Publishing content and hoping it's getting you results is one thing, but how can you actually measure the performance of your content? This article outlines six metrics that will help you effectively track content effectiveness.

First, consider what you are looking to achieve from your content marketing campaign. If you don't have at least a clear outline of what you want to achieve and what your content campaign goals are, then it's going to be tough for you to measure the performance of your content.

In many organizations, content marketing goals are to increase brand exposure, generate more leads, increase sales, and so forth.

Writing great and engaging content that is highly shareable can increase people's awareness of your brand, which should increase leads and purchases. But, if you're not tracking your content correctly, you'll never know which (if any) awesome piece of content is helping you achieve your targets.

Vanity metrics don't mean success

Vanity metrics are metrics that may look great on paper, but they don't provide you with a true picture of how well your content strategy is doing. They certainly shouldn't be the only metrics you're tracking.

For example, I once published a piece of content that gained many likes on Facebook and Twitter. Great, or so I thought. I dug a little deeper and found that the people who liked my content never actually visited the content I published.

Which led me to think, Where was the value in those likes? Yeah, they look great to people who can't see my analytics, but deep down,I know they meant practically nothing.

The following are some vanity metrics:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Downloads
  • Subscribers
  • Pageviews

Some of those may come as a surprise to you.

Pageviews, we all want pageviews. But do we really? Many companies are blinded by the large number of pageviews their content has received. Although pageviews also look great in a monthly report, they don't provide much useful information about engagement on the part of the audience you're targeting.

For instance, content piece X might bring you in thousands of pageviews every month, leading you to believe that it is better than content piece Y, which brings in only a few hundred every month. However, is content piece X converting into the goals you have set for it? What if content piece Y, despite accounting for less traffic, is converting more traffic in absolute terms?

That's why with deeper analytics reporting and tracking you will be able to see just which pieces of content are working for you and your brand.

Track deeper metrics

By tracking deeper metrics, you can explore user engagement, retention, and much more. You will be able to capture more accurate data, allowing you to see just what types of content drive your target's home.

Depending on the goals of your campaigns, deeper metrics can vary. However, these six metrics will give you a great starting point:

  1. The time users spent on your content: This metric will allow you to see whether your content is providing the information people want when they land on that page. If the average time is far too low for people to be actually reading, then you may need to rethink that entire piece to make it more relevant to the topic at hand.
  2. Timeline of user engagement: This metric will help you see how your content has performed over a certain period of time. It will enable you to see the typical lifespan of your content, and also show you whether your content needs updating to keep up with the times.
  3. Content in order of engagement: One of my favorites, this metric will help you find out which pieces of your content have had the most engagement. You will be able to see what types of content is speaking the most to your target audience, putting you on the right path for your next piece of content.
  4. Channels in order of engagement: Finding out which channels are best can help you find where more time should be invested. For example, if Twitter drives more traffic to your website then LinkedIn, then you may either want to focus more time on Twitter, or vice-versa.
  5. Influencers in order of engagement: If your brand deals mainly with influencers, then this metric is vital. You may think the biggest name in your industry is driving you the most traffic, but you may find a lesser-known influencer is actually sending you more relevant traffic that is more open to conversion.
  6. Conversion rate in order of content: To fully track which pieces of your content are converting, you will need to set up a full conversion path, allowing you to highlight the desired path and gauge how many of your website users follow it. Finding out which pieces of your content drive the most conversions can massively help you in writing the next piece of content for your business.

There you have it, my top six content performance metrics you can't live without.

Determining the true value of your content can help you create a powerful content marketing strategy, allowing your business to grow like never before.

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image of Thomas Caulton

Thomas Caulton is a content marketer and digital consultant at He enjoys providing other professionals and businesses with new marketing techniques that can help them grow their business online and off of it.

LinkedIn: Thomas Caulton