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How to Measure Your Digital Content Performance

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How to Measure Your Digital Content Performance

This post is in English
Alina Petrova updated
This post is in English
How to Measure Your Digital Content Performance

This is the last article in a series of guides for content specialists on how to write successfully both for people and search engines in 2017. Check out previous posts and stay tuned for new updates.

Effective Content Marketing has always been based on a well-organised content strategy, clearly defined targets, and constant analysis of the results. 

How can you determine the success of your digital content? How do you figure out what kind of content attracts your audience and allows you to achieve your marketing goals? You start by measuring and analyzing your content performance by looking at the right metrics.

In this article, you will find 23 essential content metrics and learn how you can interpret, analyze, and measure them.

Content Metrics Infographic - SEMrush

User Behavior Metrics

Pageviews 

Shows the total number of times a particular page on your website was visited.

Pageviews can give you a basic understanding of how good your content has performed in comparison with other posts published in the same period. This metric can show what kind of topics attract the most attention from your audience.

How to measure: 

Google Analytics - Behavior > Site content > All Pages tab. You can sort it by Unique Pageviews. When the data displays you can see which posts perform best, as well as check traffic for specific URLs.

Unique Visitors 

Indicates the total number of visitors who viewed a particular page on your website.

This metric is similar to Pageviews, but it can provide you with more accurate insights on how many new visitors your content attracts. Evaluating the number of unique visitors helps you to determine the scope of your audience.

How to measure: 

Google Analytics - Audience > Overview > Top row, second from left. Choose the date period in the upper right corner.

New and Returning Users 

Shows the ratio between new and returning visitors.

The number of new visitors indicates the number of potential leads, while the number of returning visitors shows if the visitors like your content. It is better to have a healthy mix of both: that means, your content can attract new users and retain the old ones.

How to measure:

Google Analytics - Audience > Behavior > New vs. Returning.

Google Analytics

Page Depth 

Demonstrates the average number of pages your users visit per session beyond the landing page. 

This metric indicates how engaging your overall content is. If this number is too low, this might be a sign of poor content interlinking, or low-quality website design and navigation. As Neil Patel recommends, you can check the most highly-visited pages on your website and optimize them to get better conversions.

How to measure: 

Google Analytics - Audience > Behavior > Engagement > in the Distribution tab select Page Depth.

Average Time on Page 

Indicates if the visitors are attentively reading your content or just skimming it. If the "time on page" on some content pieces is significantly lower than on others, it can show you which types of content are liked more and less. Analyze the best-performing articles and compare them to the least-performing articles. Try to determine why some are doing better than others. Do they differ by length, by form or by topic? Do they include infographics, images or video? Replicate what works. 

How to measure:

Google Analytics - Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Bounce Rate

Indicates the percentage of users that left the particular page without visiting any other website pages.

A high bounce rate can indicate that something isn't quite right with the page. If you have an e-commerce site, a high bounce rate can be a worrying signal, because it means that most customers leave your website without making a purchase.

Check your page load speed and your CTAs. Maybe your SEO needs some tweaking or people are not finding what they were looking for on this particular page.

Analysis and interpretation of a bounce rate should depend on the type of website or web page, so don't panic. For example, a high bounce rate on a blog may be normal if you have a number returning visitors who read new articles, find relevant information, and leave your website after that.

How to measure:

Google Analytics - Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

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Measure your content performance with SEMrush Content Analyzer

Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com

Pages Per Session

Indicates the average number of pages viewed during a session on your website.

This metric shows if your content is engaging and organized well enough to motivate a visitor to discover another web page. If your blog or website has proper and helpful interlinking (links to posts with more detailed information on the subject), users will be more likely to visit more than one page.

How to measure:

Google Analytics - Audience > Overview > Pages/Session.

Traffic Sources

Shows which sources bring traffic to your website.

This can help you discover the best and the worst marketing channels for you and help you determine what is, and what is not, working for you. Does the majority of your audience come from search engines, or is your social media strategy stronger than your SEO? Or maybe your brand is already well-known, and you mostly get direct traffic?

Analyzing traffic sources allows you to identify which marketing channels and strategies are working best for your content distribution. You can also identify the channels with good potential and perhaps a larger investment in resources or a tweaking of strategy would make a massive difference.

How to measure:

  1. Google Analytics - Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels.
  2. SEMrush - Domain Analytics > Traffic Analytics > Traffic Sources.

SEMrush Traffic Analytics

Engagement Metrics

Likes and Shares

These are indicators of your content engagement and popularity among your audience. However, a share is more significant than a like because it not only shows that someone found your content interesting but also expanded its reach.

How to measure:

  1. SEMrush Post Tracking - Projects > Set up a project  > Post Tracking tab > Add a URL or a group of URLs. You can see the total number of shares as well as the number of shares for each piece of content (including your external publications).

  2. SEMrush Social Media Tracker - Projects > Set up a project  > Overview > Engagement. You can see the total engagement of your content on social media.

SEMrush Social Media Tool

Comments

The number of comments under the post demonstrates the level of content engagement even better than social likes and shares do. It takes more time to write a comment than to like or share a post (of course, we are talking about valuable comments). So, if a reader was motivated enough to express his opinion in a comment section, it is often a good sign.

How to measure:

  1. SEMrush Social Media Tracker - Projects > Set up a project  > Overview > Choose a social media you are interested in. You can see the number of comments and replies to your posts on social media.

  2. To manage your blog comments, use Disqus or Commentful (tracking of your comments and online conversations).

Mentions

Mentions measure performance and engagement from your content. Track mentions of your content both in social media and other media channels; pay special attention to their sentiment, context, and authors.

How to measure:

  1. SEMrush Brand Monitoring Tool - Projects > Set up a project  > Mentions. You can track your mentions by source, period, presence or absence of backlink.

    SEMrush Brand Monitoring Tool

  2. Buzzsumo - Monitoring. You can filter your mentions by brands, competitors, backlinks, keywords or authors.

Re-publications

If another article partly quotes your content or refers to it as a source, this can be considered as a mention. And if the full text of your article, your infographic, video or another piece of content are published on a third-party website, this counts as a republication.

When you find a republication of your content, make sure the author included the link to the original post. It will help you to attract a more targeted audience to your website.

How to measure:

You can not measure the exact traffic coming to your article, but checking the average traffic of this website with SimilarWeb or SEMrush Traffic Analytics you will understand the potential reach you gain with this republication.

You can also ask the author to include an utm link. In this case, you can track referral traffic to your website via Google Analytics - Acquisition > Campaigns  > All campaigns.

Incoming Requests

A high number of incoming requests is a straight indicator of your content quality, whether it is an invitation to write new material, to give an interview, to share your knowledge base, or to cooperate in any other way.

SEO Outcome Metrics

Organic Traffic

Shows the number of people who found your website through a search engine.

Low figures may indicate that an article or page was not optimized properly. So to increase organic traffic, you need to pay attention to proper search engine optimization.

How to measure:

Google Analytics - Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Check the Organic search group. By clicking on it, you will get information on keywords that people have used to find your website.

Dwell Time

Dwell Time indicates the average length of time a visitor spends on the page before returning to the SERPs.

This metric is very important for your SEO: if a user comes to your webpage and returns right away to the search results, this is a negative signal to search engines and it affects your ranking.

How to measure:

Analyze your bounce rate, session duration, and time on page. If you have a low bounce rate and high time on page, it means users stay on your web page or website, so you have a high dwell time.

Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the most important Google ranking factors, and therefore one of the key content and PR metrics. Pay special attention to the number of links (do not forget to exclude spammy ones), the number of unique domains, and the quality of the referring domains.

How to measure:

  1. SEMrush - Domain Analytics > Backlinks. You can find the total number of backlinks, your referring domains and IPs, new and lost backlinks, top anchors and much more.

  2. SEMrush Brand Monitoring Tool - Projects > Set up a project  > Mentions > Apply filters > Backlinks > Show mentions with backlinks. You can see all mentions of your brand or product that include links to your website.

  3. SEMrush Post Tracking - Projects > Set up a project  > Post Tracking tab > Add a URL or a group of URLs. You can see the total number of backlinks and discover websites pointing to a particular publication.

SEMrush Content Tool

Keywords

Check the performance of your post for your targeted keywords. How many keywords is your content ranking for in the Google top 3? How is this page performing compared to your competitors?

How to measure:

  1. SEMrush Post Tracking - Projects > Set up a project  > Post Tracking tab > Add a URL or a group of URLs. You can see for which keywords your webpage is ranking in SERPs.

  2. SEMrush Position Tracking - Projects > Set up a project  > Add keywords you are interested in. Track your positions for your target keywords.

Company Revenue

Number of Leads

The number of potential clients, who have shared their personal details throughout the content produced by you. You can get them through contact forms, sign-ups for updates and newsletters, downloads of materials and so on.

How to measure:

To track leads generated by your content you need to set up corresponding goals in Google Analytics. You can read a guide on creating goals in this article.

Existing Leads Touched

It is not enough to just get a new lead. To achieve your marketing and business goals, it is very important to accompany your prospects in their purchasing processes. By analyzing the number of existing leads that interacted with your content you can evaluate and develop better lead nurturing.

How to measure:

Track the number of returning users in Google Analytics.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of visitors who took a desired action (click, registration, download, etc.) after interaction with your content.

How to measure:

Track the number of conversions and divide it by the number of total clicks on your link, banner or CTA during the same time period.

Conversion Rate = Conversions/Total clicks

Revenue Influenced / ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is the percentage of revenue we take from different actions. In this case, it will be the revenue related to the content created by you or your team.

How to measure:

Take the profit of your investment, subtract the cost of the investment, and divide the total by the cost of the investment:

ROI = (Return – Investment)/Investment

Choosing Relevant Content Metrics

To start, think about your marketing and business goals. What is "success" for you? What ROI are you looking for? If your brand has good visibility, then metrics such as likes, shares or web traffic may not be the key metrics in your content marketing strategy. In this case, you could focus on the number of new visitors you attract and/or new leads generated by your content.

Don't forget the metrics that will help you track success in regards to reaching your target audience and the effectiveness of your distribution channels. If your content does not bring you desired results, try to assess your distribution channels. Maybe, the channels you are using are not relevant to your audience, and you should invest your efforts in other marketing channels.

And last but not least, don’t analyze your data using just one metric. Always try to take into consideration different data based on various metrics. By examining all available data as a whole, you will gain a clear and complete picture of your content results.

Measure and analyze your digital content to improve your strategy and stay on top!

If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.

— Lord Kelvin

Spice up your Content Marketing

Measure your content performance with SEMrush Content Analyzer

Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com

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Responsable du Content Marketing chez SEMrush France et rédactrice sur ce blog.
Passionnée par la création de contenu, j'écris des articles sur le Content marketing, le SEO et la stratégie digitale.
J'ai plus de 5 ans d'expérience dans la rédaction et la traduction de contenu pour le web.
Adresse mail : [email protected]
===========================================================================================
Content Marketing manager at SEMrush French Marketing team.
I write about Content Marketing, SEO and Digital Strategy.
My email: [email protected]
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Thought Process Lab
This information is really great and useful. I am a Digital Marketer myself and I can surely use it further in my strategies for my Blog.
Alina Petrova
Thought Process Lab
Cool :) Thanks for your comment! Stay tuned for new articles and useful tips on our blog ;)
Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your website is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this website. - Email Support Services Perth, Chat Support Services Perth
There is some great points listed here, thank you.
George
This is a fantastic breakdown. Sending this to a few pals that say they can't afford marketing services, but could surely use some help.
Alina Petrova
George
Hi George! Thank you for your comment :) Happy that you find my article helpful and useful!
Nirmal Kumar
Thanks for this infographic. The explanation will be very useful for beginners.
Alina Petrova
Nirmal Kumar
Thanks for your comment Nirmal!
Shakoat Hossain
Hey Alina Petrova,

Great article! And the infographic is awesome!

I just save it and share it on twitter (amazing tutorial and impressive benefits indeed).

here, I discovered exactly how to measure digital content performance. No doubt, you're a brilliant technical SEO girl.

I need to learn all the crucial points from here. There is something I'm looking for few years.

If you help me and teaching by your own hand, I would be great and decrease my website bounce rate.

Thanks.... Keep it up!
Alina Petrova
Shakoat Hossain
Hi Shakoat,

Thank you very much for your comment :)

That’s true, there are lots of articles about content measurement, but it’s quite difficult to find one that includes all important metrics and explains how to use it.

If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to discuss it with you ;)

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