Measuring What Matters for Inbound Marketing Metrics
In today’s data driven world, metrics rule the outcome of any marketing strategy, but focus too narrowly on numbers and you might just end up losing perspective.
Metrics don’t always mean success, which is why you need to measure what matters. If you are looking to reap a sound ROI on your content marketing strategy, it is imperative that the associated results are closely aligned with your goals.
The saying, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted,” is often attributed to Albert Einstein, but were the words of sociologist William Bruce Cameron. It seems Einstein may have been a fan of this ideology, as it is reputed that he had this saying hanging in his office. Either way, this phrase could easily be representative of digital marketing.
What is it that truly determines the success or failure of your content marketing strategy?
Unfortunately, there’s no industry definition that determines the success or failure of your content. Only your goals can tell if your content is working. Content marketing goals can be far reaching, short term, overarching, or they can be campaign specific or single project oriented. Each metric tells a story—and can inform the next—or the decisions you make about the direction of the next goal. The fulfillment of your goals is the true performance indicator that reveals whether you are hitting the right mark or not. A thousand page views in a day may still be termed a failure if your business goal was to get more engagement and the views didn’t result in that. It’s like looking at only weight and ignoring the body mass index.
Just because your numbers are low, doesn’t mean your strategy isn’t working, and vice versa. Marketers often overlook certain aspects of the measurement process because of their obsession with conventional metrics.
Here’s a list of parameters that help tell the whole story:
The identity of the user has been reduced to a single click. Content marketing is all about engaging with people to push them further down the conversion funnel. Breaking down your data to report on each individual that comprises it could prove resourceful in identifying a lead. For instance:
- New audience members
- Who are they?
- How have they interacted with you?
- Where do they hang out online?
- Most active audience members
- Who are they?
- How often have they interacted with you?
- About what?
- Most influential audience members
- How are you maintaining oversight on this? If an influential person in your industry likes your stuff, you want to know about it!
- Indirect Conversions
Just because your content didn’t result in an immediate conversion doesn’t mean it isn’t effective in doing its job. Not all content is designed to fulfill this purpose, which is why it’s important to track indirect conversions.
Indirect conversion refers to someone who checks out your page at some point, but returns to be converted in the future. More often than not, people like to make themselves comfortable with your style/tone (aka gain trust in your brand) before revealing personal information such as their email address.
A good way to start doing this is by identifying the role your content plays in the sales funnel—and creating content that meets the needs of prospects (and customers) throughout the duration of their relationship with you. Some content, like podcasts, might be effective at building your authority and engaging your audience, but it may not drive conversions immediately. (Keep in mind that an existing customer might broker a referral by way of sending the link to that podcast along to a colleague.)
- Bounce Rate Statistics
Google defines bounce rate as the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. It’s a really simple metric that could prove disastrous if misinterpreted. It’s fairly common to assume that a higher bounce rate is an indication of poor performance. But, consider this common occurrence: a visitor accessed your site, read the information, was satisfied, and then left. This would technically add to the bounce rate even though the visitor had a perfectly good experience while on your website.
Clicking on the back button while on the page will result in a bounce even if your visitor just left the website for a moment and immediately returned back to your page. Hence, it is vital to look at a few other factors, such as the amount of time a visitor spent on your page, as well as the nature of the visitor—returning or new. Have you distinguished between unique visits and a unique visitor?
Combine Editorial Judgment & Analtytical Assessment
Ultimately, the best way to measure content marketing performance is to combine editorial judgment with analytical assessment. And, while you’re at that, remember to keep your target audience’s interests and needs as your primary goal. A holistic approach in interpreting your metrics will automatically bring your content marketing strategy’s focus back to your ultimate goals.
As inbound marketing specialists, Boston-based Grant Marketing is well aware that each client has very different and specific goals—though they are ultimately tied to the bottom line. If you are metric-minded and want to explore this subject more, download this informative quick-reference sheet, “The 6 Marketing Metrics Your Boss Actually Cares About.”