publish and wait, without feedback – you may be missing an opportunity. Content that inspires someone to take time out of their day to write something should be tracked.
Any content marketing you do aims to convert people into buyers. How much money do you need to spend to result in a buyer? Tracking the conversion rates of viewers, readers, commenters, sharers, etc., can be done using customized links for each piece of content.
Cost Per Click (CPC)
If you’ve undertaken a paid campaign, cost per click is a key performance indicator. Knowing how much each click costs can help you figure out future campaigns. What works – what doesn’t. You can also calculate cost per click based on content costs. Whenever you’ve spent money on content, content marketing, paid clicks, or social content, tracking the overall CPC should be a priority.
Cost Per Lead (CPL)
Cost Per Lead is a valuable performance indicator based on the amount you spend to generate leads. You can track this data across multiple platforms and tie it to ad spend or content creation costs. Find a sweet spot that results in significant leads from minimal cost.
If you have a digital product or file, downloads can be a good indicator of performance. Downloads can be things like an ebook in exchange for signing up for an email list. Alternatively, they can be things like downloading a product feature sheet or brochure. This can be a great way to track how much people are considering buying your product – make sure to follow this data.
Engagement rates on social media platforms should be considered when analyzing your content strategy. If your fans and other potential leads aren’t engaged with your content – you need to determine why that is. Engagement rates can be increased artificially through things like giveaways, so it’s essential to factor that in when comparing historical data. If your engagement rate is low, consider why and how you can make content more engagement-worthy.
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Using your followers and subscriber data to determine the performance of your content (and brand) is a key indicator. While a certain amount of people will follow because you’re a recognizable brand they like, others will find and follow because of your content. Using it as a metric of performance can help to see how content impacted your growth.
Impressions are useful KPIs to measure as a brand to determine if your audience (and new ones) see your content. Places like Twitter offer great analytics to see the total impressions each tweet may garner. Using this fast data, you can quickly tailor your social content strategy to create content that more people want to see.
When creating content that you hope to garner organic traffic from, keyword rankings are a key performance indicator. Search optimized content can take some time to make its way to the top of search engines, but you should see increased traffic as it does. Keyword rankings are challenging to take over, so you should be creating a wealth of content around whatever keywords you are aiming to rank for. The more supporting content you create, the likelier that Google will see you as an authority.
Likes are one of the most straightforward social metrics to use as a performance indicator. Likes tend to be more liberally used across platforms than any other engagement method. As such, they provide you a good data point to compare with other content. What’s performing better? How can that help guide your future content marketing?
A good performance indicator is mentions of your brand. Word of mouth marketing has never been easier, thanks to social media and brand accounts. On Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and elsewhere, conversations are happening about your brand. Mentions help you see where, who and how often—a great indicator of the performance of your content marketing.
One of the most common KPIs to measure as a brand for websites and other social platforms is your page view count. Every time someone visits your blog, or views a video, or checks out your profile on social media – that counts as a view. You can use this as a starting point to compare many data points against it and use it to compare different time frames versus historical data.
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If someone purchases something from you once and then returns to buy again – that’s an excellent performance indicator. Repeat customers offer a wealth of data, including purchasing frequency, order size, what else they order, and other buying data. You can also use repeat customer data to learn how to incentivize even more repeat business.
On Twitter, a great KPI is retweeting. The act of sharing your post with their audience is a powerful indicator that you’ve created value. What was it about that tweet that was so compelling people had to share? Comparing your most retweeted posts may help determine valuable insight into what makes your tweets retweetable.
Scroll depth and content heat maps can be helpful performance indicators to see how much of your content people consume. The further someone scrolls down on an article, the more engaged they are likely to be. You can use this to track and determine what content connects best with your audience.
With some advanced tools, you can use sentiment analysis as a measurable KPI. Sentiment analysis tends to rely on social media to track what people are saying when mentioning your brand. Are they happy, sad, upset, excited, etc? Especially useful if you have had previous negative publicity and want to track if your brand is recovering in the public eye.
Posting something to your blog (or social sites) can encourage others to share it on other platforms. News articles and blog posts tend to be the backbone of sites like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook. Track those social shares as an indicator of what content people like to share with others.
Time on page
A great indicator of performance is how long you keep people on site. Most people’s attention spans are short – so having sticky content (content that keeps people on site) is a good indicator. Comparing the time spent on individual pages can help you identify better pieces of content and aid in guiding future content.
We hope this article was helpful and that you'll start tracking these KPIs as soon as possible if you haven't already. By doing so, you'll optimize and supercharge your content in no time.
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