7 Content Marketing Metrics You Can‘t Afford to Ignore in 2024

Content marketing is hands down one of the most effective ways to attract, engage, and convert new customers. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.

But with so much content being produced every day, how do you know if your efforts are actually paying off? That‘s where metrics come in. By tracking the right KPIs, you can measure the impact of your content, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategy.

As a content marketer, I‘ve seen firsthand how powerful metrics can be in driving results. In this article, I‘ll share the 7 most important content marketing metrics you should be tracking in 2024, along with tips and tools for measuring and improving each one.

1. Traffic

Bar chart showing website traffic increasing over time

Traffic is the lifeblood of content marketing. The more people who visit your website and engage with your content, the greater your potential to generate leads and sales. But not all traffic is created equal. It‘s important to look beyond just the raw number of pageviews and dig into the quality of your traffic.

Here are a few key traffic metrics to track:

  • Unique visitors: The number of individual people who visit your site in a given time period. This gives you a sense of your content‘s reach.
  • Pageviews: The total number of pages viewed on your site. A high number of pageviews per visitor indicates that people are exploring multiple pieces of content.
  • Traffic sources: Where your visitors are coming from – organic search, social media, email, paid ads, etc. This helps you understand which channels are driving the most traffic so you can optimize your distribution strategy.
  • New vs. returning visitors: The percentage of visitors who are coming to your site for the first time vs. those who have been there before. A healthy mix of both is ideal.

To track website traffic, I recommend using Google Analytics. It‘s free and provides detailed data on all of these metrics and more.

Once you have a baseline for your traffic metrics, set goals for improvement. For example, you might aim to:

  • Increase unique visitors by 20% month-over-month
  • Boost pageviews per visitor from 1.5 to 2
  • Double your organic search traffic in the next quarter

To drive more high-quality traffic to your content:

  • Optimize for search engines by targeting relevant keywords, building backlinks, and improving technical SEO
  • Promote your content on the social media channels where your audience spends time
  • Build an email list and send regular newsletters featuring your latest content
  • Collaborate with other creators and websites in your industry to tap into new audiences
  • Run paid ads to amplify your top-performing content

2. Engagement

Getting people to your content is only half the battle. The real magic happens when visitors actually stick around to read, watch, or listen to what you‘ve created. That‘s where engagement metrics come in.

Some key engagement metrics to track:

  • Average time on page: How long visitors spend on a particular piece of content. The higher, the better! Aim for at least 2-3 minutes.
  • Pages per session: The average number of pages a visitor views during a single session on your site. A high number indicates that people are finding your content valuable and want to explore more.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who leave your site after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate suggests that people aren‘t finding what they‘re looking for or your content isn‘t meeting their needs.
  • Scroll depth: How far down the page people are scrolling. This is especially important for long-form blog posts. If people are only making it 25% of the way through your 2,000 word article, that‘s a sign that you need to work on making your content more engaging.
  • Comments & shares: The number of comments, likes, and shares your content receives on your website and social media. This is a good indicator of how well your content is resonating with your audience.

Tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar, and social media analytics can help you track these engagement metrics. For example, Hotjar provides heat maps that show you exactly how people are interacting with your content.

Heatmap showing which parts of a webpage people click on

To improve engagement, try:

  • Writing compelling headlines that draw people in
  • Using storytelling and examples to make your content more relatable
  • Breaking up text with subheadings, images, and other visual elements
  • Incorporating interactive elements like quizzes and polls
  • Ending with a strong call-to-action (CTA) to encourage comments and shares

3. Conversions

Ultimately, the goal of content marketing is to drive profitable action – whether that‘s filling out a lead form, signing up for a free trial, or making a purchase. Conversion metrics show you how well your content is moving people through the customer journey and delivering tangible business results.

Important conversion metrics to track:

  • Conversion rate: The percentage of visitors who take a desired action on your website. Conversion rates vary widely by industry, but a good benchmark to aim for is 2-5%.
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): How much you‘re investing in content marketing to acquire a new lead or customer. To calculate CPA, divide your total content marketing spend by the number of conversions generated.
  • Revenue and ROI: The total sales and return on investment generated from your content marketing efforts. This is the holy grail of content marketing metrics!

To track conversions, you‘ll need to set up goals in Google Analytics or use a dedicated conversion tracking tool like Unbounce or Instapage. Make sure to assign a monetary value to each conversion so you can measure your ROI.

To optimize your content for conversions:

  • Include relevant, high-value CTAs throughout your content
  • Create dedicated landing pages for each campaign or offer
  • Remove unnecessary form fields to reduce friction
  • Add social proof like testimonials and case studies
  • A/B test different headlines, images, and CTAs to see what converts best

4. SEO Performance

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Since 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, SEO is a crucial part of any content marketing strategy.

Key SEO metrics to track:

  • Keyword rankings: Where your content appears in search results for your target keywords. Aim to rank on the first page (top 10) for the keywords that matter most to your business.
  • Organic traffic: The number of visitors coming to your site from organic (non-paid) search results. Organic traffic is some of the highest-quality traffic you can get.
  • Backlinks: The number and quality of external websites linking to your content. Backlinks are a key ranking factor in Google‘s algorithm. Generally, the more high-quality backlinks you have, the better you‘ll rank.
  • Organic CTR: The click-through rate on your organic search listings. A low CTR could indicate that your meta titles and descriptions aren‘t compelling enough.

Tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush, and Ahrefs can help you track your SEO performance and identify opportunities for improvement.

To boost your SEO performance:

  • Conduct keyword research to identify high-volume, low-competition keywords to target
  • Optimize your meta titles, descriptions, headers, and image alt text for your target keywords
  • Create in-depth, authoritative content that thoroughly answers searchers‘ questions
  • Build backlinks through guest blogging, broken link building, and digital PR
  • Improve page speed and mobile-friendliness to provide a better user experience

5. Email Engagement

Email marketing is a powerful way to nurture leads, build relationships with your audience, and drive conversions. As part of your content marketing strategy, you should be sending regular newsletters featuring your latest blog posts, videos, podcasts, and other content.

Key email metrics to track:

  • Open rate: The percentage of subscribers who open your emails. Aim for an open rate of 20-30% or higher.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of subscribers who click on a link within your email. A good CTR is 2-5%.
  • Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of subscribers who opt out of your emails. Keep this under 0.5% to maintain a healthy email list.
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of subscribers who take a desired action, like making a purchase or filling out a form, after clicking through from your email.

Most email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact provide built-in analytics for these metrics.

To improve your email engagement:

  • Segment your email list based on subscribers‘ interests, behaviors, and demographics
  • Personalize subject lines and content for each segment
  • Write compelling subject lines that stand out in the inbox
  • Keep your emails short, focused, and scannable
  • Include a clear CTA in every email
  • A/B test different subject lines, content, and CTAs to optimize performance

6. Social Media Engagement

Social media is a key distribution channel for your content. Not only does it help you reach new audiences, but it also allows you to engage with your followers and build community around your brand.

Important social media metrics to track:

  • Followers: The number of people who follow your social media accounts. While follower count isn‘t everything, it does give you a sense of your reach and audience size.
  • Impressions: The number of times your content is displayed in users‘ feeds. The more impressions, the more people are seeing your content.
  • Engagement rate: The percentage of followers who interact with your posts through likes, comments, and shares. A good engagement rate on Facebook and Twitter is around 0.5-1%. On Instagram, aim for 3-6%.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click on the links in your social media posts. This shows how effective your content is at driving traffic back to your website.

Use the built-in analytics on each social media platform to track these metrics, or invest in a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social for more advanced reporting.

To boost your social media engagement:

  • Post consistently (at least once per day on most platforms)
  • Share a mix of your own content and curated content from other sources
  • Use eye-catching visuals like images, videos, and infographics
  • Ask questions and encourage discussion in your posts
  • Respond to comments and messages promptly
  • Run social media contests and giveaways to incentivize engagement

7. Lead Quality

Generating a high volume of leads is great, but if those leads aren‘t qualified, they won‘t turn into customers. That‘s why it‘s important to track lead quality as part of your content marketing metrics.

Lead quality metrics to track:

  • Lead-to-customer conversion rate: The percentage of leads that eventually become paying customers. If this number is low, it could mean that your content is attracting the wrong people.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLTV): The average amount of revenue a customer generates over the course of their relationship with your brand. Higher CLTV means your content is bringing in valuable customers.
  • Sales cycle length: The average amount of time it takes to close a deal. If your sales cycle is getting shorter, it‘s a sign that your content is effectively nurturing leads and moving them closer to a purchase.

To track lead quality, you‘ll need to integrate your content marketing metrics with your CRM (customer relationship management) system. Tools like HubSpot and Salesforce can help you connect the dots between your content and revenue.

To improve lead quality:

  • Develop detailed buyer personas to ensure you‘re targeting the right people with your content
  • Use progressive profiling to gather more information about leads over time
  • Score your leads based on their engagement level and fit with your ideal customer profile
  • Create content for each stage of the buyer‘s journey, from awareness to decision
  • Align your content strategy with your sales process to ensure a seamless handoff

Conclusion

Tracking these 7 content marketing metrics will give you a comprehensive view of your content‘s performance and impact on your business. By monitoring traffic, engagement, conversions, SEO, email metrics, social media analytics, and lead quality, you can make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategy and drive better results.

Remember, metrics are just the starting point. The real value comes from turning those insights into action. Use your metrics to identify your top-performing content, understand what resonates with your audience, and double down on what‘s working. At the same time, don‘t be afraid to experiment and try new things based on the data.

Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. By consistently tracking your metrics, making improvements, and providing value to your audience, you can build a sustainable content strategy that drives real business growth.

Now if you‘ll excuse me, I have some metrics to check on! 📈