Content performance KPIs you can't live without

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Is there more to measuring your content marketing success than just counting page views? For that matter, how important are page views in the grand scheme of things? It is one thing to know you need an active content marketing plan in place and another to fully comprehend the performance metrics that evaluate how well it works.

The metrics you use to measure content performance are called Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. You are not born knowing how to assess KPIs. It’s the kind of thing you learn by staying on top of best practices and new tools and by attending seminars like Content Marketing Conference. That education allows you to pick the KPIs that matter and ignore the ones that don’t really tell you much.

Here’s an overview to get you started with 10 content marketing KPIs modern marketers can’t live without and three you can’t live with:

Content Marketing KPIs That Matter and Why

One of the most commonly measured content marketing KPIs is page views. Page views count each instance of a visitor viewing a page on your site. But this aggregate metric is only one small part of a much larger story because it does not answer critical questions like:

  • How many unique users visited my site?
  • Were these page views from new visitors or returning users?
  • What region of the world is this traffic coming from?
  • Are the page views on a mobile or a desktop device?
  • How much time did they spend viewing each page?

Page views is a narrow metric and if you don’t dig a bit deeper  you are not getting a full assessment of your content performance. Content marketers need to look for KPIs that offer more granular data with actionable insights into their audience. Here are three KPIs that can answer those deeper questions and help you transform your reporting from a basic performance summary to predictive and actionable analytics.

1. Unique Visitors

Unique visitors answers the question of how many individual users accessed your site in a given time period using a combination of cookies and a device’s IP address. It is a more insightful metric than page views because no matter how many times someone returns to your site or how many pages they access they are tallied only once. For example, your site may have 10,000 monthly visits and 25,000 page views but only 5,000 unique visitors.

Measuring unique visitors matters because it provides a more accurate picture of your audience size.

2. Geography

What areas of the world deliver the most traffic? If you are a local business, then you hope to see most of the traffic coming from areas close to home. If you are looking to expand your online business to other countries, you need to see how well you are doing overseas.

3. Device

Having a responsive website is a requirement for a top page ranking, so this KPI tells you that people are able to access your page via a mobile device. It also provides performance indicators for mobile ads and local search engines.

The Content Marketing Institute calls these Customer Reach KPIs. By monitoring them, you get an understanding about how well your brand is evolving and whether people are able to find your content.

Content Performance Tracking to Measure Engagement

Once you know that people can assess the content, the next thing to ask is how much of an impact it is making. Engagement KPIs tell you whether the content has meaning to your customers.

  • Is it worth their time to read your blog?
  • Do posts lead to conversions?
  • Are you getting the best ROI for  your content marketing effort?

The KPIs that measure the engagement factor include:

4. Bounce Rate

The pages open and then close again after just a few seconds. It still counts as a page view, but that customer clearly was not engaged by the content. Unless they take the time to read what is on the page, the view means nothing.

5. Time Spent

Even if they manage to keep the page open for a few seconds, it is good to know how much average time is spent on each page. This tells you what blog posts were most effective and what products get the most attention. It takes longer than 30 seconds to read a 30-page whitepaper.

6. In-page Analytics

You could go even further and find out what part of each page gets the most attention. Google Analytics offers this data or you can use a program like CrazyEgg, which creates heat maps on request. All you do is plug in the page URL to see what section took the most time to read. Use of this platform requires you to pay an annual subscription.

Financial Content Marketing Metrics That Matter

Don’t get so caught up in the performance metrics that you ignore the financial side of your marketing plan. Sales revenue increases after each new campaign indicates whether it was effective or not. A bump up in page views without an increase in sales revenue is a very telling sign.

Content marketing ROI is another critical financial metric. It tells you not only how beneficial a current strategy is but gives you a crystal ball when planning future marketing budgets. To calculate content marketing ROI, you need to know:

7. Monthly Visitors
8. Monthly Leads
9. Monthly Customers
10. Average Sales Price Per Customer

Hubspot offers a powerful free tool that does the math for you, so you can monitor your marketing return on investment easily.

What About KPIs That Don’t Matter?

Not all key performance indicators are worth your attention. You might glance at them, but for the most part they provide little or misleading information.


Read comments, but don’t obsess over them. Make sure to put out fires as they happen and answer any questions that pop up, though. Take the rest with a grain of salt. Comments gives you a basic idea of how well the brand is doing but don’t tell you much else unless there is a major snafu somewhere.

Open rates for Emails

If email marketing is part of your strategy, the open rates are deceiving. Focus more on the click through rates. That is a clear indication that the customer saw something interesting on the page and chose to investigate.


The only thing impression rates tell you is how many times an ad displays. Again, click through rates is a more substantial number to watch.

So, what about the page views? By itself, page views is a meaningless piece of data unless there are none or a sudden drop in the number. Shift your attention to more pressing KPIs to get a comprehensive view of the content marketing performance.

Learn more about KPIs and how to put them to good use at this year’s Content Marketing Conference in Las Vegas. Secure a spot now, so you don’t miss out.