Content Marketing: Better Metrics Mean Better Measurement

It isn’t always easy to measure the impact of your content marketing or attribute sales, leads or lead quality accurately. One way to improve the quality of your measurement is to improve the quality of your metrics.

Marketing metrics

It isn’t always easy to measure the impact of your content marketing or attribute sales, leads or lead quality accurately. One way to improve the quality of your measurement is to improve the quality of your metrics.

Analytics data is easy to come by. In most cases it’s even available free or is included in services you’re already using, like an email service provider. That doesn’t mean all that data is useful.

In fact, having all of that data is a problem of its own — the firehose problem. As in, if a firehose is your only source of water, you’re either going to have to be creating in how you use it, or quenching your thirst is going to be a painful proposition.

Understanding Different Types of Metrics

Assuming you’ve solved that problem, and can isolate the data you want, it’s important to focus on business metrics rather than process metrics. We define these as follows:

  • Business metrics directly impact your businesses profitability (Sales, for example)
  • Process metrics are proxies that tell us about our marketing but not necessarily our business (Twitter followers are a good example)

As you’d imagine, business metrics are far more important, but many marketers focus more on process metrics because, well, they’re much easier to come by. Just log in to Twitter, Google Analytics or just about any other digital marketing platform and you’ve got your data.

What’s missing from that data for many B2B businesses is what we might call the last mile: the connection between content consumed and a sale consummated. That means measurement and attribution take much more effort. Marketing automation tools can help with this — and we certainly recommend that you implement the sort of tracking that these tools make possible — but even if you aren’t quite ready to make that commitment, there are adjustments you can make to the tracking you are doing.

Differentiating Between Initial Contact and Greater Engagement

Perhaps the best adjustment you can make is to move away from first-level metrics and toward second-level. So, rather than focusing on the number of Twitter followers you have, focus on the number of clicks you get to lead magnets you tweet about, the number of shares your posts get, and the number of likes your content garners.

That’s not to say that tracking your followers isn’t worthwhile. It is, particularly if you track the data over time. But it’s so much further removed from usable business metrics than the process metrics that measure the next step. That is, the folks who have not only followed you, but who have engaged with you via Twitter.

This is true of other social media channels and other content types. Rather than measuring just blog post page views (which I would argue are more valuable than Twitter followers), measure how frequently a blog post is shared, leads to a newsletter signup, a lead magnet click, or even clicks to other pages on your site.

While nothing is a replacement for the direct connection between content consumption and sales, tracking the engagement-based process metrics mentioned above is a much more accurate way to assess your content marketing’s health and effectiveness than relying on those metrics that measure just an initial interaction.

Author: Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured?

A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms encourage audience engagement through solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either.

His work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components, and he has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events. His writing appears in various online and print publications. 

Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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