Metrics That Matter: What You Should Really Be Tracking
Remember the old days when metric tracking meant checking how many views a post had received? Times have changed, technology has improved and content marketing analytics now mean a lot more than counting page views. Here are the top ways to keep track of your site’s success in the modern SEO world.
Keep an Eye on the Comments
In order to understand why your metrics are the way they are, you’ll need to perform some qualitative research. You may see the numbers showing what’s physically happening with each page, but that doesn’t really help you understand why they’re happening. Questionnaires, surveys and reviews are one way of finding issues, but often the comments section will give immediate clues to each page’s reception. For instance, you may update a page and see the time spent on that page increase, but before you congratulate yourself you need to figure out why that number is going up. Is the information confusing? Is the page taking longer to load completely? These are just two of the many undesirable reasons to have people spend more time on your page. By looking at the comments section, you’ll be able to see what your readers have to say about any issues on the page.
Another reason to check the comments section is because community interaction can give you a hint as to how well each post is being received. You can increase the page views by posting about interesting topics that will attract and keep viewers’ attention. You may have five posts with one or two comments and one post with eight. Keep track of what topics motivate your readers to interact and try to steer more content in that direction.
Track Page Engagement
One of the most important metrics you’ll watch will be your click-through rates and one of the most pertinent factors to consider in their success is your call to action. If you’re not seeing the type of results you think you should be from leads, it may be that your calls to action are not worded correctly or in the best spot. Optimal placement depends on the type of action you’re looking for. If you’re searching to simply acquire new customers, place the call to action at the top. If you want to build a relationship with the reader, a spot more towards the middle is appropriate. Also, check out the wording you’ve used and make sure it’s conveying the right message.
Consider Your Social Existence
We’re not talking about your dating life, but rather the popularity of your piece on social media. You may need a plugin or additional tool to accurately measure the number of shares you have on various social media sites, but certain sites, like BuzzSumo, can create organized charts to track the number of shares across multiple platforms.
If you find that your social life is lacking, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help revive it.
- Does your content marketing offer anything useful or interesting that viewers would be inclined to share?
- Would you share the piece if you read it on another site?
- How does each piece compare to those of your competitors?
The shares of each piece of content you produce can give you an indication of how well it’s being received. Pay close attention to which posts are the most liked and shared and you’ll gain some insight into what your viewers want to see.
Track Your Leads
Once you’ve posted a piece of content, you’ll begin tracking the leads that are generated. A good multi-touch attribution system can help keep track of which campaigns brought in each lead, but you’ll want to be sure you are tracking them all the way through the sales funnel. Keep track of how far each potential client makes it and whether or not they complete a sale. It’s important to use these figures to calculate your return on investment. After all, leads and sales are the entire reason you’re doing a content marketing campaign.
When assessing your analytics, ask yourself careful questions. If a high percentage of your leads are only making it to a certain point in the sales funnel, consider what the possible reasons could be for that. Is your content marketing lacking at a certain crossroads that loses the customer’s attention? Are your calls to action too soft or lacking sufficient urgency? Once you know where the problem lies, you’ll be able to look more closely at the details and identify possible issues.
Another metric to keep a close eye on is which avenues of lead generation are most profitable for you. Do you receive the most sign ups from people using a free trial offer? Is your email subscriber list high, but the number of click-throughs from those subscribers low? Once you’ve determined the best source for gaining leads, focus your energy there for immediate success and then determine methods to improve the weaker sources.
As you’re calculating leads, be sure to consider the longevity of influence for each post and the ramp up time needed for peak performance. There are many factors that may affect how long a post is beneficial for you, from the type of industry you’re in to current trending topics, so using a tool like Bitly can help you determine when your links have reached their full potential. While constantly adding new posts is necessary, you can also make some tweaks to freshen up past content. This simple practice will allow each page to continually add value to your site long after the normal cycle of relevancy has waned.
Watch Referral Paths
The blogging world is interconnected and many of the most prominent names in your business field are influencing and supporting each other. While you may not get a large number of referral links for every one of your posts, focusing on those topics that are more popular with your readers can mean a higher volume of traffic to your site. In addition to increased views, you’ll also be given more opportunities to develop reciprocal relationships with fellow bloggers and expand your network with those who have already built a following in your industry. The best place to start is with those who are linking to your site.
One of the most important ways to determine the areas in which your content marketing campaign is succeeding and the places it could use some work is by regularly reviewing the analytics. Modern programs and creative thinking can help you turn simple metrics into a recipe for success for your site.