The wealth of available performance data can actually feel like an impairment.
For small content marketing teams especially, deciding where to start can feel like the hardest part. You want data that’s insightful but also accessible and actionable for your situation.
We recommend starting simple. Everything you really need to know comes down to two types of data:
- Page analytics
- Pipeline analytics
In this post, we’ll look at specific metrics you can track within those groups.
Why marketers need to track content analytics
Data is crucial to every step of content marketing production. Seriously. (Even the groundwork for a content strategy – topics to focus on, subjects to write about – requires data-driven research.)
Analytics enable you to do the following:
- Leverage the posts that generate leads and convert
- Flag the posts that are lagging behind
- Fill gaps in the sales funnel
- Optimize old content
- Iterate on the current strategy
- Prove the value of content marketing to stakeholders
And you can do those tasks quite well with relatively simple data. It’s just a matter of knowing how to find it and what to do with it.
These metrics are important: you can’t optimize conversion rates on your page if no one can find it to begin with.
Page analytics tell you about the health of a given page by answering some basic performance questions:
- How often are people finding your page?
- How interested are they once they find it?
This data can be retrieved from Google Analytics (GA). (You can also use our free content analytics app, Ottimo.)
Generally, we recommend that marketers break their organic content metrics into two categories: traffic metrics and engagement metrics.
This data tells you how often your content is showing up in search results and whether or not users find the content interesting enough to click.
This is baseline data: it speaks to the fundamental health and visibility of the content on your site. For in-depth explanations of what those metrics tell you and how to use them, check our guide to traffic analytics.
This data measures activity on a page – specifically: what people do after seeing the content.
This data gives you a basic sense of user experience. With this data you can start revising content-keyword alignment, page speed, and other structural issues.
For a deeper dive on how to use this data, check out our guide to engagement metrics.
Millions of pageviews aren’t worth much if that traffic isn’t generating business. Pipeline analytics (sometimes called revenue analytics) will connect the dots more directly between content and revenue.
With the right tech stack, you can answer questions at the intersection of marketing and sales:
- What channels are bringing in viable customers?
- Which pages do they visit on their path to conversion?
- Where are customers converting most often?
Companies typically track pipeline with a CRM like Hubspot or Salesforce. Setup requires a greater investment than you’ll spend on page analytics. On the upside, it produces the kind of data that C-suite folks can really sink their teeth into.
Generally, we break pipeline analytics into three main categories:
When you track a lead, you’re tracking anyone who has given you their email address, and is worth sales’ time to talk with.
Lead tracking helps marketers answer important questions about their organic content performance:
- How are people finding you in organic search?
- Is your content useful for the right audience (i.e. potential buyers)?
An Opportunity might also be called a “Deal”. It’s a lead whose interaction with you has progressed to the point that they are thinking seriously about signing a contract.
Even though you don’t have total control over this stage of the buying process – since by this point they’ve had several interactions with sales – this is a number that’s frequently used to measure the success of marketing teams.
This is, of course, the bottom-line. Revenue related to content marketing analytics come from a marketing or customer relationship automation tool.
Platforms like Salesforce and Hubspot pull in website data like traffic sources and actions taken, translating those numbers into insights and attributing revenue to organic search.
You have the least control over this number – it depends heavily not just on your content attracting the right prospects, but on Sales running a successful process with them. However, revenue your content has sourced – or influenced – is a great number to have access to.
Page vs. pipeline analytics: what should you start with?
We recommend companies implement page analytics first. Three reasons why:
- You can’t really track revenue/pipeline until you have traffic.And you can’t really generate traffic until you understand what’s working and what isn’t.
- You won’t get much ROI on platforms like Hubspot or Salesforce until you have a substantial pipeline to track.
- Page analytics have a lower barrier to entry.
If you’re building a content program from scratch, this is a real factor.
Revenue analytics are vital, of course! Especially for marketers. But setting up attribution systems is no small task. Especially for small teams.
So don’t drive yourself nuts trying to do everything at once.
A simple plan you actually use is better than a complex one you never do.
Ercule’s approach to content analytics
Analytics can feel like a chore for marketers (though we think it’s fun) – so we created an app that anyone can use to track organic search performance: Ottimo.
Ottimo helps marketers strategize and optimize content based on simple, clear analytics and recommendations. Totally free. No strings attached.
For our agency clients we take the lead on the technical side of content marketing. This way they can focus on broader creative and strategic concerns (ie. the more fun stuff).
In the early stages, this often means a few parallel tasks:
- Diagnostic audit of website performance
- Assessment of infrastructure for data tracking
- Inventory of the existing content library
- Research and discovery for strategic topics
In other words we start…
- Optimizing a site so that people can actually find and use it
- Making sure that data is being accurately tracked
- Figuring out what content we can leverage in the existing library
- Building a data-driven content strategy for organic search
If you’d like to chat about any of these topics, drop us a line any time!