More than half of American companies and a quarter of Canadian Companies use content marketing as part of their strategy. That number is growing.

Budgets are growing, too. Many business leaders plan to invest even more in their digital marketing endeavors.

Whether you’re using content marketing or want to soon, there’s one major question lurking at the back of your mind.

How will you know your content marketing efforts are actually paying off?

While you may be able to attribute an increase in sales to a great campaign, there are many intangible ways marketing helps your business. Content marketing metrics show you some of those more hidden numbers.

That said, there are also plenty of ways to measure content marketing. Some of them are great. Others are less stellar at helping you understand the value of your content.

This guide will walk you through some of the essential metrics. If you want to see just what content marketing is worth for your business, make sure you keep tabs on these stats.

Sales Are the First Metric to Measure

You probably guessed you could measure content marketing success by looking at sales. Are you selling more now that people are visiting your blog or learning more about your product through Instagram posts?

Good marketing has always driven sales, although the relationship isn’t always one-to-one. Marketing does more than help you close deals, and content marketing is no different.

Content marketing should drive more sales for your business. What if those sales numbers aren’t what you projected, though? There are other ways to prove content marketing ROI.

Content Marketing Metrics for Your Website

Marketing drives brand awareness by increasing your audience. After all, how can someone buy your products or services if they’ve never heard of them? The aim of any marketing campaign is to get the word out.

Content marketing is particularly is good at this because it helps you reach more people. Want to get attention on social media? A slick video or a funny tweet could go a long way.

A blog is considered almost vital to any content marketing strategy. Other forms of content include infographics and videos. You may even include your social media posts as a type of content.

Your content can help you help your audience. You may be able to provide them with helpful tips on how to use your products. Maybe you can share expert advice on how to deal with certain challenges in their business.

Content drives people to your website and social media channels. If someone finds your website during a search for how to use your product, they may come back next time they have an issue.

It also drives engagement, both on social media and your website. People may comment, watch, or share your videos and blogs.

Here’s the good news: You can measure all these aspects of your audience’s behavior. With the right analytic tools, you can measure traffic, pageviews per user, and even how long a user spends on a page.

If there’s a bump in traffic after you start posting to your blog, you can probably thank your content team. They’re doing a great job creating content designed to attract people’s attention.

Measuring Audience Interaction

Engagement is also a key metric. People may visit your site, but a good marketing campaign should help them take action. Do they sign up for your newsletter or share your articles on social media?

You can tally up comments, shares, and other measures of interaction. You’ll also want to pay attention to subscriptions and downloads of eBooks or white papers. To access these types of content, people have to give you their contact information in exchange.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on page views per person, as well as what they’re looking at. Finally, measure click-through rates on calls-to-action. How many people are clicking that big “shop now” or “contact us” button?

Dwell Times, Bounce Rates, and More

There are plenty of other metrics you can look at for your website.

Dwell time is one. How long does someone look at your page before clicking back to Google? Do they spend a long time thinking about submitting that form or clicking that button?

Your bounce rate is related to dwell time. It’s the number of people who land on a page, only to immediately leave. On average, you have just a few seconds to impress someone before they navigate away.

These metrics delve a little deeper and try to discern why people behave the way they do. If one of your pages has a high bounce rate, there’s something wrong. Maybe the page design isn’t appealing, or maybe the page is ranking on Google for the wrong keywords.

Check Your SEO

Content marketing and search engine optimization go hand in hand. If you want to rank for a certain search query, you’ll need content that’s relevant to that term or phrase.

A content strategy is often based around keywords, which are also important to SEO. Publishing new content on a regular basis and keeping your content fresh are also important SEO factors.

You should keep tabs on separate metrics for your SEO, but you may want to have a look at your search engine results page ranking. If you switch marketing firms or create a new strategy, you’ll also want to take a look. Has there been any change?

Google and other search engines tend to reward good content. If you’re producing quality content, then you should see your SERPs improve.

SEO rankings can also tell you how your content strategy matches up with audience expectations. One post may consistently rank high and generate a ton of traffic. Another post may not perform so well.

Take a look at your greatest hits and see if you can discern a pattern. Are there certain types of posts that people gravitate to? Maybe it’s a particular topic that people are attracted to.

Any which way, having these numbers in hand can help you figure out what’s working and what’s not. From there, it’s possible to tweak your content strategy. That way, your audience will see more of what they love, and less of what they don’t.

The Intangibles: Exposure and Authority

The benefits of a good marketing strategy aren’t always concrete. It can be difficult to measure “brand awareness” or “authority.”

You want both of these things, and content marketing can make it happen. How do you know your marketing efforts are translating into better brand awareness or increased authority?

Keep track of your mentions and links. The more people share and link your content, the more brand awareness and authority you have.

Brand awareness is a measure of whether people have heard of your business or know what you do. If you’re driving plenty of traffic and your content is being shared across platforms, you’re extending your reach. More people will become aware of your brand.

Authority is measured in a similar way. Are people suddenly emailing you to ask if you could write a guest post or give an interview? Did someone invite you to be a speaker at a conference or other industry event?

This type of request indicates you’re being recognized by your peers as a respected expert in the industry. Authority can help you build trust, both with your customers and within your own peer group.

Look at Lead Quality

When it comes to measuring content marketing success, there’s another metric you’ll want to take a look at. Lead quality should increase when you start content marketing.

Many business leaders adopt content marketing as a way to increase the number of leads. It’s true that content marketing can boost leads. What fewer people realize is that it also helps you find higher quality leads.

It’s easy to see how the right content can help. Suppose you have a customer researching accounting software solutions for their business. They find a blog post you’ve written about why they should think about an accounting platform instead of a bookkeeping program.

This client begins to think about the advantages of a total accounting platform. They also look at the bookkeeping program and its drawbacks. They do more research and read more of your posts.

When this person reaches out to you, you have a good idea of which posts they’ve read and the information they’re looking for. Moreover, they’re ready to have a serious conversation about your product. That’s much different than someone you email or call out of the blue.

With gated assets and other forms of content, you’re gathering key information about prospects. A little research may tell you more about how ready they are to buy and how much influence they have on buying decisions.

From there, you can discover more quality leads to follow up on. If your sales team says it’s easier to close or that the leads they’re getting from marketing are primed to buy, you know content marketing is doing its job.

Ask Your Customers How You’re Doing

Finally, you can always ask your audience. It’s easy to put up a customer satisfaction survey.

Some places will refer to this as a net promoter score. What it tells you is how many people would recommend you after visiting your site or reading your blog. If someone finds your videos helpful, they’ll likely tell other people they know.

Referrals and reviews are another good way of keeping track of how you’re doing. A shared article is a sort of referral, and a comment on your blog post might be seen as a kind of review. Essentially, your customers are giving your content an endorsement.

Finally, you can ask people what they like about your content and what they don’t like. Is there something they wish you’d post more of? What kinds of content are they seeking out when they visit your site?

Getting this kind of qualitative feedback doesn’t need to be difficult either. Think about FAQ sections that ask users if the article was helpful to them. They answer yes or no, and then they’re given the opportunity to offer more qualitative feedback.

Avoid Analysis Paralysis

As you can see, there are many different metrics you can track and report on when it comes to content marketing. Almost all of them will give you some insight into how well your campaigns are working.

Of course, with so much to track and measure, you could end up facing “analysis paralysis.” In this situation, you may spend too much time on content marketing reporting. You may also track some metrics that aren’t as useful as others.

As a general rule of thumb, the easier a metric is to find, the less it tells you about your audience. The number of followers or traffic to your website may be an example.

You could be generating hundreds of thousands of views a month. It wouldn’t mean much if your conversion rate didn’t also increase. Without a rise in conversions, your content is only successful at getting people to the site.

It’s important to keep track of website traffic and follower counts. Other metrics tell you more about performance. Sales numbers, conversion rates, dwell time, and bounce rates say more about audience behavior.

Get Started with a Better Content Marketing Strategy

Following the right content marketing metrics will give you more insight into your campaign success. It will help you understand your audience’s needs as well. From dwell time to deals closed and beyond, metrics help you make better decisions about strategy.

Content marketing is just one cog in the digital marketing machine. If you need help with designing an SEO-friendly website or managing your PPC campaigns, you need a team that can do it all. Get in touch with the experts and discover a better way to get the marketing you need.