You invest a lot of time and energy into your content marketing efforts. But are you sure you're tracking the right metrics?
Keeping track of your content marketing campaigns is essential for determining whether your strategies are working. But with so much data, it can be challenging to tell KPIs from vanity metrics.
In today’s post, we'll dive into the most useful content marketing KPIs for SaaS.
- What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Why tracking content marketing metrics KPIs matters
- Our top 9 most important content marketing metrics & how to track them
Ready? Let’s get started.
What Are Content KPIs?
Your content KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are the metrics you use to track your content strategy’s performance.
It’s key to distinguish these metrics from “vanity metrics”. Vanity metrics are “feel good” metrics. They show you that you’re making progress, but they’re not actionable. And, in some cases, they may have very little connection to your business goals.
Some common vanity metrics are:
- Post impressions
- Social media followers
- Trial sign-ups
- Email subscribers
- Social media likes
Vanity metrics are worth tracking, but only as an additional data point that’s only worth it if you put it in context.
Why Content Marketing Metrics Matter & How to Choose Which Ones to Track
Overall, by choosing the right content KPIs you’ll be able to:
- Keep an eye on your website’s conversion rate
- Build and optimize your inbound conversion funnel
- Get a clear sense of your content’s ROI
- Understand the role social media plays in your marketing strategy
While we can make some suggestions, there isn’t an exact set of KPIs you must track. You’ll need to choose your own.
To choose your KPIs, you'll need to consider:
- Your content strategy’s maturity level — If you’re just starting out, you probably want to position your brand to capture qualified leads. But if you have already achieved high visibility, you may want to adjust your strategy to increase conversion.
- Your commercial objectives – Consider the specific business goals you want to reach with your content strategy.
With those elements in mind, you’ll be ready to determine which metrics are most relevant to you and create content accordingly. Let's move on to that.
The 9 Most Useful Types Of Content Marketing Metrics (& How to Track Them)
Now that you know why KPIs matter in content marketing, let's look at the most valuable metrics for tracking the success of your content marketing campaigns.
- Traffic source
- Best organic keywords
- Best organic pages
- Search impressions
- Search clicks
- Organic conversions
- Time on page
- Social media engagement
Let’s take a closer look.
Traffic source is a metric that shows how much traffic arrives at your website from different source types. For instance, social media, paid advertising, or organic search.
How to track your Traffic Sources
There are many tools you can use to view your traffic source. We usually recommend Google Analytics, which is both reliable and free.
Hover over to Reports > Life cycle > Acquisition to see where most of your traffic is coming from.
What you can learn from your traffic sources
By tracking your traffic sources, you can assess the effectiveness of your efforts on each channel. Plus, you could also detect untapped opportunities.
Best Organic Keywords
An organic keyword is a search query you target through your content, to get organic traffic.
Your best organic keywords are those terms that are giving you the most non-paid traffic.
How to track your Best Organic Keywords
As with most KPIs on this list, there’s a wide variety of tools you can use to track your best organic keywords. But we recommend Google Search Console.
Simply open Search Console, navigate to Performance, and scroll down. There, you’ll see a table with several tabs. Click on Queries. That’s it. You’ve just found your best organic keywords. Feel free to sort them and filter them to taste.
If you use an SEO tool such as Ahrefs or SEMRush, you can filter through your organic keywords to track performance trends more easily than on GSC. This complementary data is always useful and can help you get more context.
What you can learn from your Best Organic Keywords
Your best organic keywords will help you understand if you’re successfully ranking your high-priority keywords. Plus, you may also detect relevant search queries that you weren’t targeting intentionally. Maybe your next killer content idea is waiting for you in your best organic keyword list.
Best Organic Pages
Your best organic pages are those URLs that are ranking the highest in search results and generating the most organic impressions and traffic.
How to track your Best Organic Pages
Use Google Search Console to track your best organic pages.
Open Search Console, go to Performance, and scroll down. There, you’ll see a table with several tabs. Click on Pages.
What you can learn from your Best Organic Pages
Use the list of your best organic pages to identify your most successful content.
You may want to:
- Create supporting pieces for this high-performing material
- Update it or expand it
- Use it for a PPC campaign
- Reshare it on social media
- Use it to strike conversations with leads
Search impressions track how many times search engine users find your website. It’s worth pointing out that we’re referring to organic search impressions, so ad impressions aren’t included.
How to Track your Search Impressions
You can use Google Search Console to track your organic search impressions. In fact, a graph with organic impressions and clicks is the first thing you’ll see when entering the GSC Performance tab.
What you can learn from your Search Impressions
We could argue that Search Impressions is a vanity metric. At the end of the day, they’re a non-conversion metric. But search impressions are directly linked to growing brand awareness and more organic traffic.
In fact, growing search impressions are an early sign that you’re on the right track. So this metric is definitely worth tracking.
By tracking search clicks, you can find out how many times users choose your content over your competitors.
How to track your Search Clicks
Use Google Search Console to track your search clicks. As with search impressions, you can find (organic) search links at the top of the Performance tab.
What you can learn from your Search Clicks
Search Clicks are one of the most important content marketing metrics.
They let you know that:
- You’re targeting the right search queries
- You’re offering something different and enticing
In short, high search clicks are a great sign that your content strategy’s working.
This may be the most important KPI in this list.
Brands often use content marketing to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Build their reputation as thought leaders
- Offer extra value to existing customers
How to track your Organic Conversions
But content marketing isn’t just a positioning strategy. Ideally, your content should be leading your users to convert. You can easily set up conversion tracking on Google Analytics, even if you’ve never coded before.
What you can learn from Organic Conversions
Organic conversions let you know how effective your content is at turning visitors into leads and leads into customers.
Which type of conversions you should track will depend on the structure of your business. But we recommend you track conversions such as:
- Demo bookings
- Free sign-ups
- Purchases or subscriptions to paid plans
And don’t forget to track micro conversions! You can learn a little more in our CRO optimization guide.
Time on Page
Time on page measures how much time a user spends on a certain URL before moving on to another or closing the tab altogether.
How to track Time on Page
You can use Google Analytics to find out which pages are getting the most attention. GA refers to this metric as “average engagement time”.
To find it, simply go to Reports > Engagement > Pages and Screens
What you can learn from your Time-on-Page
Analyzing user behavior on a specific page can help you to:
- Create future content
- Optimize existing pieces
For instance, if an article isn't performing well, you can review it and see if any areas can be reworked. In the same way, if users remain on a page for a long time, it’s likely that the content is very valuable and should be updated or used as a guideline.
But be careful: Time on page may not be directly linked to high-value content. Your users may be spending so much time on your website because they’re actually struggling to get what they’re looking for.
Social Media Engagement
Social media engagement is essential for brand visibility. And “social signals” let search engines know that your content’s relevant. But depending on the platforms you’re operating on, there may be a lot of background noise.
We recommend you focus on:
- Social media shares
- Social traffic/CTA click-through rates
How to track your Social Media Engagement
Many social media platforms include built-in analytics systems (such as Meta Business Suite), while others may require third-party tools.
What you can learn from your Social Media Engagement
Tracking the right social KPIs can help you:
- Understand your audience’s content preferences
- Identify which are your most efficient social channels
Google’s ranking factors are willingly kept obscure and mysterious. But there’s one thing we know.
In academia, where the most influential and important papers are those with the most citations. And in the Google SERPs, the most relevant and authoritative pages are those with the most backlinks.
Backlinks are links from third-party domains that lead to your website. Having thousands of backlinks is a common consequence of having a high-authority platform - and that’s the way it should be. We strongly advise against unscalable, spammy, or black-hat link-building strategies.
How to track your Backlink Profile
You can use Google Search Console to track your backlinks. Visit Google Search Console and navigate to Links.
However, GSC's data is extremely limited. So tracking this metric with a paid SEO toolkit (such as Ahrefs or SEMRush) is a good idea.
What you can learn from your Backlink Profile
If you’re building quality backlinks genuinely, your backlink profile will be a great demonstration of how your brand has built authority over time.
As you can see, your content performance can be measured with a wide range of KPIs. Although these KPIs are helpful, it’s important to note that progress will not occur overnight. Content strategy is a long-term ongoing effort. And it’ll only give results if it’s powered by quality content and guided by user goals.