Content Analytics 101: What every writer & editor needs to know

By NativeAI / October 4, 2018

Most marketers face a similar problem with content analytics: they have too little time and too much data.

Because there are a so many metrics available and so many other things going on, it can feel overwhelming to dive in too deep. So, unfortunately all too often not much else gets looked at beyond basic information such as visits and shares.

While this is understandable, it is also a huge mistake. The effective use of analytics lies at the heart of a good content marketing strategy and failing to engage properly makes it much more likely that your efforts will fail.

Why are content marketing analytics so important? What exactly are they? How do they differ from content analytics more broadly? What impact can they have on improving campaign effectiveness?

Here is what marketers need to know:

What Are Content Marketing Analytics?

Often content analytics and content marketing analytics are thought to be synonymous. However, while there is certainly a lot of overlap, they are not in fact the same thing.

The big difference is content marketers is that content is not the product. So while the primary concern of content publishers is simply to create great pieces, content marketers are creating pieces to achieve other broader goals for their businesses.

Fundamentally, content marketing analytics is about defining these specific goals and then using the right metrics to measure whether they are or are not being met.

How Can Marketers Determine Which Metrics to Measure?

Content marketing analytics starts with business goals: Are you trying to reach new customers? Increase sales with existing audiences? Boost repeat purchases?

Once you define those, a good way to begin determining which metrics to measure is to start by mapping your content creation efforts to different parts of the sales funnel.

Essentially, once you know what purpose each specific piece is supposed to serve in leading a person to an action — to increase consumption/awareness, sharing, lead generation, lead nurturing, conversion, etc. — you can then determine the right metric for measuring success.

This chart from Jay Baer and Curata does a good job of of encapsulating the idea:


What's important to note here is that content marketing doesn't usually stop with a conversion/sale. Most businesses create pieces as part of the extended product/service lifecycle —  onboarding, building loyalty, encouraging repeat purchases, etc. — and each of these goals also has its own unique set of associated metrics.

What Are Examples of Specific Content Metrics That Marketers Should Be Tracking?

Given that every business and campaign has its own unique goals, there is no single set of universal content marketing metrics.

To determine exactly what you should be tracking, start with the questions you want answered related to your goals and then identify the relevant data points.

For example, here are some common content marketing needs and a few sample metrics:

  • Is my lead generation content reaching audiences?  -> Visits, views, open rates, and shares
  • Is my lead generation content engaging audiences? -> Engagement quality (EQ)
  • Am I creating the right types of lead gen content? -> Topic/interest maps
  • Is my content generating leads? -> Landing page visits, conversion metrics
  • Is my content nurturing leads? -> Open rates and engagement quality (EQ)
  • Are my leads converting? -> Click-throughs/sales, revenue
  • Are customers continuing to engage with content? -> Visits, views, open rates, and shares
  • What's the overall impact of my content? -> Long-term customer value

Again, this is just a sampling of content marketing metrics that can be measured. The specific mix for your firm will depend on the key questions that you want answered about content performance.

What Should Firms Be Getting Out of Their Content Marketing Analytics?

With an effective content marketing analytics approach you should be able to:

  • Determine which piece and channels are reaching the right audiences
  • Understand the interests and behaviors of your target audiences
  • Find opportunities for increased reach and lead generation
  • Improve the effectiveness of lead nurturing content
  • Boost conversion rates and product/service sales
  • Increase customer loyalty and retention

The overarching goal is that your content should be measurable in the same way as other marketing channels: you should be able to clearly see what is/isn't working, determine ROI, and make adjustments.

Ultimately, the key to content marketing analytics is to think of it as a combination of content analytics and business intelligence: with clear goals, the right metrics, and good analysis you should be able to not only see how pieces are performing but also to boost the bottom line.

Further Reading: Here’s our Complete Guide to Content Analytics for Publishers

Written by NativeAI / October 4, 2018